Welcome to the ‘That’s Guide to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.’
Throughout the week That’s will be publishing a series of articles highlighting everything you need to know about the tournament. Here's your guide to Group B.
England made it to the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup in Russia and finished as runners-up to Italy in the 2020 European Championships, which were played last year due to the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.
With this in mind, England goes into the tournament as one of the favorites to lift the trophy. However, poor results in the Nations League, injuries and below-par performances by players at club level mean England goes into the tournament weaker and lacking confidence.
Having qualified for a total of six World Cups, Iran has one of the worst tournament records out there, having won two, drawn four and lost 12. (They have won the Asian Cup and Asian Games three times each).
In light of this, they are heavily tipped to finish bottom of Group B, and any positive result may depend on the performance of the forward Sardar Azmoun, who plays for German side Bayern Leverkusen.
Group B has been dubbed this tournament’s ‘Group of Death,’ as it is statistically the most difficult (despite only England being ranked in the top 10).
This year will be Wales's second-ever appearance at a World Cup, having last qualified in 1958. However, they stole the hearts of everyone when they made it to the semi-final of the 2016 European Championships, beating one of the favorites Belgium along the way, before eventually losing to Portugal.
This will most likely be the last international tournament for superstar forward Gareth Bale, and the last World Cup for midfielder Aaron Ramsey, as both are already in their 30s.
Expect lively fans singing great songs and nothing but pure passion from the golden generation of players that take to the pitch.
You can’t expect too much from a nation that can’t even be bothered to call the sport by its real name; the USA didn’t qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, but automatically qualifies for the 2026 World Cup as co-hosts alongside Canada and Mexico.
Despite a string of poor results in recent matches (drawing to Saudi Arabia and El Salvador), the USA does have one world-class player. Christian Pulisic, 24, currently plays for Chelsea, where he won the Champions League, becoming the first American to do so.
[Cover image via That’s]