World Cup: Guide to England's Qatar 2022 group opponents

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England have discovered who their group stage opponents will be at the Qatar World Cup in Friday’s draw – or at least two of the three teams for definite. 

Gareth Southgate’s men have been drawn in Group B where it was confirmed they will play the United States and Iran – with the latter taking place on the opening day of the tournament.

It will be the first time that England have played on the opening day of a World Cup since 1966.

England will have to wait longer though to find out who their fourth opponent will be with Wales set to face the winner of Scotland’s play-off clash with Ukraine to decide who will qualify for the tournament.  

Here, Sportsmail takes an in-depth look at the sides that stand in the way of England and the knockout stages as they look to go better than their semi-final efforts in 2018. 

Semi-finals in 2018, final in 2021 - can Harry Kane and England go one step further in Qatar?

Semi-finals in 2018, final in 2021 – can Harry Kane and England go one step further in Qatar? 

The England manager should be happy with their draw for the group stage at the World Cup

The England manager should be happy with their draw for the group stage at the World Cup

England will be hoping to go one further after the heartache of their loss in the Euro 2020 final

England will be hoping to go one further after the heartache of their loss in the Euro 2020 final

The 2022 Qatar World Cup draw was made on Friday in Doha ahead of this winter's tournament

The 2022 Qatar World Cup draw was made on Friday in Doha ahead of this winter’s tournament

United States

Who’s the manager?

Gregg Berhalter – Berhalter was handpicked to take over as US coach back in 2018 when he was plucked from MLS franchise Columbus Crew as part of a huge reset following a shambolic 2-1 defeat by Trinidad and Tobago that saw them miss out.

After an uninspiring first year in charge, Berhalter has managed to make the most of the promising crop of American talent springing up across Europe and get a tune out of them. A former defender, the 48-year-old represented the US at two World Cups – 2002 and 2006. 

Berhalter had a short stint in England as a player, making 19 appearances for Crystal Palace during the 2001-02 season. 

Who’s the star man?

Christian Pulisic – The Chelsea winger has been the poster boy for American football for a number of years and had to put up with team-mates that simply just weren’t as good as him.

But now he has some back-up in the form of Tyler Adams, Giovanni Reyna, Ricardo Pepi, Sergino Dest and Weston McKennie. With a hat-trick against Panama earlier this week, Pulisic proved he will be their biggest threat in Qatar.

Against England he will get the chance to play against some of his team-mates at Stamford Bridge with the likes of Reece James and Mason Mount likely to feature for the three Lions. 

Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic will be the United States' key attacking player in Qatar

Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic will be the United States’ key attacking player in Qatar 

How did they qualify?

It was nerve-shredding but the US sealed their place at Qatar this week by claiming the third and final automatic space in North America behind Canada and Mexico, despite losing to Costa Rica in their final match.

Their place was all but sealed before the game after beating Panama earlier in the week but still, a 2-0 loss to Costa Rica is not exactly how you want to celebrate a World Cup return. 

The United States were the lowest-seeded team that England could play from Pot 2 but are a more formidable threat than the side that held them to a 1-1 draw in the 2010 World Cup. 

It was a match made famous by a blunder from Robert Green who spilled a long-range strike from Clint Dempsey after Steven Gerrard gave England an early early lead. 

They last played in 2018 when Jesse Lingard, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Callum Wilson scored in a 3-0 friendly victory. 

Chance of winning the trophy – 1/5

Robert Green's goalkeeping blunder cost England victory against United States back in 2010

Robert Green’s goalkeeping blunder cost England victory against United States back in 2010

Iran

Who’s the manager?

Dragan Skocic – The Croatian coach was appointed in February 2020 as a replacement for former Belgium manager Marc Wilmots and has guided Iran through qualifying and to their sixth World Cup appearances.

Skocic has great experience of the Iranian football system, having worked with domestic clubs  Malavana and Foolad. He has a sublime track record so far, winning 15 of the 17 games he has overseen as manager.

Who’s the star man?

Sardar Azmoun – Azmoun was once a target for Liverpool in the Brendan Rodgers era at Anfield after impressing in Russia. A move to Anfield never materialised though and instead he stayed and joined Zenit St Petersburg, scoring 62 goals in 104 games.

His big move came in January when German side Bayer Leverkusen opted to bring forward his arrival to the Bundesliga from this summer. The 27-year-old is yet to find the back of the net for his new club but his speed and pressing will be a problem for teams in Qatar.

How did they qualify?

After working their way through the deep qualifying pool in Asia, Iran finished top of the AFC’s third round – a round robin system featuring the seven group winners and five best runners-up.

Iran won their group with eight wins from 10 matches, beating Son Heung-min and South Korea to top spot. 

England will play on the opening day of a World Cup for the first time since 1966 when they play Iran. 

It will be the first time that the two nations have ever come up against each other.  

Chance of winning the trophy – 1/5  

Iran won their group with eight wins from 10 matches, beating South Korea to top spot

Iran won their group with eight wins from 10 matches, beating South Korea to top spot

Wales v Scotland/Ukraine

England will have to wait to find out who will be the fourth team to round up Group B.

Wales are set to play the winners of Scotland against Ukraine in June to discover who will make the tournament in Qatar.

It means England face the prospect of a potential Home Nations tie against Wales or Scotland.

Wales have only ever reached the World Cup finals once, way back in 1958, when they progressed through a group phase to reach the quarter-finals, losing to eventual winners Brazil in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Gareth Bale scored twice as Wales beat Austria 2-1 in their semi-final play-off match. 

Scotland meanwhile have not played at a World Cup since France in 1998 when they were knocked out in a group which involved Morocco, Norway and Brazil.

Steve Clarke’s side managed to frustrate England at the European Championships last summer, holding them to a goalless draw though they were knocked out at the group stage.

England also faced Ukraine at the European Championships a 4-0 win in the quarter-finals. 

Ukraine’s delayed match with Scotland comes on the back of the invasion by Russia. 

Scotland held England to a goalless draw during the European Championships

Scotland held England to a goalless draw during the European Championships

England could come up against Gareth Bale and Wales who they met back at Euro 2016

England could come up against Gareth Bale and Wales who they met back at Euro 2016

England could also face Ukraine who they beat 4-0 in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020

England could also face Ukraine who they beat 4-0 in the quarter-finals of Euro 20

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