World Cup: U.S. to face England, Iran in group stage
The USMNT is back in the World Cup, but advancing past the group stage in Qatar will be far from easy.
Group B: The U.S. (No. 15 in the FIFA rankings) will be joined by England (No. 5), Iran (No. 21) and the winner of a June playoff: either Wales (No. 18), Scotland (No. 39) or Ukraine (No. 27).
- The doomsday scenario was avoided during Friday's draw, but if Wales gets through, this will be one of the toughest — and certainly deepest — groups in the field.
- The juggernaut: England (+650) has the third-best odds to win the World Cup, per FanDuel, trailing only France and Brazil (both +500).
Schedule: The U.S. begins play on Nov. 21 against the winner of the playoff. Then it's England the day after Thanksgiving (leftovers at halftime!), and Iran four days later. All three matches will be at 2pm ET.
- Nov. 21: vs. TBD (One of four matches on opening day)
- Nov. 25: vs. England (8-2-1 all-time against U.S, but 0-1-1 in World Cups)
- Nov. 29: vs. Iran (1-0-1 against U.S., including 1-0-0 in World Cups)
The bottom line: Gregg Berhalter has eight months and two international windows (June and September) to prepare his team. The countdown has officially begun.
Go deeper: Group-by-group analysis (ESPN)