United States World Cup Action; a talented team vs. a tough group
World cup action kicks off today for the United States Men's National Soccer Team. And despite this being the most talented group of players ever assembled by the United States, a tough draw puts them in a less than ideal group stage for qualifying.
Today the USMNT takes on Wales at 1pm on Fox (11/21). I will be doing my best to tune and watch, as I said, a group of extremely talented professionals that play across different leagues, in different countries, and is full of league champions. And despite the fact that our group also contains England (who just ran away 6 to 2 winners over Iran) our team has a great shot to advance, but it will not be easy. Tune in for our match-up against England on Friday 11/25 at 1pm on Fox, and then our final group stage match against Iran on Tuesday 11/29 at 1pm on Fox (this game could decide if we advance or not depending on group scores). Scoring for each Group is as follows; each win is worth 3 points and a tie is worth 1. Each team will play the other 3 teams with the top 2 point-getters moving on to the actual tournament where the rules are simple; it's one-and-done, so make sure you win!
Which brings me to our team and the tournament in general. Firstly, for the tournament, there's no beer in the stadiums. None. Zip. Zero. Zilch. FIFA has stated;
"Following discussions between host country authorities and FIFA, a decision has been made to focus the sale of alcoholic beverages on the FIFA Fan Festival, other fan destinations and licensed venues, removing the sales points of beer from Qatar's FIFA World Cup 2022 stadium perimeters."
I'm fine with this. The nation hosting has religious reasons for controlling the sale of alcohol and so it has made its own demands. Fans can still find beer at the designated fan zones throughout Qatar, just not in the stadium during the game.
Secondly, our team is truly stacked when you look at its achievements in comparison to past teams. Head Coach Greg Berhalter leads our team of plucky-underdog, never-say-die attitudes, which has now been tempered with technical skill and football knowledge. Recently, we've seen many members of the United States take prominent roles in world-wide soccer brands like; Chelsea Football Club (US Captain, Christian Pulisic), AC Milan (Sergiño Dest), Juventus (Weston McKennie), Norwich City (Josh Sargent), Borussia Dortmund (Giovanni Reyna), Seattle Sounders FC (Jordan Morris), and many others. Our countries players have aspired to greatness across several leagues.
Christian Pulisic, 24, has already had an amazing career at club level and hopes to continue in that vein for the national team. So far he's won these awards;
- FA Cup runner-up 2019–2020
- DFB-Pokal 2016–2017
- CONCACAF Under-17 Championship third-place 2015
- CONCACAF Gold Cup runner-up 2019
- 2016’s U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year
- Kopa Trophy- 2nd place 2018
- CONCACAF Gold Cup Best XI 2019
- UEFA Champions League Breakthrough XI 2016
- CONCACAF Best XI 2017
- 2x U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year
- CONCACAF Gold Cup Best Young Player Award 2019
- Champions League Winner (Chelsea 20-21)
- Club World Cup Winner (Chelsea 21-22)
At 24 years of age he crushing it and gives our Amercian team the cutting edge it needs in the attack. Add in Weston Mckennie, Josh Sargent, Jordan Morris, and Sergiño Dest, and you have a combination of high-level tested athletes with the technical skill, speed, and physical nuance to compete with elite tier teams in this world cup.
Tune in today at 1pm to cheer on your United States Men's National Team against Wales. Starting off with a big win here would put us in prime position to push favored England for the 1st place spot in the group stage. It would also put us in a much better seating position when the tournament draw happens, post group-stage.