English Premier League
The United States are slight favorites when they kick off their FIFA World Cup schedule against Wales on Nov. 21. The U.S. missed out on the 2018 World Cup, while The Dragons qualified for the first time since 1958. Will the USA have a successful return to the World Cup? Or will Wales continue to defy expectations?
2022 FIFA World Cup — Group Stage (B)
Date: Monday, Nov. 21, 2022
Time: 2 p.m. ET
Venue: Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Qatar
Coverage: FOX, Peacock
The winning team model predicts the United States will win this Group B game with 49% confidence. The model also predicts a 32% chance of tie/draw.
The United States just scraped by to qualify for this year’s tournament, but Gregg Berhalter still has a young and talented team at his disposal. Berhalter took the reins in 2018 and has proved to be a solid fit.
His teams have averaged 2.15 goals for and 0.64 average goals against, which are better than any other manager before him.
The USA’s star player is undoubtedly Christian Pulisic, but there are also players like Brenden Aaronson, Giovanni Reyna, Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, and DeAndre Yedlin. This is a strong squad with some young players who will run Wales ragged if they allow it.
Rob Page’s Wales team defied expectations to qualify for the World Cup, which could be the key to success for The Dragons. Not a lot is expected of the team, who made significant progress simply by qualifying.
Of course, Gareth Bale will lead the team, but the LAFC forward isn’t the only opponent the USA will have to keep an eye on. There’s also Bournemouth’s Kieffer Moore, Fulham’s Daniel James, and Nottingham Forest’s Brennan Johnson.
Rob Page likes his team to defend in a tight defensive mid-block and to score on the break by pouncing on mistakes when the other team is in possession.
This means the USA will likely have plenty of possession, but they will have to find a way to break down Wales’ defensive style while keeping it tight in their own back line.
Chances will not be easy to create against Wales’ compact defense, but if Berhalter uses a more attack-minded midfield, I see them having success with strong counter-pressing play.
This is likely to be a low-scoring game, with both teams having strong defenses. I predict the United States to win a close one, 1-0.
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Laura Paterson is a dedicated in-house writer for The Media Image. An avid sports fan and field hockey player, she gets her fix through writing on a variety of sports for BetMGM.