The 2022 World Cup is just a few months away, and oh my, what a world cup it promises to be! After the group stage draw, a glamorous ceremony held in Doha on April 1, we got 29 teams officially through to Qatar 2022. World Cup Group B was one of the groups with just three confirmed entrants: England, the USA, and Iran. That threesome has become a foursome, with Wales joining in after beating Ukraine 1-0 in June’s fiercely contested playoff. A result is a fascinating group; the USA and England have a rich history of rivalries, some extending beyond the soccer pitch. England vs. Iran is another, too, with the two countries having intermittently troubled political relations. Will any of these affect each of the teams’ motivation levels? We’ll have to see. In the meantime, let’s focus on the things we can fully expect to see once the group kicks off on November 21.
England Favorites To Win Group B
England is a football-mad country and one of the best national soccer teams in the world. Historically, they’ve lined up the world’s creme de la creme and will do so again at the 2022 World Cup. Names instantly spring to mind include Harry Kane, Mason Mount, Phil Foden, Trent-Alexander Arnold, Bukayo Saka, Declan Rice, and Raheem Sterling. The Kane mentioned above is England’s captain and leader. An all-rounded striker and one of the best finishers in world football, Kane was at the top at the 2018 World Cup and finished the 2022 World Cup, Qualifying Europe as the top scorer with 12 goals. The rest of the above cast are players of real international pedigree despite most being relative youngsters.
The other two in World Cup Group B – the USA and Wales especially – also have a few star names. However, none boast the kind of weaponry the Three Lions have in their armory. Let’s also not forget that England can boast of having won the World Cup once (in 1966) while none of the other lots have. It is just the second occasion that Wales, perhaps the second best in Group B, has qualified for the tournament. The USA has managed a third-place finish, but that was nearly a century ago, in 1930. Iran, on their part, has never made it past the World Cup group stages. Consequently, it would take lots of audacity for anyone not to back England as outright Group B winners, as confirmed by a short 1/3 (-300) price from significant bookies. The Three Lions are also available at 6/1 (+600) to clinch the main prize at Qatar 2022.
Iran Group B Wildcards
These are unprecedented times for Asian soccer on multiple levels. First, the tournament has returned to the continent with Qatar as hosts, ending a 20-year hiatus since South Korea/Japan in 2002. Secondly, never before have there been six Asian nations competing in the world cup – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Australia, South Korea, Japan, and Iran. Japan is the strongest, but that doesn’t always count for much once the game starts. Of the six, Iran has been the most impressive in World Cup Qualifying Asia, outscoring everybody and losing just once – against South Korea. The USA and Wales, meanwhile, were less than convincing in their respective qualifying campaigns. Both countries had to scrape through – the USA on goal difference vs. Costa Rica and Wales via the playoff route. Iran Head coach Dragan Skocic has assembled an interesting Iranian team, and his boys might give us a few surprises this year in Qatar. Expect to see them test Wales and the USA in a vast scramble for second place in World Cup Group B.