Why the USMNT Should be Confident Going Into the World Cup
After missing out on the 2018 World Cup, the U.S. Men's National Team is back on the world’s biggest stage this winter as it lines up against Wales, England and Iran in Group B.
Wales will be up first for the USMNT, and here's a look at why the Americans should be confident heading into the World Cup after struggles across the ocean in the past year.
England is in an Injury Crisis and Far From its Best
Just a few months ago, England was the favorite to win the World Cup. Now, after failing to win any of its six Nations League games, England is in its worst form amid the six-year tenure of Gareth Southgate, despite the manager leading his country to its best World Cup finish in 28 years and its best-ever European Championship finish last summer.
Worse yet for England, it heads into the World Cup with an array of injuries and struggling players. Three of England’s top right backs, Kyle Walker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Reece James, are injured. At the same time, Kalvin Phillips has barely played for Manchester City this season, while stars like Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish, John Stones, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw have all had tough seasons.
The USMNT is +370 to beat England on Nov. 25 with FanDuel.
Gareth Bale Has Barely Arrived in the MLS
So much was expected of Welsh superstar Gareth Bale when he headed to the MLS with Los Angeles FC. He has played only 346 minutes -- less than one-third the number of minutes in which he could have played. Injuries have haunted him, and Bale has not scored since his sensational goal against Real Salt Lake on Aug. 7.
Bale is a different beast for Wales, however, and when he dons the Dragons’ crest in November, the five-time Champions League winner should look like a new player. However, his performance in the past year has given the USMNT little to fear.
Wales still has skilled players such as Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen, Daniel James and Kieffer Moore, but none has been impressive this year for his club, just like Bale. Wales looks weak, having won just twice in its nine games in 2022.
The USMNT is the narrow favorite to beat Wales on Nov. 21 at +145 with FanDuel.
The Americans Should Beat Iran
Iran has a few things to boast about and will not bow down to the USMNT.
Iran is led by famed manager Carlos Queiroz, who has spent his career helping Manchester United win Premier League titles and helping craft players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney. With a 1-0 win over Uruguay during the September international break, Queiroz will be confident his Iran side can bring the heat against the USMNT.
Sardar Azmoun and Mehdi Taremi are Iran's main men, with a combined 69 goals. On the other hand, the Yanks are +110 to beat Iran, and much of the reasoning for this involves Iran's defense. Iran has no notable defenders who might worry the USMNT; captain Ehsan Hajsafi and Milad Mohammadi are the two main names from AEK Athens and have little pedigree on the European scene.
With England on the ropes and Wales struggling all year, the USMNT could head into the final game against Iran with a high chance of securing a place in the knockout rounds.
The USMNT to beat Iran 2-0 is +1000 with FanDuel on Nov. 29.
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