What is the U.S. Men's Likeliest World Cup Final Route?
In just one month, the United States men will be in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup. The team doesn't have a successful record in the tournament, with its best showing coming all the way back in 1930.
The U.S. men are +11000 to win the World Cup and +4200 to make it to the final. Following is a look at its likely route to the final, should the team make it that far.
Getting Out of the Group
England, Iran and Wales sit with the U.S. in Group B. Iran is expected to finish at the bottom and England at the top, meaning the Americans' opening-group game against Wales is likely to be the most important one.
The U.S. likely will need to avoid losing to Iran and Wales, and we think it will defeat Iran but lose to England. Should the U.S. defeat Wales and Wales beat Iran, the Americans likely will advance.
Our prediction is a runner-up spot for the U.S. in Group B, with England finishing at the top.
The USA is +145 to beat Wales, +105 to beat Iran and +370 to beat England.
Round of 16
The U.S. has made it to the round of 16 in its past two World Cups, in 2010 and 2014. Should it finish second in its group, a matchup with the winner of Group A will be next. That likely would be the Netherlands, and the U.S. would be the underdog in that game.
Qatar, Ecuador and Senegal are the other teams in Group A, with the Netherlands heavily favored to win it.
In our hypothetical setting, after a meeting with the Netherlands, the winner of Group C or the runner-up from Group D meets with the U.S. in the quarterfinals.
Argentina is a huge favorite to win Group C, which includes Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland. The odds in Group D point to Denmark being the runner-up, with France expected to finish first. We predict the U.S would face Argentina in the quarterfinals, with Lionel Messi and his cohorts likely to beat Denmark.
If the U.S. makes it past the quarterfinals, it will have posted its best result at the World Cup since the first tournament in 1930. Figuring out the Americans' hypothetical semifinal appointment is tricky, with so many variables leading to such a match.
According to the soccer betting odds, the likely opponent would be Brazil, which is the favorite to win the tournament. The five-time World Cup winner is on the same side of the draw as the U.S.
Spain, Germany and Belgium also are expected to compete until this stage of the tournament, in what is an incredibly tough side of the draw. Brazil is likely to defeat all opponents until the semifinals, when it could face the U.S.
So, let's say the U.S. has made it to the final and overcome odds of +4200 in doing so. What opponent will the team face?
If the U.S. makes it this far, it will have defeated some elite teams on the way. Portugal, France and England are all favored to be in the draw for the final from the other side.
This likely would result in another meeting with England in the final, as the English should be the favorites heading into their knockout rounds.
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