The first-ever FIFA World Cup hosted during the winter is set to get underway shortly, with Group B kicking off on Monday, November 21. The United States and England headline this group as they’re both favored to advance to the knockouts, but Wales and Iran are very much in the mix as well. Let’s take a closer look at Group B and how each team might fare in the group stage.
The USMNT are back in the World Cup after failing to qualify for the 2018 tournament in Russia. While they’re not the favorites to win the group, they’re expected to at least advance to the knockout rounds as they look to make a deep run. The Americans will be led by Christian Pulisic, a young attacker who’s been playing in top flight European leagues since 2016 and currently plays for Chelsea.
The Americans have several other players in Europe’s top flight, including Sergino Dest, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Gio Reyna and Timothy Weah among others. At No. 16 in the FIFA World Rankings, the USMNT will look to create some upsets and make it past the Round of 16 for the first time since 2002.
As the favorites to win the group, fifth-ranked England have a lot to prove after finishing in fourth place in 2018. They’ve won the World Cup only once, coming back in 1966 and have finished in fourth twice since then. Coach Gareth Southgate has put together an extremely talented squad boasting the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish, Mason Mount and Phil Foden to name a few. Barring some huge upsets, England should be able to win the group with relative ease and move on to the knockouts.
No. 19-ranked Wales is back in the World Cup for just the second time, making their first appearance since 1958. They qualified by defeating Ukraine in a playoff back in early June, and they’ll be led by Gareth Bale and Daniel James. Bale is their all-time leading scorer with 40 goals in 108 caps as the 33-year-old will likely make his last World Cup appearance with the national team. Despite not qualifying for decades, Wales are consistently ranked in the top 20 in the world and are dead even with the Americans at +500 to win the group according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
Unfortunately for No. 20-ranked Iran, they’ve already been written off by much of the world as they’re the least likely to make it out of this group full of heavy hitters. It’s their third straight World Cup appearance and their sixth overall, although they’ve never made it out of the group stage. In fact, they’ve only been able to secure two wins through 15 games played in the tournament over the years, scoring just nine goals overall while allowing 24. The Iranians are led by Mehdi Taremi, who has scored 28 goals in 60 caps for the national team.
DraftKings Sportsbook odds to win Group B
Group B Schedule
Monday, November 21
England vs. Iran, 8 a.m. ET
USA vs. Wales, 2 p.m. ET
Friday, November 25
USA vs. England, 2 p.m. ET
Wales vs. Iran, 5 a.m. ET
Tuesday, November 29
England vs. Wales, 2 p.m. ET
Iran vs. USA, 2 p.m. ET