Brazil legend Cafu drawing a piece of paper displaying France's name at the FIFA World Cup Draw 2022
Alexander Hassenstein – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images
STATS & ANALYSIS

2022 World Cup Draw: Who is the USMNT Playing in Qatar?

The Americans were assigned to Group B for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Let’s go through the full breakdown of Friday’s official draw, including the betting favorites to win it all.

After missing the 2018 World Cup in embarrassing fashion, the US Men’s National Team is back in the 2022 FIFA World Cup this November in Qatar after officially qualifying on Wednesday despite a 2-0 loss to Costa Rica. The biggest spectacle in soccer will take place from Nov. 21 to Dec. 18.

Led by Chelsea star Christian Pulisic, Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie, Borussia Dortmund wunderkind Gio Reyna and Barcelona defender Sergiño Dest, the Americans are younger and more talented than ever before under head coach Gregg Berhalter. The Stars and Stripes are ranked 15th in the world in the latest FIFA rankings after finishing third in CONCACAF qualifying behind Mexico and Canada.

Friday in Qatar, the World Cup groups and group stage matches were determined with the all-important draw. Every qualified team was placed into four different pots. Then, groups A through H were determined with one team drawn from each pot until all 32 teams are grouped off. The U.S. was placed into Pot 2, which means it couldn’t be placed into a group with any teams in its pot in the three group stage matches.

2022 FIFA World Cup Groups

  • Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands
  • Group B: England, Iran, USA, Wales/Scotland/Ukraine
  • Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland
  • Group D: France, Peru/Australia/UAE, Denmark, Tunisia
  • Group E: Spain, New Zealand/Costa Rica, Germany, Japan
  • Group F: Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Morocco
  • Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon
  • Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea
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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the final three spots in Pot 4 will be determined in June. Wales will play the winner of Scotland and Ukraine for the final UEFA spot, Peru will play the winner of Australia and UAE for a spot, and Costa Rica will battle New Zealand for the last slot.

Who will the USMNT play in the 2022 World Cup?

In something of a revolutionary rematch, the United States was drawn into Group B with England, the finalists in last year’s Euro 2020 tournament. The No. 5-ranked team in the world, the Three Lions are led by Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane, Manchester City stars Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, and Jack Grealish, Chelsea’s Mason Mount, West Ham’s Declan Rice, and Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham. The fact that the U.S. will play England on Black Friday, Nov. 25, right after Thanksgiving will make the rivalry game even more special.

Team USA will also play the Islamic Republic of Iran, the 21st-ranked team in FIFA, which won its group in World Cup qualifying. The Iranians are led by Bayer Leverkusen center-forward Sardar Amzoun, Porto center-forward Mehdi Taremi, and Feyenoord wing Alireza Jahanbakhsh.

But we still don’t know who the US will be playing in its first match on Nov. 21, however. In June, the UEFA playoff will pit Gareth Bale and Wales against the winner of Scotland and Ukraine. The winner plays USMNT in its first World Cup match. If you’re the U.S., you want to avoid a Welsh team ranked 18th in the world as opposed to the 27th-ranked Ukrainains and 39th-ranked Scotland.

What’s the “Group of Death” at the 2022 World Cup?

Because of the playoffs, we’re not exactly sure yet.

It could be Group B — if Wales wins its European playoff game, you’re looking at four teams ranked fifth, 15th, 18th and 21st in the world rankings.

It could be Group E if 31st-ranked Costa Rica defeats New Zealand, ranked 101st in the world. Whoever wins joins No. 7-ranked Spain and 11th-ranked Germany along with No. 23 Japan.

It could be Group D if Peru, ranked 22nd, beats the winner of Australia (42nd) and UAE (68). The Peruvians would join No. 3 France, 11th-ranked Denmark, and No. 35 Tunisia.

Who are the favorites?

Per FanDuel Sportsbook, here are the top 10 betting favorites to win the 20220 FIFA World Cup in Qatar as of the conclusion of the draw on April 1:

Brazil: +500
France: +550
England: +650
Spain: +750
Argentina: +850
Germany: +950
Belgium: +1000
Portugal: +1100
Netherlands: +1100
Denmark: +2700

How does the World Cup draw work?

  • Pot 1: Qatar, Brazil, Belgium, France, Argentina, England, Spain, Portugal
  • Pot 2: Mexico, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Uruguay, Switzerland, USA, Croatia
  • Pot 3: Senegal, Iran, Japan, Morocco, Serbia, Poland, South Korea, Tunisia
  • Pot 4: Cameroon, Canada, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Wales/Scotland/Ukraine, Peru/Australia/UAE, Costa Rica/New Zealand

Aside from Europe, which has 13 qualification spots, teams from your region cannot play each other in the group stage. That meant the USMNT couldn’t play Canada from Pot 4 or Costa Rica, should the Ticos qualify. Otherwise, everyone from Pots 1, 3, and 4 was fair game.

But no matter who the US would have drawn, it’s a huge step up for a team that was forced to watch the 2018 World Cup from home.

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