World Cup Tips: 7/1 shout for USA to make quarters with England from Group B

Paddy's football traders run the rule over Group B.

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England

MANAGER: Gareth Southgate

QUALIFICATION RECORD: Won eight of 10 games, drawing against an improving Hungary at Wembley and away to Poland, scoring 39 goals and conceding just three. Harry Kane top scored with 12, four of which were penalties. Bonus points for those who know their second-highest scorer… that’s right, Harry Maguire.

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KEY MAN: Harry Kane

ONE TO WATCH: Bukayo Saka

TOURNAMENT PROSPECTS: There’s plenty of banana skins in the group for England, not least their noisy neighbours Wales. Assuming they do get out of the group, the Last 16 or quarter-finals looks their limit. The way England play and their form in 2022 makes it hard to believe they can improve on 2018 or last summer’s Euros.

TRADER TIPS: Stage of elimination – Quarter Finals.

Iran

MANAGER: Carlos Queiroz

QUALIFICATION RECORD: Managed to top a group featuring South Korea, who finished two points behind.

KEY MAN: Sardar Azmoun

ONE TO WATCH: Alireza Jahanbakhsh

TOURNAMENT PROSPECTS: Querioz only took charge in September for his second spell after Dragan Skočić was removed as manager due to off-field issues. Brentford winger Saman Ghoddos is the only Premier League based player, while strikers Azmoun (Leverkusen) and Mehidi Taremi (Porto) bring Champions League experience to an otherwise unknown squad.

A tough group against England, Wales and USA may prove too much for them to get out of, and their opener vs England may be a disaster if Harry Kane and co are on form. Realistically three defeats looks likely.

TRADER TIPS: England v Iran – Over 3.5 goals.

Carlos Queiroz, Iran manager

USA

MANAGER: Gregg Berhalter

QUALIFICATION RECORD: Went unbeaten at home, only dropping points to eventual table toppers Canada in a 1-1 draw. Away form was less admirable, though, only managing one win against Honduras. Secured automatic qualification by pipping Costa Rica on goal difference and finishing behind second-place Mexico.

KEY MAN: Christian Pulisic

ONE TO WATCH: Jesus Ferreira

TOURNAMENT PROSPECTS: USA v Wales could be make-or-break for getting through to the Last 16, with a win coupled by three points against Iran probably enough to go through without having to get a result against England. They might then fancy their chances against the winners of Group A, however, Argentina in the quarter-finals may be a bridge too far.

TRADER TIPS: Stage of Elimination – Quarter Finals.

Wales

MANAGER: Robert Page

QUALIFICATION RECORD: Went seven games unbeaten to finish second in their group ahead of Czech Republic, then beat Austria and Ukraine in the play-offs to reach a first World Cup since 1958.

KEY MAN: Gareth Bale

ONE TO WATCH: Harry Wilson

TOURNAMENT PROSPECTS: Beat USA in the opener and they should reach the Last 16. Iran are unlikely to pose too many issues before a potential final day showdown with England which could determine who wins the group.

The bulk of the squad might be made up of Championship players, but there’s also plenty of Premier League and international tournament experience, and they’ve qualified for the previous two European Championships, successfully getting out of their group on each occasion.

TRADER TIPS: Wales v Iran – Wales (-1).

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