USMNT World Cup Group Scenarios: What does USA need to qualify for the Round of 16?

In Friday’s first game, Iran beat Wales 2-0 after sensational late goals from Rouzbeh Cheshmi and Ramin Rezaeian at Al-Rayyan Stadium.

Iran had the best of luck, hitting the woodwork several times, but luck seemed to be smiling on the Welsh, despite wayne hennessylate red card. However, Cheshmi’s 99th-minute strike from outside the box gave Iran a famous win, with Rezaeian then completing a counterattack.

Although England v USA Needs no more meaning – more of that later – the result clarified what the USMNT needs to do if it wants to escape the group stages.

USMNT has successfully reached the knockout stage with six of 10 world Cup tournaments for which they have qualified.

Will they be through if they beat England?

Not quite — but almost. This will put the USMNT on four points, England on three points, Iran on three points, and Wales on one point.

Group B if USMNT wins

Crew O D L Points

United States

1

1

0

4

England

1

0

1

3

Iran

1

0

1

3

Wales

0

1

1

1

USMNT will face Iran in their final group match, and a point in that match would guarantee progression, while a victory would see them win the group. England take on Wales in the final group game.

However, if Iran beat the USMNT, Gregg Berhalter’s side would be eliminated if England beat Wales.

What about a draw?

This makes the situation quite difficult. England would have four points, Iran three points, USMNT two points and Wales one.

Group B if USMNT draw

Crew O D L Points

England

1

1

0

4

Iran

1

0

1

3

USMNT

0

2

0

2

Wales

0

1

1

1

Simply put, a win against Iran will test the USMNT, although that depends on England’s outcome against Wales.

However, any other result will see the American team eliminated.

Is the USMNT a loser?

This is where it gets more difficult. Their fate would be taken out of their hands.

Group B if USMNT loses

Crew O D L Points

England

2

0

0

6

Iran

1

0

1

3

USMNT

0

1

1

1

Wales

0

1

1

1

England will be group winners with six points, Iran with three points, and Wales and the USMNT each with one point.

The USMNT must beat Iran and then hope Wales don’t beat England. If Wales beat England, the USMNT will require their goal difference (goals scored less goals conceded) to be better than Wales, as the two teams would be tied on four points.

Who could the USMNT play in knockouts?

They will face one of the teams from Group A – which includes the hosts Qatarthe Netherlands, Ecuadorand Senegal.

If the USMNT finishes second, its most likely opponent will be the Netherlands. They have lost four of their five games against the Dutch, but won the last one 4-3 in 2015.

If the USMNT wins the group, the likeliest opponents are Ecuador or Senegal, who play the final round of group matches on Tuesday to decide progress. They have won five, drawn five and lost five to Ecuador, but have never faced Senegal.

What is England’s story against the USMNT at the World Cup?

England didn’t play their first World Cup until 1950, and their very first game at the tournament was against the United Stateswho entered the game in Belo Horizonte as a massive underdog.

However, a 38th-minute goal from USMNT striker Joe Gaetjens gave his side a famous victory and led to England being knocked out in the group stage.

England lost just one other chance against the United States – a friendly in 1993 – but faced them again at the World Cup in 2010. Although Steven Gerrard gave an early lead to England, an error by Rob Green allowed Clint Dempsey to equalise. The USMNT would go on to win the group.

Athleticism Oli Kay explored the rivalry in more detail here.

(Photo: Visionhaus/Getty Images)

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