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FIFA World Cup 2022 Group B Analysis and Prediction: Inconsistency from England Give Hope to Iran, Wales and USA

The 2022 FIFA World Cup Group B has England, Iran, USA and Wales with the group phase being played from 20 November to 2 December.

England Analysis and Prediction

England are on a historic run in major competitions, being semi-finalists at Russia 2018 and runners-up at UEFA EURO 2020. But the doubters question can they do it again with a podium finish at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

In the qualifiers, the Three Lions emerged unbeaten from a section that included Poland and Hungary, scoring more goals (39) than any other European team.

With the mercurial Harry Kane leading the line and the side, aided by young and hungry players at Gareth Southgate’s disposal – England surely will no pushovers. Doubts have been sown more recently though. A series of lacklustre performances this year – including a shock 4-0 home loss to the Hungarians – dented fans’ confidence and resulted in UEFA Nations League relegation.

Expected to top the group, England would love to harden their supporters belief that may it is finally coming home.

England Squad

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Newcastle United), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal).

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Conor Coady (Everton, on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ben White (Arsenal).

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Declan Rice (West Ham United).

Forwards: Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), James Maddison (Leicester City), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Chelsea), Callum Wilson (Newcastle United).

Iran Analysis and Prediction

Considered Asian powerhouses, Qatar 2022 marks Iran’s sixth FIFA World Cup appearance and their third in succession – the first time they have managed such a run of consecutive appearances. Making their debut in Argentina 1978, Team Melli waited two decades to repeat the feat, getting their first-ever win in the competition in France 1998 with a famous 2-1 triumph over the United States.

Drawn in Group B for the second time in a row, participating in the FIFA World Cup under the same manager for the third successive edition and facing a rematch against USA. There is a sense of déjà vu as Carlos Queiroz and his men are back to take care of unfinished business with Iran targeting a historic first round-of-16 qualification after five unsuccessful attempts.

Heartbreak may be instore yet again as experts consider them the weakest in the group but an upset will surely set the cat among the pigeons.

Iran Squad

Goalkeepers: Alireza Beiranvand (Persepolis), Amir Abedzadeh (Ponferradina), Seyed Hossein Hosseini (Esteghlal), Payam Niazmand (Sepahan).

Defenders: Ehsan Hajsafi (AEK Athens), Morteza Pouraliganji (Persepolis), Ramin Rezaeian (Sepahan), Milad Mohammadi (AEK Athens), Hossein Kanaanizadegan (Al Ahli), Shojae Khalilzadeh (Al Ahli), Sadegh Moharrami (Dinamo Zagreb), Rouzbeh Cheshmi (Esteghlal), Majid Hosseini (Kayserispor), Abolfazl Jalali (Esteghlal).

Midfielders: Ahmad Noorollahi (Shabab Al Ahli), Saman Ghoddos (Brentford), Vahid Amiri (Persepolis), Saeid Ezatolahi (Vejle), Alireza Jahanbakhsh (Feyenoord), Mehdi Torabi (Persepolis), Ali Gholizadeh (Charleroi), Ali Karimi (Kayserispor).

Forwards: Karim Ansarifard (Omonia Nicosia), Sardar Azmoun (Bayer Leverkusen), Mehdi Taremi (Porto).

USA Analysis and Prediction

The United States of America will be making a return to the World Cup stage after surprisingly missing out on the previous edition. And this time they mean business.

USA participated in seven successive editions from 1990, reaching the Round of 16 as hosts in 1994 and again in 2010 and 2014. The Stars and Stripes’ best campaign nevertheless came in 2002, when they stunned arch-enemies Mexico 2-0 to reach the quarter-finals.

ALSO READ | FIFA World Cup 2022 Group A Analysis and Prediction: Netherlands, Senegal Favourites; Host Qatar May Surprise

Coached by Gregg Berhalter and boasting arguably their best-ever generation, headlined by Christian Pulisic and boasting players owned by Arsenal, Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea and Juventus, USA are targeting a place in the knockout phase and beyond.

Drawn into a tricky but comfortable group, USA will want to get the job done early with many experts picking them to surprise a few in the tournament.

USA Squad

Goalkeepers: Ethan Horvath (Luton Town), Sean Johnson (New York City FC), Matt Turner (Arsenal).

Defenders: Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic), Sergino Dest (AC Milan), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Shaq Moore (Nashville SC), Tim Ream (Fulham), Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Joe Scally (Borussia Moenchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami CF), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC).

Midfielder: Brenden Aaronson (Leeds), Kellyn Acosta (LAFC), Tyler Adams (Leeds), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC).

Forwards: Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Josh Sargent (Norwich City), Tim Weah (Lille), Haji Wright (Antalyaspor).

Wales Analysis and Prediction

Wales are competing in a World Cup for only the second time with their last appearance coming in 1958 in Sweden. Wales came close to qualifying for the tournament at least four times in the intervening years but had to wait until 2022 to get over the line, defeating Ukraine in Cardiff to book a place in Qatar.

Fans and players will look up to talisman Gareth Bale to do the heavy lifting with most of their golden generation playing their last major tournament – including Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen.

Their positive showing at the Euro 2020, will spark belief and optimism in The Dragons but the manner of the round of 16 exit may plant some doubts. If Wales do manage to qualify from this group, it will either be poor performances from other teams and/or some incredible showing from them.

Wales Squad

Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Nottingham Forest), Danny Ward (Leicester City), Adam Davies (Sheffield United).

Defenders: Ben Davies (Tottenham Hotspur), Ben Cabango (Swansea City), Tom Lockyer (Luton Town), Joe Rodon (Rennes, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur), Chris Mephan (Bournemouth), Ethan Ampadu (Spezia, on loan from Chelsea), Chris Gunter (Wimbledon), Neco Williams (Nottingham Forest), Connor Roberts (Burnley).

Midfielders: Sorba Thomas (Huddersfield Town), Joe Allen (Swansea City), Matthew Smith (Milton Keynes Dons), Dylan Levitt (Dundee United), Harry Wilson (Fulham), Joe Morrell (Portsmouth), Jonny Williams (Swindon Town), Aaron Ramsey (Nice), Rubin Colwill (Cardiff City).

Forwards: Gareth Bale (Los Angeles FC), Kieffer Moore (Bournemouth), Mark Harris (Cardiff City), Brennan Johnson (Nottingham Forest), Dan James (Fulham, on loan from Leeds United)

Group B Fixtures

England vs Iran 21 November     18:00     Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan

United States vs Wales  22 November     00:30     Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan

Wales vs Iran     25 November     15:30     Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan

England vs United States             26 November     00:30     Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor

Wales vs England            30 November     00:30     Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan

Iran vs United States      30 November     00:30     Al Thumama Stadium, Doha

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