USMNT World Cup Group Stages: What Does USA Need to Qualify for Round of 16?

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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 better chances and hit the woodwork on several occasions, but luck seemed to smile on the Welsh, despite Wayne Hennessey‘s late red card. Cheshmi’s 99th-minute strike from outside the area gave Iran a famous victory, with Rezaeian then finishing off a counter-attack.

Though England vs USA needs a bit more significance – more on that later – the result has clarified what the USMNT must do if they are to escape the group stage.

The USMNT has successfully reached the knockout stage in six of the 10 matches World Championship tournaments that have qualified for.

Will they be through if they beat England?

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

Group B if USMNT wins

Team W D L Points

United States

1

1

0

4

England

1

0

1

3

Iran

1

0

1

3

Wales

0

1

1

1

The USMNT face Iran in their final group game, and a point in that game would guarantee progression, while a win would see them win the group. England play Wales in the final match of the group.

But if Iran beat the USMNT, Gregg Berhalter’s side would be knocked out if England beat Wales.

How about a draw?

That makes the situation quite harsh. England would have four points, Iran would be on three, the USMNT would have two points and Wales just one.

Group B if USMNT draw

Team W D L Points

England

1

1

0

4

Iran

1

0

1

3

USMNT

0

2

0

2

Wales

0

1

1

1

In short, a win against Iran will put the USMNT through, but whether it would be as group winners depends on England’s result against Wales.

However, any other result will see the American team knocked out.

Is the USMNT on a losing streak?

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

Group B if USMNT loses

Team W 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 go through as group winners on six points, with Iran on three points, and Wales and the USMNT each on one point.

The USMNT have to beat Iran and then hope Wales can’t beat England. If Wales beat England, the USMNT requires their goal difference (goals scored minus goals conceded) to be better than Wales, as both teams would be tied on four points.

Who could the USMNT play in the knockouts?

They will play against one of the teams from Group A – which includes the hosts Qatarthat Netherlands, Ecuadorand Senegal.

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

If the USMNT wins the group, the most likely opponents are Ecuador or Senegal, who will play in the final round of group play on Tuesday to determine progression. They have won five, drawn five and lost five to Ecuador, but have never played against Senegal.

What is the history of England vs USMNT at the World Cup?

England did not play in their first World Cup until 1950 and their first ever match in the tournament was against United Stateswho entered the match in Belo Horizonte as massive underdogs.

However, a 38th-minute goal from USMNT forward Joe Gaetjens gave his side a famous victory and saw England eliminated in the group stage.

England have only lost to the USA on one other occasion – a friendly in 1993 – but met them again at the World Cup in 2010. Although Steven Gerrard gave England an early lead, a mistake from Rob Green allowed Clint Dempsey to equalise. The USMNT would go on to win the group.

Athletics Oli Kay has explored the rivalry in more detail here.

(Photo: Visionhaus/Getty Images)

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