England lead an undecided Group B… and geopolitics with Iran and the USA

2022 World CupWith four teams in the top 20, Group B has the highest average FIFA ranking of any group in Qatar. Led by England, the pool promises to be tight with also Wales, the United States and Iran. The confrontation between these two countries, on November 29, gives, in addition, a geopolitical note to this first round.

On paper, England, 5th nation in the world, semi-finalist in 2018 and finalist of the last Euro, leaves with the status of favorite of the group. But the ‘Three Lions’ have experienced a catastrophic Nations League: no wins in six games, three shares, three defeats and relegation to League B.

England in doubt

Despite a promising generation behind Harry Kane (Tottenham), top scorer of the last World Cup, Gareth Southgate’s troops seem to be in trouble since the Euro final lost at home on penalties against Italy. The team nevertheless has the quality to make a good tournament. Behind, the United States (FIFA 16), Wales (FIFA 19) and Iran (FIFA 20) can all hope to get out of the group.

Iran to surprise?

The Iranian team will attract all eyes. Attention will necessarily focus on the behavior of the players, against a backdrop of wave of protest triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini in the country. The match against the United States on November 29 will also be one of the highlights of this first round. The two teams had met in 1998, in France, with a 2-1 victory for Team Melli and a picture of the two teams together.

In 2018, Iran was not unworthy in a group with Spain and Portugal. The selection of Carlos Queiroz, in which we find Carolo Ali Gholizadeh, easily qualified for this World Cup (25 points out of 30) and beat Uruguay in a friendly in September.

USA and Wales by Gareth Bale

Absent in Russia four years ago, the Americans present themselves with an interesting generation – Sergino Dest (AC Milan), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Giovanni Reyna (Dortmund) or Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) – as they host the tournament in 2026, with Mexico and Canada. Wales are taking part in the World Cup for the second time after 1958. The ‘Dragons’ have a strong team, but are highly dependent on the form of their two stars, Gareth Bale (Los Angeles FC) and Aaron Ramsey (Nice), 33 and 31 years respectively.

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