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2022 FIFA World Cup Team Previews: United States

United States
The United States will be reliant on Christian Pulisic to help get them into the knockout stage. (Photo by Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch/USA TODAY Network)

2022 FIFA World Cup Team Previews: United States

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is less than a month away from kicking off in Qatar. Over the next 32 days, I’ll be previewing each team that will be taking part in the world’s most-watched event. Check out all of the team previews that have been done so far. Up next is the United States.

The United States put the disappointment of missing out on the World Cup four years ago behind them to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. After a major collapse in qualifying last time around, “The Stars and Stripes” left nothing to chance and qualified in the final automatic spot for CONCACAF ahead of Costa Rica on goal difference. While qualifying went smoothly, the United States has not scored in their last two matches. They only registered two shots on goal. Currently ranked 16th in the FIFA men’s rankings, the United States will try to put on a show in Qatar.

World Cup Appearances

By missing out on the 2018 World Cup, “The Stars and Stripes” ended a run of seven consecutive World Cup appearances. The 2022 World Cup will be the nation’s 11th World Cup appearance with their first coming in 1930.

Best Finish at a World Cup

The United States’ best finish at a World Cup came in their first-ever appearance in the first World Cup in 1930. In the inaugural edition, the United States finished third behind winners Uruguay and runners-up Argentina. That was the only time “The Stars and Stripes” made a World Cup semifinal, but they were thumped by Argentina 6-1. Since then, only once has the United States advanced past the Round of 16 when they were quarterfinalists in 2002.

Key players

The youngest team in the World Cup has far more experience against elite competition than age would suggest. There are numerous American players who play their club soccer in all five of Europe’s top leagues. The players to watch out for are Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic, Leeds United’s Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson, AC Milan’s Sergiño Dest, and Borussia Dortmund’s Gio Reyna. Pulisic has been the heart and soul of this new generation, and leads the team in goals with 21. Despite having a decent attack, the defense for “The Stars and Stripes” is very questionable with how they’ll deal with far more experienced attacks from England, Wales, and Iran. It will also be interesting to see who starts in the net for the United States, between Matt Turner and Zack Steffen.

Another key player is Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie. Arguably, the most talented player for the United States has been hindered by injuries in the past. He should be fit and ready to go for the 2022 World Cup.

Manager

After missing out on the 2018 World Cup, the United States made a change at manager. They brought in Gregg Berhalter. Since then, Berhalter has led the United States to the CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup titles. Before taking charge of “The Stars and Stripes,” Berhalter managed Hammarby IF in Sweden and the Columbus Crew. He has a record of 36-10-10 while managing the United States.

Biggest Group Game – vs England on November 25

This was a slightly difficult call to make, only because the match with Wales could decide who advances out of the group. However, the United States and England have history going back to 1776. Plus, this match with England comes the day after Thanksgiving, which will have Americans excited to take on the “Three Lions.” The United States has also never lost to England at the World Cup. They had a 1-0 win in 1950, and a 1-1 draw in 2010.

Prediction

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is four years too early for the United States to make a statement. “The Stars and Stripes” time will be in four years, when they co-host the 2026 World Cup. I have a strong feeling that this United States team will drop stupid and costly points in either the match with Iran or Wales, leading to a third-place finish in Group B. They will have to wait until 2026 to advance to the knockout round.

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