USA’s chances of reaching round of 16 greatly increase


The U.S. men’s national team gave away a golden opportunity to get three points in the group stage in Monday’s 1-1 tie against Wales. After a stunning 2-0 Iran victory over Wales on Friday, the U.S. is in a great position to reach the round of 16.

England and Iran both have three points (ahead of the U.S.-England game set for 2:00 p.m. EST Friday) but thanks to England’s blowout 6-2 victory on Monday, the team has a secure lead atop the group standings.

Even with a loss to England on Friday, the U.S. appears to be in good shape for a run to the round of 16. Iran entered the tournament ranked 20th internationally per FIFA, and the U.S. will be favored in that match, per Oddschecker. In the hypothetical scenario where the U.S. loses on Friday, a win over Iran should be enough for the American team to advance.

England and Wales play on Tuesday, Nov. 29. After losing to Iran, it will be a surprise if Wales is able to pull off the victory. If Wales does pull off the upset — and the U.S. beats Iran — it will come down to goal differential between the U.S. and Wales. With Wales at minus-two, as long as the U.S. is able to keep its game against England respectable, that tiebreaker should work out in the U.S.’s favor.

The U.S.-Iran match will likely be for a spot in the round of 16. An Iran victory guarantees its advancement while the U.S. will need a little bit of an assist to reach the next stage. After today’s huge match against England, the stage is set for an even bigger match on Tuesday.

The U.S. let an opportunity pass in blowing a late 1-0 lead to Wales. Second chances don’t come often, and the Americans were given one early Friday. 

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