After a likely three points turned into one for the United States on Monday night with a 1-1 tie against Wales, there is a slew of scenarios that will ultimately determine whether or not the team has a short window or a long one in its pursuit of the 2022 World Cup. With England handling its business against Iran they are currently in control of Group B, but if you follow soccer closely, things can change quickly. Let’s also not forget, with everything still up for grabs, the USA could do everything right and still miss out on qualifying with five points – or just squeeze in with two.
This Friday, the USMNT will take on England with the matchup coming just hours after Wales meets Iran. Whatever happens during those two games will go a long way in determining what everyone needs to do to advance following game three.
Let’s take a deep dive into the different scenarios that exist for the Americans:
If USA beats England and Wales subsequently beats Iran, then Team USA would approve its odds of advancing with a win or a tie against Iran. However, if they take an L against the Iranians then it would be game over for the Americans in their quest of World Cup supremacy, eliminating them from competition. That is unless Wales ends up losing to England and finishes behind the Americans as far as goal differential goes.
If the USMNT defeats England and there ends up being a tie between Wales/Iran then the odds also work in their favor if they win or end up in a tie against Iran. Not to pinpoint the obvious but taking a loss against Iran is not only unacceptable but, it will guarantee that they end up in a two- or three-way tiebreaker, no matter what happens in the England-Wales contest.
Keeping Up So Far??
If USA beats England and Iran beats Wales: USA would be guaranteed to advance with a win or a tie against Iran. The USA would be eliminated with a loss to Iran, but only IF England beats Wales. If the USA loses to Iran and England-Wales ends in a tie, or Wales wins, the USA goes into a tiebreaker for second place.
Christian Pulisic, Matt Turner, Jesús Ferreira, and Yunus Musah are among the USMNT players who will lead the team at the Qatar World Cup.
The USMNT would be automatically eliminated if it fails to beat a team just about everyone expects them to beat in Iran. If it beats Iran and there is a winner in the England-Wales game, then the USA would advance in second place. If it beats Iran and England-Wales is a tie, there would be a three-way tiebreaker to decide the group.
If USA ties with England, and Wales/Iran tie: USA would be automatically eliminated with a loss to Iran and would be guaranteed to qualify with a win. If the USA ties with Iran, it will advance assuming England beats Wales, but be eliminated if Wales beats England. If both USA-Iran and England-Wales end up as a tie in their respective games, second place will be between USA and Wales, to be decided on via tiebreaker, starting with goal differential.
The bottom line is this, Team USA needs to take destiny in its hands and play the best brand of soccer possible under the leadership of coach Greg Berhalter who took over in 2018. If they accomplish that and rise to the occasion with the talent they have at its disposal such as Christian Pulisic, DeAndre Yedlin, Antonee ‘Jedi’ Robinson originally of England whom through his father who was raised in NY, was eligible to play for the club, similar to Giovanni Reyna, the team can go on a deep run. Expectations are high, the question is can they defy the odds stacked against them?
By Rodney Davis, NTZ Sports Director