Group scenarios USMNT World Cup: what does the US need to qualify for the round of 16?

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 the best chances and hit the woodwork several times, but nevertheless luck seemed to be on the Welsh side Wayne Hennessy‘s belated red card. However, Cheshmi’s attack from outside the area in the 99th minute gave Iran a famous victory, with Rezaeian finishing off a counterattack.

although England vs United States needs little more meaning – more on that later – the result has made it clear what the USMNT must do if they want to escape the group stage.

The USMNT has successfully reached the knockout stage at six out of 10 World Cup tournaments they have qualified for.

Will they be through if they beat England?

Not quite – but almost. That will put the USMNT at four points, England at three points, Iran at 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 are playing Iran in their final group match, and a point in that match would guarantee progression, while winning would see them win the group. England will play Wales in the last game of the group.

However, if Iran beat the USMNT, Gregg Berhalter’s side would be eliminated if England beat Wales.

What about a tie?

It makes the situation quite grim. England would have four points, Iran would have three points, the USMNT two points and Wales just one.

Group B as USMNT tied

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

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

However, in any other result, the US team will be eliminated.

Are the USMNT out at a loss?

Here it gets more difficult. 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 with six points, Iran with three points and Wales and the USMNT with one point each.

The USMNT must beat Iran and then hope that Wales fails to 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 play the USMNT in the knockouts?

They play against one of the Group A teams, including hosts Qatarthe The Netherlands, Ecuadorand Senegal.

If the USMNT finishes second, their most likely opponent is the Netherlands. They lost four of their five games against 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 matches on Tuesday to decide progression. They have won five, drawn five and lost five to Ecuador, but have never played 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 game at the tournament was against the United Stateswho entered the competition in Belo Horizonte as huge underdogs.

However, a 38th-minute goal from USMNT striker Joe Gaetjens gave his side a famous victory and led to England’s elimination in the group stage.

England lost only once to the United States – a friendly in 1993 – but faced them again at the World Cup in 2010. Although Steven Gerrard gave England an early lead, a mistake by Rob Green saw Clint Dempsey equalise. The USMNT would go on to win the group.

The athletics Oli Kay has explored the rivalry in more detail here.

(Photo: Visionhaus/Getty Images)

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