Soccer fans in America have been waiting more than eight years to make USMNT World Cup predictions. It’s certainly been a long journey, especially for diehard fans who had to live through the U.S. not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.
But the start of the tournament is quickly approaching, and for American soccer fans, it’s time to start thinking about USA World Cup predictions and World Cup Group B predictions.
USMNT World Cup predictions
The group of the U.S., England, Wales, and Iran is not the easiest USMNT World Cup group ever, although it’s not the hardest either.
|To Win Group B
|To Qualify From Group B
|Round of 16 Elimination
|Quarter Final Elimination
|Win the World Cup
All odds taken October 3 at FanDuel Sportsbook
On the surface, the U.S. should be able to advance to the Knockout Stage. But as anyone who’s made USMNT World Cup predictions in the past knows, anything can happen at a World Cup. With everything on the table, let’s try to make some USMNT World Cup predictions for 2022 in Qatar.
Matt Turner is starting goalie
Ever since the USMNT failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, they have been without a consistent starter at goalie. This has been a rarity for a country that has traditionally produced one top-notch goalie after another. In good times and bad over the last four years, no goalie has solidified the no. 1 spot, leading to some uncertainty regarding who will play goalie at the World Cup.
However, Turner is the best bet right now to be leading the USMNT World Cup squad in net.
While Turner is now the backup at Arsenal, he started both September friendlies for the USMNT. For a goalie who hasn’t received regular time, he looked as sharp as can be expected in those two matches.
Arsenal is also poised to give him playing time in the Europa League this fall, giving him some first-team action. Meanwhile, both Zack Steffen and Ethan Horvath are on loan with English Championship clubs and have had mixed results this season. Barring a sudden change of form for either Steffen or Horvath or possibly a long run in the MLS playoffs for Sean Johnson’s NYCFC, Turner looks poised to be the starting goalie in Qatar.
Jesus Ferreira starts the tournament at striker
Outside of goalie, the striker position is the biggest unknown for the USMNT. No player has managed to solidify the position in the lead-up to the tournament, although we believe that it’ll be Ferreira who ends up starting up top for the U.S., at least in the opening match of the World Cup. Ferreira has had a strong season for FC Dallas and is among the leading goal scorers in MLS, as well as the leading scorer among American players. There’s also a bit of pride and poetry in having the top striker in the domestic league starting in the World Cup opener.
Of course, Ferreira is more of a starter by default than anything else. The USMNT staff seems to have lost trust in Jordan Pefok despite his good form for Union Berlin in the Bundesliga. To a lesser extent, the same is true of Josh Sargent, who has played well for Norwich City this season when playing as a true striker.
Ricardo Pepi is another option, although he’s been loaned away from his Bundesliga club and hasn’t scored an international goal in the last year. Unless the staff wants to experiment with Tim Weah or Giovanni Reyna as a false-nine, Ferreira seems like the best option to open the World Cup as the team’s striker.
Another tie with England
Since the day of the World Cup draw, most of the USA World Cup predictions have revolved around the second game of the tournament against England. The two nations also met in the Group Stage of the 2010 World Cup, playing to a draw, largely because of a goalkeeping error by England’s Rob Green. A dozen years later, the two old friends will once again meet in the World Cup.
This time around, a draw could be in the cards yet again. While England is the favorite to win Group B and among the tournament favorites, they haven’t been in top form heading into the World Cup, getting relegated to League B of the UEFA Nations League.
The English are also vulnerable to taking the Americans lightly, especially with their final match of the Group Stage coming against Wales. FanDuel is currently offering +250 odds on the U.S. and England playing to a draw, making this a good value bet for an outcome that’s quite realistic.
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USA bows out in Round of 16
Getting out of the Group Stage is the bare minimum for what the USMNT should expect to accomplish at the 2022 World Cup. It won’t be easy with a tough Wales team in their opener, mighty England in their second match, and a tricky Iran team that’ll be playing close to home in their third match.
But if the Americans can enter the tournament in relatively good health, they have too much talent not to find their way to the Knockout Stage.
However, much like the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, the Round of 16 is where the Americans will be eliminated. While the USMNT has the talent to progress further, the Americans may not have the depth to make a deep run.
There is also concern that Gregg Berhalter could be out-coached by more flexible and experienced international managers, leading the USMNT to falter in a high-pressure Knockout Stage match.
For optimistic USMNT fans, the best bet for the Americans might be a win in their first game against Wales. FanDuel has the U.S. as slight favorites with a +145 moneyline compared to a +190 moneyline for Wales.
Traditionally, if the USMNT has a good World Cup, they win their first match, so this is a good bet for optimists. For even more optimistic fans, FanDuel has +650 odds for the USMNT winning Group B, which is more of a stretch with England heavily favored but not out of the question.
Even more optimistic fans might take a flyer on +11,000 odds of the USMNT winning the World Cup. This is obviously a long shot but not impossible if everything breaks well for the Americans. Meanwhile, the safest bet regarding the USMNT, at least based on pre-tournament betting odds, is for the Americans to beat Iran in their third match, avenging a loss in the 1998 World Cup. The USMNT has a +110 moneyline to win that game, which are the shortest odds they have in any of their three matches.