FIFA World Cup draw groups USMNT with England

Based on FIFA’s rankings, the No. 15 United States will join No. 5 England, a 2018 semifinalist, as the favorites to advance to the round of the 16 in the 32-country competition, Nov. 21-Dec. 18. The teams played to a 1-1 draw in the 2010 group stage in South Africa.

This meeting will fall the day after Thanksgiving at a venue and time to be determined.

“The US is an intriguing one,” English Manager Gareth Southgate told the BBC. “I know [U.S. Coach] Gregg Berhalter quite well. We’ve met a few times and had long chats about things, in fact, only a couple of weeks ago. We were smiling at the end there” of the draw.

Southgate said the US team has “some very good players and we know what they could be capable of as a nation.”

Many US players have strong ties to English soccer: Starters Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Zack Steffen (Manchester City) and British-born Antonee Robinson (Fulham) play for English clubs, as do several others in the US player pool.

Forward Gio Reyna, who plays in Germany, was born in England when his father, former US captain Claudio Reyna, was employed by Sunderland. Midfielder Yunus Musah lived in London from age 9 until 16 and represented England’s youth national teams before committing to the US program last year.

Iran, which is ranked No. 21, has never advanced out of the group stage. In Asian qualifying’s group play, the Iranians finished first with an 8-1-1 record.

The United States and Iran met in the 1998 World Cup group stage in France, with Iran winning, 2-1.

The unknown factor is the third US opponent. Wales, ranked No. 18, has not qualified for the World Cup since 1958. Ukraine (No. 27) was a 2006 quarterfinalist and Scotland (No. 39) is seeking its first berth since 1998.

The United States clinched its 11th all-time berth Wednesday, finishing third in the Concacaf region despite a 2-0 defeat in Costa Rica. Canada and Mexico also advanced, while Costa Rica will enter a playoff against New Zealand this summer.

The tournament will open in late November with Qatar making its World Cup debut against Ecuador.

Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands.

Group B: England, Iran, United States, playoff winner***.

Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland.

Group D: France, playoff winner*, Denmark, Tunisia.

Group: Spain, playoff winner**, Germany, Japan.

Group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Croatia.

Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon.

Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea.

*Australia, United Arab Emirates or Peru

**Costa Rica or New Zealand

***Wales, Scotland or Ukraine

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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