The United States men’s national soccer team learned its World Cup fate Friday, drawing England, Iran and the winner of the upcoming European playoff (Wales, Scotland and Ukraine) in Group B. The U.S. will face England in a rematch of the 2010 World Cup, where the Americans played the Brits to a 1-1 tie in South Africa.
Back in the World Cup after an eight-year absence, the United States punched their ticket to Qatar Wednesday night, joining Canada and Mexico as one of three qualifiers from the CONCACAF region (Costa Rica would be the fourth if they beat New Zealand in June’s inter-confederation playoffs). Led by Hershey, Pennsylvania native Christian Pulisic—already hailed by some as the greatest player America has ever produced—the United States should be relatively pleased with its draw, avoiding world-class talents like Lionel Messi and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who they faced in their last World Cup appearance in 2014.
Fans were hoping the US would be grouped with Qatar, considered by most to be the worst team in this year’s tournament (host countries qualify automatically). That obviously didn’t come to fruition, though at least they dodged Ghana, who has been a thorn in their side at past World Cups, eliminating the United States in both 2006 and 2010.
Televised on Fox Sports 1, Friday’s presentation was widely criticized for its glacial pace, lasting the better part of an hour and a half. Also unclear was why actor Idris Elba was in Doha for the unveil.
This year’s World Cup will be staged in November for the first time, a product of Qatar’s oppressive summer heat. Fifteenth in FIFA’s world rankings, the Americans are hoping to advance to the knockout round for the fourth time in five tries. This will be the last World Cup in its current format with FIFA expanding its field from 32 to 48 teams in 2026.
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