2022 FIFA World Cup Preview and Predictions: Group B

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is fast approaching and we are bringing you a preview of every group ahead of the tournament, offering an insight into each team, as well as predictions as to who will progress to the knockout rounds. Below, we preview Group B that contains Euro 2020 finalists England, a Wales team that is playing in its first World Cup since 1958, the United States and Iran.

The Teams:



United States


Group B Preview

England enter the tournament following their disappointment at the Euro 2020 final at Wembley Stadium after they lost on penalties against Italy. The Azzurri certainly got one over the English that day but they will find some solace in the fact that the Italians will not be at the World Cup in Qatar.

Gareth Southgate has led his England side to at least the semi-finals at both of their last two major tournaments, losing to Croatia in the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup as well as the defeat at the aforementioned Euros final.

However, the Three Lions’ boss has come under scrutiny of late due to the negative style of play that he seems to prefer, especially due to the huge array of talent going forward such as the likes of Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish.

The United States pose the biggest threat to England, who are clear favorites to top the group, and the USMNT has really come into fruition of late with a number of young players leaving their mark across Europe. Christian Pulisic is almost seen as a cult hero for many US ‘soccer’ fans, whilst Weston McKennie of Juventus and Giovanni Reyna of Borussia Dortmund also offer elite talent. Calcio fans should also be on the lookout for Sergino Dest of Milan, with the full-back being named in the official 26-man squad.

England on the Decline?

Results since the Euros have been far from glamorous for the English and this has led to their relegation from the top league of the UEFA Nations League. England failed to win any of their Nations League matches this summer, losing to Italy and Hungary twice, only managing to draw in the home match against Italy, as well as drawing against Germany both home and away. Let’s not forget the 4-0 demolition of England in June at Molineux at the hands of the Hungarians.

England did manage to come from two goals down at Wembley against Germany at the end of September but were still held to a point in a 3-3 draw. Nonetheless, the attacking quality in the second half of that match will give England fans hope that their quality going forward can prevail at this year’s tournament.

England’s neighbours Wales also make up Group B and Gareth Bale will lead Rob Page’s side at only their second-ever World Cup appearance. As at Euro 2016, Wales will be hoping to shock the rest of the powerful footballing nations. They managed to reach the semi-final of that tournament, topping Group B ahead of the English before knocking out Northern Ireland and Belgium in the round of 16 and quarter-finals respectively.

Wales on the Hunt for Revenge

Under the leadership of Chris Coleman, the Dragons were unable to get over the hurdle of Portugal in the semi-final of Euro 2016 but the memories from their success will live on to 2022 and offer hope that they can make an impact here. This is, after all, the World Cup. European Championship success is held in very high regard but nothing quite matches the extravagance and importance of a World Cup.

Gareth Bale is much older than he was in 2016 and the 33-year-old has certainly lost a yard of pace or two from back then. However, his fight and determination for his national side is unrivalled and he will look to carry Wales in the tournament.

Ethan Ampadu, who is currently on loan at Spezia from Chelsea, has also made the squad and he will be looking to build on his performances at Euro 2020. Of course, former Juventus man Aaron Ramsey has made his ever-present appearance in the Wales squad and the 31-year-old will just be hoping he can stay fit for the duration of the tournament.

Although managing to hold one over England in terms of their progression at the 2016 Euros, Wales did suffer defeat in their group match against England so they will very much be looking for revenge in their group match here.

Outsiders Iran

Iran are perhaps the biggest outsiders in Group B but they have qualified for the tournament for the past two editions and even picked up a win at the 2018 World Cup in Russia against Morocco. They also held Portugal to a draw, finishing just a single point behind the Seleção and Spain. Their impressive campaign just four years ago will give them a huge boost in confidence here.

Key Fixture

It’s a must win game for both the USA and Wales in their opening fixture of the tournament when the two sides go head-to-head on November 21 at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium. With England expected to top the group, both the USA and Wales are expected to fight it out for second spot to make it to the knockouts. Therefore, whoever is able to find victory in that match will have the upper hand to reach to the round of 16.

Ones to Watch

James Maddison has been on fantastic form in the Premier League for Leicester City so far this season, scoring seven goals and assisting four in 13 appearances. His inclusion was certainly justified and he could make an impact off the bench for England with his creativity and eye for goal.

Iran head coach Carlos Queiroz will be looking to get the best out of his star forwards in Bayer Leverkusen’s Sardar Azmoun and Porto’s Mehdi Taremi. The latter has been on excellent form for his club and will need to be firing if the Persians are able make something happen at the tournament.

Final Prediction

England’s form heading into the tournament will certainly be huge cause for concern and if they struggle against Iran in their opening fixture, pressure could be on Southgate from the off.

With England and the US facing each other in matchday two, USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter will be hoping for a surprise result, like at the 2010 World Cup when they were able to draw 1-1 with the Three Lions. USA topped the group that year ahead of the English and so they will be dreaming of a repeat 12 years on.

The quality in the England side should see them outweigh the threat of the rest of the group, despite their current poor run of form, but a surprise or two may still be in store. USA and Wales are expected to be the most likely to qualify behind England and we’re backing the Stars and Stripes to edge out Wales.

1. England

2. USA

3. Wales

4. Iran