World Cup Group B guide: England, Wales, USA and Iran go head-to-head in a competitive group

World Cup 2022 team-by-team guide

England

Manager: Gareth Southgate.

World Cup history: 16th appearance. Best result – Winner in 1966.

England head into the World Cup under a bit of a cloud, having been relegated from Nations League Group A and having failed to win a game since March. Nevertheless, a demanding nation expects a serious challenge. A talented English squad should make at least the quarter-finals after a generous draw, but big-name players must step up if they are to achieve anything more meaningful.

Star man: Harry Kane: The Tottenham forward has started the Premier League season strongly and was a big reason for England’s good results in the last two major tournaments.

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Iran

Manager: Carlos Queiroz.

World Cup history: Sixth appearance. Best result – Group Stage (every time).

The veteran Portuguese manager Carlos Queiroz is back for a second stint at Iran, which means we can expect Iran to be defensive and hard to beat. Political concerns threaten to overshadow their involvement in Qatar amid a domestic backdrop of protests and turmoil.

Star man: Sardar Azmoun. The forward scored 10 goals in qualifying and has an impressive 41 goals in 65 games for his country. Played most of his career in Russia before signing for Bayer Leverkusen.

Wales

Manager: Rob Page

World Cup history: Second appearance. Best result – Quarter-finals in 1958

Wales’s first appearance at a World Cup in 64 years comes towards the tail end of a golden generation that has seen them reach the semi-finals of Euro 2016. Another nation reliant on one man in Gareth Bale, a relatively tame group will give them hope of a last 16 place.

Star man: Gareth Bale. The former Real Madrid forward is in the twilight of his career but can still provide moments of magic, as shown by helping Los Angeles FC to the MLS Cup with a last-minute equaliser in the final.

USA

Manager: Gregg Berhalter

World Cup history: 11th appearance. Best result – Third place in 1930

The United States are back in the World Cup after missing out in 2018. Their results in 2022 have been nothing to write home about but their squad includes a smattering of players at elite European clubs such as Weston McKennie, Giovani Reyna and Christian Pulisic.

Star man: Christian Pulisic. In and out of the Chelsea first team, Pulisic has hardly been a roaring success since signing for £58 million in 2019. The winger is still a threat on his day and at 24 will be looking to lead USA in his first World Cup.

David Gorman

David Gorman

David Gorman is a sports journalist with The Irish Times