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U.S. Set for Group B Brawl in World Cup. See Schedules, Stadiums and SoCal Players to Watch

Who will escape from Group B?

That’s one of the toughest questions to answer ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where the United States, England, Wales and Iran find themselves in what’s considered one of the 32-team tournament’s most competitive groups.

It also has some compelling storylines as favored England attempts to end a 56-year World Cup title drought and the United States returns to the competition after disappointment during qualifiers in 2018.

There is little room for error on the road out of Group B and on to the Round of 16. All four teams in Group B are ranked in the FIFA World top-20 entering the prestigious tournament that kicks off Nov. 20 when the host nation Qatar takes on Ecuador.

Here’s what to know about World Cup Group B.

Which team is the favorite in Group B?

England is a popular choice as the likeliest to emerge atop Group B, but the U.S., Wales and Iran are all capable of turning the group on its head. The top-two teams in each group advance to the knockout stages in the Round of 16.

Here’s where Group B’s competitors are ranked in the FIFA World standings entering the tournament.

  • England: 5th
  • USA: 16th
  • Wales: 19th
  • Iran: 20th

What is the Group B World Cup schedule?

All times are California time

Telemundo Deportes is the exclusive Spanish-language home of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Every match will stream live on Peacock in Spanish. Click here for the complete TV schedule.

Where will Group B matches be played?

Four stadiums will host Group B matches. They all have distinctive designs and provide dramatic settings for the competition, whether it’s night or day.

Khalifa International Stadium

Khalifa International Stadium is located in Al Rayyan and built in 1976. It underwent redevelopment for the World Cup, but kept its distinctive dual arches intact. A wide canopy covers the seating areas. A new tier added 10,450 seats, allowing the tournament capacity to reach 40,000.

Khalifa International Stadium is one of eight venues that will be hosting World Cup matches in Qatar.

Ahmed bin Ali Stadium

Located on the edge of the desert, Ahmed bin Ali Stadium features a striking exterior design meant to reflect the undulations of sand dunes with geometric patterned accents.

Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium is one of eight venues that will be hosting World Cup matches in Qatar.

Al Bayt Stadium

Al Bayt Stadium, with a capacity of 60,000, is located about 20 miles north of Doha. The destinctive design features a tent-like structure with an interior that features vibrant patterns.

Al Bayt Stadium is one of eight venues that will be hosting World Cup matches in Qatar.

Al Thumama Stadium

Al Thumama Stadium‘s circular design was inspired by the gahfiya, a woven cap worn by men and boys across the Middle East. It has a capacity of 40,000.

Al Thumama Stadium is one of eight venues that will be hosting World Cup matches in Qatar.

A brief history of Group B teams in the World Cup

There’s nothing brief about England’s history in the World Cup.

It is dominated by surges of hope and optimism that, in some gut-wrenching manner, disintegrate with a collapse and unforgettable exit. The country’s lone World Cup title was in 1966, but decades of frustration have followed, including the ‘Hand of God’ goal in 1986 and an infamous David Beckham red card, also against Argentina, in 1998. The most recent disappointment came in 2018 when Croatia prevailed in a 2-1 extra-time semifinal thriller.

Yet, England is the only team in Group B with a World Cup title.

Team USA’s tournament history dates to the first FIFA World cup competition in Uruguay in 1930. Notably, the semifinal appearance that year marked the nation’s best men’s World Cup finish. After crashing out in the group stage in 1950, Team USA endured a 40-year absence from the tournament before a run of seven straight appearances that ended in 2018.

Wales and Iran have a combined eight World Cup appearances, including this year’s tournament.

Here is a snapshot of each team’s history at the World Cup.

Note: Appearances include qualification for Qatar 2022.

Titles: 1966
Appearances: 16
Semifinals: 1990, 2018
Quarterfinals: 1954, 1962, 1970, 1986, 2002, 2006
Round of 16: 1998, 2010

Titles: 0
Appearances: 11
Semifinals: 1930
Quarterfinals: 2002
Round of 16: 1934, 1994, 2010, 2014

Titles: 0
Appearances: 2
Semifinals: 0
Quarterfinals: 1958
Round of 16: 0

Titles: 0
Appearances: 6
Semifinals: 0
Quarterfinals: 0
Round of 16: 0

Key players to watch in Group B

England: Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Pickford
USA: Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams
Wales: Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Ben Davies
Iran: Ehsan Hajsafi, Sardar Azmoun, Mehdi Taremi

Group B players with Southern California connections

Final rosters for the World Cup won’t be announced until November, but here are some of the national team names with California connections.

  • Gareth Bale, Wales: Plays for LAFC
  • Aaron Long, USA: Hometown is Oak Hills in San Bernardino County
  • Paul Arriola, USA: Hometown is Chula Vista
  • Cristian Roldan, USA: Hometown is Pico Rivera
  • Luca De La Torre, USA: Hometown is San Diego
  • Kellyn Acosta, USA: Plays for LAFC
  • Haji Wright, USA: Hometown is Los Angeles
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