The 2022 FIFA World Cup is just about to begin and the USMNT will be as confident as any other team of performing well – and also dreaming of coming away from Qatar with the coveted trophy. The sportsbooks featured on Online Sports Betting don’t fancy the team’s chances of winning the World Cup. But how the team gets on will have a big effect on the next few years.
With the 2026 edition being hosted jointly by the US, Canada and Mexico, a good showing in the Middle East this year could be just as important as the USMNT’s games at the 1990 World Cup ahead of the first time the game’s biggest tournament came to the States.
Group Stage Opponents
Many US fans were pretty happy with the draw for the group stage of the Qatar World Cup. England, Wales and Iran will be the opponents, with two of the four progressing to the round of 16. England as a number one seeded team seems fairly good for a start, considering the Three Lions have struggled for form of late.
But it will be Wales in the first game – and the result there could determine how far USMNT will go into the tournament. It is generally agreed that at least four points are needed to go through, meaning a positive scoreline is needed against the Welsh. With England up next, it does mean that the USMNT could have their fate in its own hands when it faces Iran in the final group game.
Knock Out Round Possibilities
Even the most optimistic of US soccer fans can’t really see the team finishing top of the group. England should go through as winners, so second place should be the realistic target. The USMNT could potentially beat both Wales and Iran, so that would put it through to the next round.
If that were the case, the US would play the winners of Group A in the round of 16. That is likely to be the Netherlands in what could potentially be a relatively kind draw. The Dutch have improved in the last few years but are still a way off their best, allowing the US to be able to dream of a quarterfinal appearance – probably against Argentina or France.
Head coach Gregg Berhalter has been accused of relying too much on players he knows in the past and not opting for the more exciting options. But that doesn’t seem to be the case with the squad for Qatar. The USMNT will be one of the youngest in the tournament and that could make for some great soccer.
Captain Christian Pulisic is a perfect example. The Chelsea attacker is only 24 and leads from the front a group of mostly young players who have learnt their trade at some of the biggest clubs in the world. There will be a question over the relative inexperience of the squad – but it does seem as though we are in for an exciting World Cup.
We have already mentioned that the group stage will be anything but straightforward. Qualification for the knockout rounds is definitely possible but England, Wales and Iran will all cause the US problems in their own ways. But even if the team does progress, it is not in the elite tier at this World Cup.
Argentina and France are possible opponents in the later rounds and it would be considered a shock if the USMNT was able to beat either of those two. Add to that the likes of Brazil, Spain and even Germany, and a shock World Cup triumph does not seem very likely.
Playing for the Future
But going all the way and winning the World Cup is not the only way the USMNT can count this tournament as a success. Getting out of the group will be a minimum requirement. But it is the way the younger players perform that will be just as important. Getting some good experience could be vital for the next tournament in four years’ time.
As the host of World Cup 2026, the US should expect to go deep into the competition. If this year’s squad can show that it has the skill and talent to challenge the very best at this stage of its development, we can expect an even greater showing in 2026.