Here are some quick hits about the foes the U.S. men’s national team will meet at the World Cup in Qatar next November.

USA’s All-Time Record against Group B Opponents and Potential Opponents:
England: 2-8-1 (9 GF, 39 GA)
IR Iran: 0-1-1 (2 GF, 3 GA
Ukraine: 0-3-1 (1 GF, 2 GA)
Scotland: 2-3-3 (8 GF, 14 GA)
Wales: 1-0-1 (2 GF, 0 GA)

Group B Opponent and Potential Opponent Profiles

ENGLAND

Current FIFA World Ranking: 5

FIFA Trigram: ENG

Language: English

Championship Honors: World Cup (1966)

USMNT Record vs. England: 2-8-1 (9 GF, 39 GA)

World Cup Finals Appearances: 16 – 1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018, 2022

World Cup Record: 29-19-21 (91 GF, 63 GA)

Best World Cup Finish: Champions, 1966

2022 World Cup Qualifying: Finished 1st in UEFA Group I (8-0-2; 39 GF, 3 GA)

Date Qualified: 11/15/2021

Leading World Cup Qualifying Scorer: Harry Kane (12)

Head Coach: Gareth Southgate (England)

Key Players: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City/ENG), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool/ENG), Kyle Walker (Manchester City/ENG), John Stones (Manchester City/ENG)

Fast Facts: U.S. is unbeaten versus England in two World Cup meetings, both in the group stage … The U.S. won 1-0 at Brazil 1950 and played to a 1-1 draw at South Africa 2010 … The last meeting between U.S. and England was a November 15, 2018 international friendly in London at which England won 3-0 … England was the highest scoring team in UEFA World Cup Qualifying with 39 goals … Forward Harry Kane tied Netherlands forward Memphis Depay for most goals scored in UEFA World Cup Qualifying with 12 … Former England international David Beckham won two MLS Cup titles with the Los Angeles Galaxy (2011, 2012) … Beckham is President and Owner of MLS franchise Inter Miami … Former goalkeeper Peter Shilton is England’s most capped player with 125 appearances … Current Nashville SC coach Gary Smith is the only Englishman to have won MLS Cup as a head coach (Colorado Rapids, 2010).

IRAN

Current FIFA World Ranking: 21

FIFA Trigram: IRN

Language: Persian

Championship Honors: AFC Asian Cup (1968, 1972, 1976)

USMNT Record vs. Iran: 0-1-1 (2 GF, 3 GA)

World Cup Finals Appearances: 6 – 1978, 1998, 2006, 2014, 2018, 2022

World Cup Record: 2-9-4 (9 GF, 24 GA)

Best World Cup Finish: 14th, 1978

2022 World Cup Qualifying: Finished 1st in AFC Third Round Group A (8-1-1; 15 GF, 4 GA); Finished 1st in AFC Second Round Group C (6-2-0; 34 GF, 4 GA)

Date Qualified: 1/27/2022
Leading World Cup Qualifying Scorer: Sardar Azmoun (10)

Head Coach: Dragan Skocic (Croatia)

Key Players: Sardar Azmoun (Bayer Leverkusen/GER), Karim Ansarifard (AEK Athens/GRE), Mehdi Taremi (Porto/POR), Alireza Jahanbakhsh (Feyenoord/NED), Ehsan Hajsafi (AEK Athens/GRE)

Fast Facts: The lone meeting with U.S. at a World Cup came in Group F at France 1998, a match Iran won 2-1 … Iran had the second-most goals in AFC World Cup Qualifying with 49 (Japan had 58) … Former Iran defender Andranik Eskandarian played in the NASL from 1978-84 with the New York Cosmos … Eskandarian’s son, Alecko, played with five different teams in MLS and made one appearance with the USMNT … Current Colorado Rapids defender Steven Beitashour appeared in six games with Iran from 2013-14 …. One of the largest recorded crowds in international football history was in 1997 at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium when a reported 128,000 spectators attended Iran’s 1998 World Cup playoff versus Australia … Former forward Ali Daei is Iran’s all-time scoring leader with 109 goals.

POTENTIAL GROUP B OPPONENTS PENDING UEFA PLAYOFF IN JUNE

WALES

Current FIFA World Ranking: 18
FIFA Trigram: WAL
Language: Welsh, English
Championship Honors: None
USMNT Record vs. Wales: 1-0-1 (2 GF, 0 GA)

World Cup Finals Appearances: 2 – 1958, 2022
World Cup Record: 1-1-3 (4 GF, 4 GA)
Best World Cup Finish: Sixth Place, 1958
2022 World Cup Qualifying: Finished 2nd in UEFA Group E (4-1-3; 14 GF, 9 GA); Defeated Austria in UEFA Playoff Path A Semifinal on March 24; Awaiting winner of Scotland/Ukraine in Path A Final to be played in June
Date Qualified: TBD

Leading World Cup Qualifying Scorer: Gareth Bale (5)

Head Coach: Rob Page (Wales) — Acting Manager

Key Players: Gareth Bale (Real Madrid/ESP), Aaron Ramsey (Rangers/SCO), Joe Allen (Stoke City/ENG), Chris Gunter (Charlton Athletic/ENG), Ben Davies (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG)

Fast Facts: The most recent meeting between the U.S. and Wales was a 0-0 match in an international friendly on November 12, 2020 in Swansea, Wales … Winger Gareth Bale is a four-time winner of the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid … Bale is also Wales’ all-time top scorer with 38 goals … Current defender Chris Gunter is Wales’ most capped player with 107 appearances … Wales’ best finish at a major tournament was a semifinal appearance at UEFA Euro 2016 … Wales’ only previous World Cup appearance came in 1958 and ended with a 1-0 quarterfinal loss to Brazil in which Brazilian legend Pele scored his first World Cup goal as a 17-year-old … Carl Robinson is the only Welsh head coach in MLS history, managing the Vancouver Whitecaps from 2014-18.

UKRAINE

Current FIFA World Ranking: 27

FIFA Trigram: UKR

Language: Ukrainian

Championship Honors: None
USMNT Record vs. Ukraine: 0-3-1 (1 GF, 5 GA)

World Cup Finals Appearances: 2 – 2006, 2022

World Cup Record: 2-2-1 (5 GF, 7 GA)

Best World Cup Finish: Eighth Place, 2006
2022 World Cup Qualifying: Finished 2nd in UEFA Group D (2-0-6; 11 GF, 8 GA); Awaiting UEFA Playoff Path A semifinal match against Scotland in June; Winner advances to face Wales in Path A Final

Date Qualified: TBD

Leading World Cup Qualifying Scorer: Roman Yaremchuk (3)

Head Coach: Oleksandr Petrakov (Ukraine)

Key Players: Roman Yaremchuk (Benfica/POR), Oleksandr Zinchenko (Manchester City/ENG), Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar Donetsk/UKR), Andriy Yarmolenko (West Ham United/ENG), Taras Stepanenko (Shakhtar Donetsk/UKR)

Fast Facts: The most recent meeting between the U.S. and Ukraine was an international friendly on March 5, 2014 in Larnaca, Cyprus at which Ukraine won 2-0 … Former midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk is Ukraine’s most capped player with 144 appearances … Legendary striker Andriy Shevchenko is Ukraine’s all-time top scorer with 48 goals … Ukraine’s highest FIFA Ranking was 11th, attained in February of 2007 … Midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko is teammates with U.S. goalkeeper Zack Steffen at English club Manchester City … Dema Kovalenko was the last Ukraine national to play in MLS … He played with the Chicago Fire, DC United, New York Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake and Los Angeles Galaxy from 1999-2010 … In its first and only World Cup at Germany 2006, Ukraine reached the quarterfinals, losing 3-0 to eventual champions Italy.

SCOTLAND

Current FIFA World Ranking: 39

FIFA Trigram: SCO

Language: English

Championship Honors: None

USMNT Record vs. Scotland: 2-3-3 (8 GF, 14 GA)

World Cup Finals Appearances: 9 – 1954, 1958, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1998, 2022

World Cup Record: 4-12-7 (25 GF, 41 GA)

Best World Cup Finish: Ninth Place, 1974

2022 World Cup Qualifying: Finished 2nd in UEFA Group F (7-1-2; 17 GF, 7 GA); Awaiting UEFA Playoff Path A semifinal match against Ukraine in June; Winner advances to face Wales in Path A Final

Date Qualified: 3/29/2022

Leading World Cup Qualifying Scorer: Lyndon Dykes, John McGinn (4)

Head Coach: Steve Clarke (Scotland)

Key Players: John McGinn (Aston Villa/ENG), Che Adams (Southampton/ENG), Andrew Robertson (Liverpool/ENG), Kieran Tierney (Arsenal/ENG), Lyndon Dykes (Queens Park Rangers/ENG)

Fast Facts: The U.S. is unbeaten in its last five matches against Scotland, all international friendlies … The most recent meeting came on November 15, 2013, in a 0-0 draw at Hampden Park in Glasgow … Scotland took part in the first official international soccer match, against England in 1872 … Kenny Dalglish is Scotland’s all-time caps leader with 102 appearances … He is also Scotland’s all-time joint-top scorer with 30 goals, along with Denis Law … Notable former U.S. internationals who have played for Scotland’s most decorated club, Rangers, include Claudio Reyna, DaMarcus Beasley, Maurice Edu and Carlos Bocanegra … U.S. defender and 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup champion James Sands plays at Scottish club Rangers … Scottish coach Steve Nicol led the New England Revolution to MLS Cup Finals in 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

 

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Guardian.com. Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of BigAppleSoccer.com. He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at Amazon.com.