With so much focus on the US men’s national team and its World Cup preparations, it’s easy to lose sight of a very important aspect of the equation: what its opponents are doing.
The ability of the United States to succeed in Qatar is not only due to what the Americans do, but it also depends in large part on how successful its competition is. Like the United States, its three World Cup opponents, Wales, England and Iran, are also playing against teams bound for Qatar this month, with the exception of England’s upcoming game against Italy – the European champions who have spectacularly failed to make it to the world. Cup for the second time in a row.
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Between the UEFA Nations League matches and friendlies, these three teams are preparing just as well as the United States, with players set in the bubble and their final issues being presented for inclusion. Here’s a closer look at what will happen to the trio the US will face in November:
In the World Cup against the United States: November. 21, 2 p.m. EST, Al Rayyan Stadium.
This monthAgainst Belgium and Poland in the UEFA Nations League.
The Dragons are ranked last in their group in the Nations League and face the prospect of relegation to the Second Division. And that of course has very little significance when compared to preparing for the World Cup for the first time in 64 years and the opening match against the Americans. The results during this window are somewhat important for Robert Page’s side, but most useful will be the time together and an assessment of where Gareth Bale stands in his first camp since joining LAFC this summer. He’s only started twice in 11 MLS games, scoring two goals, but his form is less important than his fitness when it comes to representing his country.
Wales won’t be operating at full capacity, with midfielder Aaron Ramsey, winger Harry Wilson and goalkeeper Adam Davies all out of camp, and Bournemouth midfielder David Brooks not returning after passing a cancer diagnosis in the spring.
“The next two games will be an opportunity to use them with one eye on the World Cup,” Page said upon revealing his team, adding that he is not planning to raise any surprises and will rely on his veteran core. “But it is a shame to find ourselves in this position in two Nations League matches. We may only need one win to stay in the division, but it shows progress, we are playing against Belgium carrying our win.
“We want to stay in the division, of course we do… We want to play against the best players and teams.”
The Dragons will have the opportunity to do so in this window, between Belgium, ranked No. 2 in the world, and Poland, which includes Robert Lewandowski. In the opposite games in June, Poland came from behind to beat Wales at home, 2-1, while the Welshman drew 1-1 with Belgium in Cardiff thanks to a late Brennan Johnson goal. The second matches are a fitting preparation for a largely untouched side whose manager has the backing of signing a four-year agreement to complete the 2026 World Cup – a reward for the job already done in place of Ryan Giggs, who has stepped down amid accusations of domestic violence.
Separately, the US hopes that by the time of November 21, the active World Cup talk of Welsh actor Michael Sheen (oriented towards the Dragon’s match against England) will be over. But based on Page’s affinity for Shane and his rhetoric, that seems unlikely.
goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessy (Nottingham Forest), Danny Ward (Leicester City), Tom King (Salford City)
Defenders: Nico Williams (Nottingham Forest), Reese Norrington Davies (Sheffield United), Ben Davies (Tottenham), Ben Kabango (Swansea City), Joe Rodon (Rennes), Chris Mipham (Bournemouth), Ethan Ampadu (Spezia), Chris Gunter (Spezia) Wimbledon, Conor Roberts (Burnley)
midfielders: Sorba Thomas (Huddersfield Town), Joe Allen (Swansea City), Joe Morrell (Portsmouth), Dylan Levitt (Dundee United), Robin Colwell (Cardiff City), Johnny Williams (Swindon Town), Matthew Smith (Milton Keynes Dons)
attackers: Wes Burns (Ipswich Town), Dan James (Fulham), Kiefer Moore (Bournemouth), Mark Harris (Cardiff City), Luke Harris (Fulham), Gareth Bale (Los Angeles FC), Brennan Johnson (Nottingham Forest), Rabbi Matondo (Rangers), Tyler Roberts ( Queens Park Rangers)
In the World Cup against the United States: November 25, 2 p.m. ET, Al Bayt Stadium.
This monthAgainst Italy and Germany in the UEFA Nations League.
A lackluster 0-2-2 June spotlighted Gareth Southgate to correct the ship’s course for the Three Lions, who, like Wales, face the prospect of relegation in the Nations League. Two shock defeats against Hungary and two draws against this month’s rivals, the most ostentatious Italy and Germany, left England needing results and perhaps some help to avoid relegation.
But, as with Wales, it is secondary to rediscovering the top level ahead of the World Cup, and England have many problems to solve before they can do that. He is dealing with a string of injuries (goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, midfielder Calvin Phillips and striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin all injured), while centre-back Harry Maguire is under intense scrutiny due to his low profile at Manchester United.
“Obviously we’ve had a number of players including Ben Chilwell, Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Calvin Phillips who don’t play long minutes for their club. It’s not perfect, but we feel they were and could be important players for us,” Southgate said upon revealing his team (and before that Phillips has to withdraw) “It’s not an ideal situation, but there is still a lot of football to be played before Qatar.”
However, with tournament results under Southgate – fourth at the 2018 World Cup, European runners-up – come greater expectations, and anything short of two convincing performances this month will heighten anxiety on their home ground before entering the competition. . As a result, Southgate expanded his squad to 28 players in hopes of finding some solutions.
“This is a bigger squad than usual and part of the rationale is that we are very close to the World Cup and we feel, although our results were disappointing in the summer, we chose on the basis of form and ability over how far,” Southgate said.
One of the best stories among those choices is Evan Toni, the 26-year-old Brentford striker who is his first England call-up at any level. His presence in camp and the likes of Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford does not indicate Southgate’s desire to turn all the stones and not rely solely on England’s past performance to dictate the future.
said Southgate, who sounds a lot like American coach Greg Berhalter in explaining his decisions. “Marcus Rashford, for example, has shown some encouraging signs lately. He is a player we know very well, so if he can perform at a high level in the next few weeks, he will of course be considered.
“Reflecting on the past couple of months, it’s clear that as an international manager you don’t have any matches to quickly put the disappointment behind. We’ve had a long time to think, but now we’re really looking forward to two high-quality matches that will be a great test for us and an important part of our World Cup preparation. Eight weeks until we name our team for Qatar, so every minute counts.”
goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Nottingham Forest), Nick Pope (Newcastle), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Everton), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Marc Guehy (Crystal Palace), Rhys James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Manchester) . United), John Stones (Manchester City), Fikayo Tomori (AC Milan), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Kyle Walker (Manchester City).
midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund) Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) Mason Mount (Chelsea) Declan Rice (West Ham) James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
attackers: Tammy Abraham (Roma), Jarrod Bowen (West Ham), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Chelsea), Evan Toni (Brentford) . )
In the World Cup against the United States: November. 29, 2 p.m. ET, Al Thumama Stadium.
This monthUruguay vs Senegal friendly match.
The Mille team is under new and familiar leadership with the reappointment of Carlos Queiroz as manager. It will be Queiroz’s third consecutive World Cup as Iran coach, although he coached both Colombia and Egypt during the 2022 session before replacing Dragan Skocic earlier this month. So while there is little time to assess the situation and make corrections, Keyrouz’s starting point is at least a lot further than that of any other new employee. Case in point: Of his 27 picks for this camp, there were 16 players who were with him at the 2018 World Cup.
Queiroz is no stranger to American football, having coached the New York/NJ Metro Stars (now the Red Bulls) in their inaugural MLS season, and authored the 2010 draft, an effort commissioned by the American football team in 1998 that aimed to transform the nation into global power in the subsequent 12 years.
His efforts are now, as they have been in the past two World Cups, focused on Iran and trying to lead the nation to the playoffs for the first time. Her 8-1-1 run across her group in the Asian qualifiers was the best in the region, as was her tally of 15, so there’s a solid foundation and a group with plenty of experience – she almost got past a group that includes Spain and Portugal four years ago.
Uruguay, in which the United States played a 0-0 draw in June, and African champions Senegal will offer different types of sunflower tests in an important window for a team stuck between camouflage and tuning and only needing time as a unit to get on the same page before team play – and a date against England begins .
goalkeepers: Alireza Beiranvand (Persepolis), Amir Abedzadeh (Ponferradina), Hossein Hosseini (Istiqlal), Payam Niazmand (Sipahan)
Defenders: Ramin Rezaeian (Sepahan), Sadegh Moharrami (Dinamo Zagreb), Saleh Hardani (Esteghlal), Hossein Kananizadegan (Al Ahli), Majid Hosseini (Kayserispor), Morteza Pouraliganji (Persepolis), Shoja Khalilzadeh (Al Ahli), Abolfazl Jal (Abolfazl Jal) , Milad Mohammadi (AEK Athens), Omid Noorafkan (Sepahan)
midfielders: Omid Ebrahimi (Al Wakrah), Saeid Ezatolahi (Vejle), Milad Sarlak (Persepolis), Saman Ghoddos (Brentford), Ahmad Nourollahi (Shabab Al Ahli), Ehsan Haji Safi (AEK Athens), Vahid Amiri (Persepolis)
attackers: Karim Ansari Fard (Omonia), Sardar Azmoun (Bayer Leverkusen), Ali Golizadeh (Charleroi), Alireza Jahanbakhsh (Fyenoord), Mehdi Tarmi (Porto), Mehdi Turabi (Persepolis)
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