Group B World Cup Qatar 2022 : favorites, analysis and schedule

The challenge of Group B of the 2022 World Cup: is Iran really the Tom Thumb of the chicken?

On paper, the hierarchy of this group is quite clear: England are above the rest, there is a match between the United States and Wales for 2ndand Iran starts from further back. . But the picture could turn out to be more complex than expected. Indeed, Team Melli has perhaps never been so close to passing the first lap ! In 2018, the Iranians had launched their World Cup with a success against Morocco (1-0), before losing a short header against Spain (1-0) then snatching a draw against Portugal (1-1), finally failing to qualify for a small point behind La Roja and the Lusitanians.

Since then, Team Melli has reached the semi-finals of the Asian Cup of Nations in 2019, a first for 15 years, and finished at the top of its qualifying group for the World Cup under the nose and beard of South Korea. South. It should also be noted that this selection has won 16 of its last 20 games, for only 3 defeats, and that it notably offered the scalp of Uruguay in a friendly at the end of September (1-0). Already in office in 2018 then left in January 2019, coach Carlos Queiroz finally made his return in September to replace Croatian Dragan Skocic, with a clear objective: to finally lead Iran to the round of 16. To achieve this, the Persian selection will be able to rely on its star player, striker Sardar Azmoun (Bayer Leverkusen).

England, like a letter in the post?

4th in the previous edition and then an unfortunate finalist of the Euro at home, England had not gone through such a prosperous period for a long time. Therefore, the Three Lions stand out as the natural favorites of this group. Between executives like Kyle Walker, Harry Maguire, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane who have reached maturity and the rising generation embodied by Phil Foden, Jude Bellingham or Declan Rice, coach Gareth Southgate has a rich and quality workforce. Some recent poor performances, including the two defeats against Hungary in the League of Nations, have however cast doubt on the current state of form of the British, who have been relegated to League B in the League of Nations and who will have to pull themselves together before Qatar.

Wales carried by its

64-year-old momentum waiting for this! For the first time since their sole participation in 1958, Wales managed to qualify for the World Cup. However, at the cost of a fierce fight: outstripped by the unsinkable Belgium, the Dragons had to fight for a long time with the Czech Republic before winning the play-offs. The men of Robert Page, the former deputy who replaced Ryan Giggs since November 2020 following a case of domestic violence, then dismissed Austria (2-1) then Ukraine (1-0) thanks to their captain Gareth Bale. Despite the rather worrying state of form (4 defeats in the last 5 games), the Welsh can hope that their qualification marks the start of a new epic, like the one which had led them to the semi-finals of the Euro 2016.

The United States on the wrong slope?

Rather disappointing since their quarter-final in 2002 and absent from the previous edition, the United States will be one of the curiosities of this World Cup. Despite winning the Gold Cup in 2021, Team US is not in top form. The proof: the Americans qualified in pain by finishing only 3rd in the qualifications in the Concacaf Zone. Worse, they finished with the same number of points as Costa Rica, 4thand who had to go through the play-offs, an opponent who beat them 2-0 on the last day, making them tremble until the end . Behind them, the results of the friendlies against selections from other confederations proved to be mixed, like the 3-0 success against Morocco and the 2-0 defeat against Japan. It is therefore difficult to gauge the real potential of the band of Christian Pulisic, Sergiño Dest, Weston McKennie and Timothy Weah.


Group B 2022 World Cup – Their history at the World Cup:

  • England: participation16th ; crowned in 1966.
  • United States: 11th participation; semi-finalist in 1930.
  • Iran: participation6th ; never made it past the first lap.
  • Wales: participation2nd ; quarter-finalist in 1958.

The schedule for Group B of the 2022 World Cup

Monday, November 21,

  • England – Iran, at the Khalifa International Stadium.
  • United States – Wales, at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.

Friday, November 25,

  • Wales - Iran, at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.
  • England – United States, at the Al Bayt Stadium.

Tuesday, November 29,

  • Iran – United States, at Al Thumama Stadium.
  • Wales – England, at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.

The star of Group B of the 2022 World Cup: Gareth Bale

We could obviously have mentioned the Englishman Harry Kane, top scorer of the last edition (6 goals) and who could once again shine. But how not to put a spotlight on the captain of Wales? Bale has indeed succeeded where his illustrious elder Ryan Giggs had failed: finally bringing his country back to the World Cup ! And the 33-year-old winger behaved like a real leader , as reflected in his performance in the play-offs: a decisive double against Austria (2-1) then a decisive free kick which provoked the goal against his camp. Yarmolenko against Ukraine (1-0). At the end of his contract at Real Madrid, the Welshman rebounded last summer at Los Angeles FC with the ambition of staying in shape for the World Cup.

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