World Cup draw 2022: USMNT draw England, Iran; Spain get Germany in group of death; Messi to face Lewandowski

The 2022 FIFA World Cup draw was held on Friday in Doha and this year's event in Qatar promises early drama after a number of intriguing group draws. For the complete schedule, click here.

The USMNT will meet England, Iran and possibly Scotland, Wales or Ukraine too in Group B while the hosts have drawn the Netherlands, Ecuador and Senegal in Group A.

Defending champions France will face Denmark again after their 2018 meeting and could also be reunited with Peru or Australia as well as Tunisia in Group D while Mexico are up against Argentina, Poland and Saudi Arabia in a spicy Group C.

Group E is where the heavyweights are at with Spain and Germany together as well as Japan and the winner of Costa Rica against New Zealand while Canada are in Group F with Croatia and Morocco.

In Group G, Brazil got Switzerland, Serbia and Cameroon while Portugal are joined by Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea in Group H.

Qatar will open the World Cup against Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.

World Cup groups

  • Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands
  • Group B: England, Iran, USA, Scotland/Ukraine or Wales
  • Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland
  • Group D: France, Australia/UAE or Peru, Denmark, Tunisia
  • Group E: Spain, Costa Rica or New Zealand, Germany, Japan
  • Group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Croatia
  • Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon
  • Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea

Winners and losers

Now that the World Cup groups have been drawn, we can look at the makeup of the eight pools and assess who has received the best and worst scenarios. Group B with the USMNT and England, Argentina and Mexico in Group C, Spain and Germany in Group E as well as Canada in Group F with Belgium, Croatia and Morocco are all fascinating.

Some winners and losers.

Winner: Netherlands

The Dutch will feel very happy with their draw, but hosts Qatar will feel equally grateful that Oranje are perhaps their strongest opponents on paper. Anything could happen with Senegal and Ecuador, but Louis Van Gaal's men certainly feel like favorites here.

Loser: Iran

Although the outcome of Scotland, Wales and Ukraine's playoff is not yet known, this already feels like a tough one for the Iranians. This group will not be short of talking points around any of Iran's games, but they will really need to hit the ground running to stand a chance of making it out.

Winner: England

USMNT rivalry aside, the Three Lions will feel pleased with their group as Iran and the winner of Scotland, Wales or Ukraine's eventual UEFA playoff should not cause too much fear. The Scottish and Welsh will have that added motivation given the rivalry which could make the Americans their key adversaries.

Loser: Tunisia

France, Denmark and then potentially a Peru, Australia or a UAE is a tough task for the Tunisians. Les Bleus is a bit of a rivalry while Denmark have emerged as an extremely difficult team to beat. Depending on who joins this group, third place could be considered an achievement.

Winner: France

The defending champions will be undaunted by drawing strong qualifiers Denmark who they know well from 2018. However, they also drew the Danes in 2002 when they crashed out as titleholders from 1998, so there is that to consider. Tunisia is an intriguing pairing given the significant links between the two countries while the playoff winners could see Les Bleus up against two of the three teams they faced in their Russia group in 2018. Will it be enough for them to become the first title holders to escape their group since Brazil won in 2002 and then advanced in 2006.

Loser: Japan

Getting Spain and Germany is pretty brutal with a playoff team to be added to the mix as well. On paper, the Germans and Spanish will be expected to advance, but Samurai Blue have shown in the past that they are capable of springing a surprise -- they need another here.

Winner: Brazil

Despite Serbia's improvement and Switzerland's solid nature, the South Americans will fancy themselves against all of their opponents. On paper, at least, this risks getting brutal for Cameroon unless they can build quickly under Rigobert Song's leadership.

Loser: Cameroon

Arguably favorites to finish bottom of their group given Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia's strength, the Africans need to use these next few months wisely. Changing coach in a World Cup year is never easy, but that has now happened and the Indomitable Lions will at least be motivated to play for such a legendary figure.

Winner: USMNT

That's a good draw for the U.S. They won't be close to a lock for the round of 16 by any means, but they should feel good about their chances. They are going to want Scotland, but it will likely be Wales or Ukraine, and that really could go either way. England should beat the U.S., but the Americans have a knack for pulling off some big group stage results. They did get far and away the best draw out of all the Concacaf teams. Mexico have to play big boys Argentina and a formidable Poland side. Canada have two semifinalists from 2018 in Belgium and Croatia in their group, and if Costa Rica make it, they just have to worry about Spain and Germany  -- Roger Gonzalez

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The groups in full

Here you are, this is what World Cup 2022 is going to look like:

Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands

Group B: England, Iran, USA, Scotland/Ukraine or Wales

Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland

Group D: France, Australia/UAE or Peru, Denmark, Tunisia

Group E: Spain, Costa Rica or New Zealand, Germany, Japan

Group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Croatia

Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon

Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea

April 1, 2022, 11:48 AM
Apr. 01, 2022, 7:48 am EDT
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USMNT: What to know about Iran

Yes, I know Iran took care of the U.S. in the 1998 World Cup, but this is 2022. This is the strongest U.S. squad in terms of talent, and anything but a comfortable three points would be a massive disaster. Having this as the last match is just fine. If the U.S. win one of their first two, then this will likely be enough to win and advance. But on the other side, with some hiccups in the opening games, they may find themselves needing a result and hoping England can take care of business in their third match. This game against Iran is one where the U.S. should have the majority of the ball and the chances, and if their finishing is on, the three points are clearly theirs. Iran aren't pushovers, they're ranked 21st in the FIFA rankings, but if the USMNT want to get out of the group stage then they need to beat teams of this caliber regularly.

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USMNT: What to know about England

It just had to happen. This isn't the same England of years past. It's the best England in decades and runners-up of Euro 2020. The U.S. would be the big-time underdogs here. USMNT will have to double Harry Kane, hope Tyler Adams has a monster game sitting deep in the midfield and provide support to fullbacks trying to stop a talented group of wingers including Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Raheem Sterling and maybe Marcus Rashford for Jadon Sancho. The U.S. can get something from this, but it isn't going to be easy. It will take something special for three points.

Early prediction: England 2, USA 0

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USMNT: What to know about Wales/Scotland/Ukraine

Not bad, all things considered. It could have been much worse, so they'll take this. I would say Wales or Ukraine are the likely opponent. The Welsh are through to the playoff final after beating Austria 2-1. Gareth Bale turned back the clock in that match to score twice, and he continues to star for his nation despite underwhelming at Real Madrid. I suspect Ukraine will beat Scotland, although given Russia's invasion of Ukraine there are bigger factors at play than soccer, and it's hard to predict how that will impact the side. Either Wales or Ukraine would be a tricky matchup for the U.S. both Don't get me wrong -- the U.S. has the potential to beat either, but they also could very well take zero points and I won't be the least bit surprised. The U.S. is ranked 15th in the world while Wales is ranked 18th and Ukraine is 27th. Wales might have slightly more quality with Bale and of course Aaron Ramsey. But if it is Ukraine, watch out. Should they qualify they will obviously be fan favorites given what's going on in the world. And this is an extremely talented bunch with players like Atalanta's Ruslan Malinovskyi, and Manchester City's Oleksandr Zinchenko

Early prediction: USA 1, Wales 1; USA 2, Scotland 1; USA 1, Ukraine 1

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Berhalter on the opposition that the United States will face

"It was amazing to get England in our group I think that's a game that always has a lot of attention around it because of England and their fans, and they're established place in soccer. And then you then we have Iran which is a difficult opponent given they've finished first in their group qualifying in Asia, the first Asian team, to qualify besides Qatar, scored a lot of goals, a dangerous team, and then the unknown of  Ukraine and Scotland and Wales are pretty similar in terms of how they're approaching the game. But then your training is completely different. So some challenges there. But overall it's a positive and we look forward to competing ."

April 1, 2022, 8:18 PM
Apr. 01, 2022, 4:18 pm EDT
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Adams also spoke about the upcoming battle for places saying,

"Now we're continuing to fight for positions and try to earn our spots, and there are a lot of games until the end of the season. So there will be a lot of minutes that are up for grabs."

While forward is the biggest spot making the rounds there are smaller battles around the team like who will be the third midfielder next to Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams, and who will the starting goalkeeper be will also need to be answered over the next eight months.

April 1, 2022, 8:11 PM
Apr. 01, 2022, 4:11 pm EDT
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Gregg Berhalter respect's the depth that he'll be up against with the English national team

April 1, 2022, 8:08 PM
Apr. 01, 2022, 4:08 pm EDT
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Tyler Adams on what qualifying for the World Cup means

"Qualifying for the world cup is, you know, was a task that we needed to accomplish, and you know we checked that off But now is the time where we're we're gonna be able to enjoy this moment, as players to step out on field first and foremost. We wanted to change how everyone looks at us as players and as a nation, and ultimately gain the respect of fans around the world, let alone our own fans. So it's gonna be important that now, we have the mindset going into this tournament that we have really good performances. We're not just there to show up we want to you know, Have an impact, obviously, on ourselves and our team.

But ultimately on how soccer is viewed, you know, by the fans in the Us. After the disappointment, after not qualifying to the last, World Cup, and then ultimately, globally, you want to, you know, gain the respect of you know. some of the best footballing nations in the world."

April 1, 2022, 8:05 PM
Apr. 01, 2022, 4:05 pm EDT
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USMNT's official schedule

Monday, Nov. 21
USA vs. Wales/Scotland/Urkaine, TBD

Friday, Nov. 25
England vs. USA, TBD

Tuesday, Nov. 29
Iran vs. USA, TBD

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USMNT A team for summer prep? 

United States men's national team manager Gregg Berhalter told reporters during Friday's post-draw press conference that he's bringing the A team for the Nations League games this summer. The draw for the second iteration of this Concacaf tournament is Monday in Miami. 

April 1, 2022, 7:28 PM
Apr. 01, 2022, 3:28 pm EDT
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World Cup Power Rankings

So now that the draw is in the books and we know where and when every game will take place for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, let's take a look James Benge's latest rankings as he has the following teams in the top tier:

1. Brazil (--)
2. France (--)
3. England (+1)
4. Argentina (-1)
5. Spain (+1)

Click here to find out where the rest are slotted in his other four tiers. 

April 1, 2022, 7:20 PM
Apr. 01, 2022, 3:20 pm EDT
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Relatively impressive equality in these groups. Not too many heavyweight pairings with Group E matching Spain with Germany arguably the biggest. Group A could have been a lot worse for hosts Qatar while Group F also looks fairly wide open.

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That's your lot

The final team out of the pot is Canada, who join Belgium, Morocco and Croatia in what looks like being one of the more even groups. Which do you think is the best? Certainly the USA, England, Iran and possibly Scotland or Wales is ludicrously rich in narrative whilst in terms of pure quality and upset potential perhaps it is Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea that offers the most likely giant slaying.

April 1, 2022, 12:19 PM
Apr. 01, 2022, 8:19 am EDT
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Heavy English influence on Group B?

That is USMNT, England and possibly Scotland, Wales or Ukraine with Iran. A Scottish or Welsh qualification would make that quite the group to keep an eye on.

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Three-quarters done

Which do you like for group of death so far? Group E looks spicy and could see Ecuador, Ghana or Cameroon join Spain, Germany and Japan. Meanwhile Group H is one big team away from a classic and there's plenty of drama to potentially come from France, Denmark and Tunisia.

April 1, 2022, 12:11 PM
Apr. 01, 2022, 8:11 am EDT
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Group C is giving us some spice

That definitely looks like a trio where any team could catch fire or completely explode. Can Lewandowski get the better of Martinez? Will Messi be able to find his form against cagey opponents? Will Tata Martino still be in charge?

Meanwhile Serbia jump ahead to Group G in what is looking to be an extremely Brazilian group, one that looks harder on paper than they make it appear in practice.

April 1, 2022, 12:07 PM
Apr. 01, 2022, 8:07 am EDT
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USMNT get Iran

Iran has been drawn into Group A with the United States and England. We still don't know who the U.S. will play in the first game, but England will play Iran in their opener.

But the Iran draw is a favorable one for sure for the red, white and blue. They'll be expected to take all three points. 

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How to take the England draw for USA?

Well, we just knew this was going to happen, didn't we? A fun draw for sure, but this is an England team that is as good as they have had in a long time. The Americans will be big-time underdogs in that one. They will play on the day after Thanksgiving -- Friday, Nov. 25. Nice not to open with that.

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Anglophone rivalry

That USMNT and England draw is BIG! Rob Green, of course, will know all about that one. Elsewhere, France get Denmark again who were in their ill-fated 2002 group. Mexico with Argentina in C is a zinger too. Spain and Germany will also be on many people's watch lists.

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Looking ahead

We're starting to fill in the top seeds, which obviously gives us precious little idea what will happen in the group stages but I can't help but look ahead. The winners of Group B and Group D will face off in a quarter final if they win their round of 16 ties. Could that be England vs. France? What a game that would be!

April 1, 2022, 11:51 AM
Apr. 01, 2022, 7:51 am EDT
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Maybe... just maybe

Jermaine Jenas utters the immortal phrase "let's start this draw". Carli Lloyd is reminding us of the teams in pot one despite the fact we have just come from a montage explaining who is in pot one. But we're finally going. Cafu gets the balls rolling. At last!

April 1, 2022, 11:47 AM
Apr. 01, 2022, 7:47 am EDT
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It's still going

Please, someone, just go rogue and start the draw. Ricardo Pepi will be retired by the time this is up and running.

April 1, 2022, 11:43 AM
Apr. 01, 2022, 7:43 am EDT
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Now we're getting somewhere

US legend Carli Lloyd is out on the stage with Jermaine Jenas, who has also played football, to introduce the people who will actually be doing the draw. The full list is down below, here come some of the big names, including Matthaus, Cafu and Okocha.

April 1, 2022, 11:39 AM
Apr. 01, 2022, 7:39 am EDT
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Spoke too soon

Well obviously there's no way this draw can take place without an interview with France manager Didier Deschamps and, ermm, a child who was somewhat younger nearly four years ago. More as we get it. Then we're going to need a montage (montage). Even Rocky had a montage.

April 1, 2022, 11:35 AM
Apr. 01, 2022, 7:35 am EDT
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Here we go!

I think we might finally be up and running. Let's all just wipe the pre-draw nonsense from our brains, shall we?

April 1, 2022, 11:29 AM
Apr. 01, 2022, 7:29 am EDT
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One for Berhalter's locker room?

BBC Sport

As you can imagine, I'm watching this in the UK, where the BBC have just done the customary look at the best and worst possible groups for England. I should emphasise that this was done based on FIFA rankings (though if we're being frank, Gareth Southgate would probably be delighted to face the USA) but don't let that spoil what is the sort of thing Berhalter will surely want as bulletin board material.

April 1, 2022, 11:19 AM
Apr. 01, 2022, 7:19 am EDT
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The venues

Such is the nature of this World Cup, hosted in by far the smallest country to have been handed this tournament, there are naturally complexities around where and when the games will happen. As such we will have to wait until after the draw happens to know who is playing where and when. What we do know, though, is the locations each group will have their matches at:

Groups A, B, E, and F: Al Bayt Stadium, Khalifa International Stadium, Al Thumama Stadium, and Ahmed bin Ali Stadium.

Groups C, D, G, and H: Lusail Iconic Stadium, Stadium 974, Education City Stadium, and Al Janoub Stadium.

April 1, 2022, 11:46 AM
Apr. 01, 2022, 7:46 am EDT
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USA fans ... keep an eye on the group

If the USMNT is in Group G or H, they'll be playing their first group stage game on ... wait for it ... Thanksgiving -- Thursday, Nov. 24. Regardless, there will be a bunch of NFL and four World Cup matches, and if it is the U.S., it will be like something we have never experienced. 

Here is what the schedule looks like for that day: 

Thursday, Nov. 24
G1 vs. G2
G3 vs. G4
H1 vs. H2
H3 vs. H4

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Why Qatar is under the spotlight

Naturally we cannot let any build up event to this tournament pass by without addressing what has happened in the 11 years since Qatar were controversially awarded the rights to this World Cup. At the time there was next to no infrastructure to host this tournament, seven of its eight stadia had to be built from scratch as well as roads, accommodation and all the accoutrements of a major sporting event. 

The spotlight has been shone on numerous factors, from the illegality of homosexuality to questions as to how the bid was won in what was an era of rampant corruption at FIFA. At the heart of concerns over Qatar, however, is the treatment of those who have built the facilities that fans, players and the world's media will use. No one knows how many migrant workers have died in the building of this World Cup. Last year the Guardian estimated the number at 6,000. Qatar said in 2020 that the number was 37.

Amnesty warns that "migrants building a state-of-the-art stadium for the 2022 football World Cup in Qatar are abused and exploited - while FIFA makes huge profits". Yesterday FIFA president Gianni Infantino insisted it was too late to turn back and there is of course almost no chance that the many question marks over this tournament will lead to it being taken from Qatar. But equally if this is a vehicle for promoting the nation to the world it is incumbent on us to explain how we got here.

April 1, 2022, 11:02 AM
Apr. 01, 2022, 7:02 am EDT
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Champions' curse

France will come into this World Cup as titleholders, but we must not forget that the previous four European winners have all crashed out in the group stage the following tournament. Les Bleus themselves already suffered this back in 2002 after their 1998 success on home soil and Denmark, Uruguay and Senegal, are all potential draw opponents here -- again.

Germany were the most recent victims with their 2018 failure coming just four years after their 2014 triumph which was also the year that Spain arrived as champions and dropped out in the group stage. Italy have fallen foul of the same curse twice when they went home early in 2010 after their 2006 victory and all the way back in 1950 while Brazil also suffered the same fate in 1966.

Didier Deschamps has been warned! 

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