World Cup 2022 team preview: USA can edge out Wales to Group B second place

Our trader Neil Walsh thinks the USA will make it out of Group B.

USA National team, Aaron Long, Matt Turner, Walker Zimmerman


The USA’s best World Cup perfomance to date was a semi-final finish at the first tournament in 1930, albeit with less teams competing. They went 40 years without qualifying between 1950 and 1990 and were then ever-present until 2018 when a shock final-day qualifying defeat to Trinidad and Tobago meant they missed out on going to Russia.

Since 1990 they have reached the knockout phase four out of seven times, with their best showing a quarter-final appearance in 2002 where they lost out to eventual finalists Germany. USA have never lost a World Cup game against England (a 1950 win and a draw in 2010) but read into that what you will as they have never beaten Iran, having lost to them in 1998.

Here our footy trader Neil Walsh takes you through what to expect from the Group B side at the World Cup 2022.


USA Coach, Gregg Berhalter

USA World Cup 2022 qualifying record

The United Stats were unbeaten at home in qualifying, only dropping points to eventual table-toppers Canada in a 1-1 draw. Their away form was less admirable, though, only managing one win against Honduras. They rotated a lot in qualifying using 38 players in total, often not flying in Europe-based players for games against weaker nations. They secured automatic qualification by pipping Costa Rica on goal difference and finishing behind Mexico in second.

Who is the USA manager?

Gregg Berhalter cut his teeth as a player in the Netherlands before a solo season in England’s second tier with Crystal Palace, becoming the first Eagles player to feature in a World Cup back in 2002. He was also a member of the 2006 World Cup squad before finishing his playing career with spells in Germany and finally at LA Galaxy. He took over as manager of Hammarby in the Swedish second tier before taking the helm at Columbus Crew in the MLS for five years. He has been managing the USA since 2018 and has an impressive 65% win rate, securing Gold Cup and Nations League crowns along the way.

USA World Cup squad

There are plenty of familiar faces in this US squad, but having missed out on the 2018 World Cup in Russia only DeAndre Yedlin has World Cup playing experience, having come off the bench three times at Brazil 2014. What the squad lacks in international big-stage involvement is more than compensated by players who are no strangers to playing on the highest stage domestically at some of the strongest clubs in the world.

Christian Pulsic, of course, is on the books at Chelsea, but other Premier League starters include Antonee Robinson (Fulham) and Leeds duo Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson, while Giovani Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Sergino Dest (Milan), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic) and Malik Tillman (Rangers) have all played Champions League football. The most recent squad Berhalter used in a friendly defeat to Japan and a draw against Saudi Arabia had an average age of just 24.2 and an average cap tally of 20.68. Although the starting XI varies greatly, one thing that’s solid is their 4-1-4-1 formation with attacking wide men.

  • Goalkeepers: Ethan Horvath, Sean Johnson, Matt Turner
  • Defenders: Cameron Carter-Vickers, Sergino Dest, Aaron Long, Shaq Moore, Tim Ream, Antonee Robinson, Joe Scally, DeAndre Yedlin, Walker Zimmerman
  • Midfielders: Brenden Aaronson, Kellyn Acosta, Tyler Adams, Luca de la Torre, Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah, Cristian Roldan
  • Forwards: Jesus Ferreira, Jordan Morris, Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, Josh Sargent, Tim Weah, Haji Wright.

USA Key Player

Chelsea man Christian Pulisic is without a doubt the standout player with the “LeBron James of Soccer” having more goals than anyone else still active with 21 goals in 52 games for his country. Now entering his fourth season at Chelsea, it is hard to believe he has only recently turned 24, having burst on to the scene at Dortmund under Thomas Tuchel at just 17, making his international debut a few weeks later.

USA One to Watch

Probably only known to those who watch MLS late at night,  21-year-old, Colombia-born forward Jesus Ferreira has become a key part of Berhalter’s squad, especially in the tail end of the qualifying campaign either starting games or playing the final 30 minutes. He managed 18 goals in this year’s MLS, which put him fourth on overall standings, and his on-pitch chemistry with compatriot Paul Arriola meant the two combined for 58% of FC Dallas’ goals in the regular season. His highlight in a USA shirt game against Grenada in the Nations League in June scoring four goals, three of which came within 13 minutes.

USA World Cup Prospects

While England will be expected to top their group, second place is where the USA should be realistically aiming. Wales are their first Group B opponents, and that game could be make-or-break for both their chances of getting through to the last 16. A win coupled by three points against Iran should be enough to go through without having to get a result against the Three Lions, a loss and they are under serious pressure playing England four days later and Iran on the final day.

Provided they get through as runners-up they would play the winners of Group A (Netherlands, Senegal, Ecuador, Qatar) where they may fancy their chances. Argentina would then likely lie in wait at quarter-finals stage, which may be a bridge too far for them.

Matt Turner, USA

USA World Cup betting tips

As mentioned above, should they progress as runners-up they will face the Group A Winners (likely Netherlands), however, if there’s any slip-ups or USA manage to win their sectior, Ecuador or Senegal could be their last 16 opponents. Should they reach the quarters France or Argentina are probable opponents. If you want to play it safer than a quarter-final exit you could back Stage of Elimination: Round of 16 which adds more value than simply to progress from Group B. USA STAGE OF ELIMINATION: QUARTER-FINALS

Quarter-Finals USA Stage of Elimination

USA World Cup Winner Odds

USA World Cup 2022 Winner

USA World Cup 2022 Fixtures

November 21, 7pm: USA v Wales (ITV & S4C)

November 25, 7pm: England v USA (ITV)

November 29, 7pm: Iran v USA (BBC)


*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

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