The 2022 United States of America national soccer team that qualified for the World Cup in Qatar is one of the best in the country’s history. The team is extremely young, having moved on from the players who had brought the USA out of the group stage in the 2010 and 2014 World Cup odds. FIFA ranks the USA as one of the 14 best teams as of June. They have been placed in Group B with England, Wales, and Iran, and are the second highest-ranked team in the group.
1. Christian Pulisic
Christain Pulisic might be one of the most talented players to play for the USMNT At 23, he has scored 21 goals for the USA, breaking multiple records for the team. He was the youngest player to appear in a World Cup Qualification game, the youngest to score for the USA, and the youngest to score in a World Cup soccer 2022 Qualification game (scoring two goals), all happening in 2016. At 20, Pulisic was the youngest player to captain the team and has been the leader of the team and the spearhead of a youth movement. He could climb so quickly up the national team ranks because of how well he played in Europe, giving him the skill and opportunity to succeed nationally. He has played for two of the biggest clubs in Europe, Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, and Chelsea in the Premier League. He became the youngest non-German to score in the Bundesliga and the first American to appear in a Champions League Final.
2. Young Talent All Over
After the humiliation of not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, the USA team went through a massive overhaul. That team was headlined by 30-year-old players who played in Major League Soccer, and relied heavily on Pulisic to be the only source of offense. Now the team features players who are mainly under the age of 25, while most of the players play for teams in top-tier clubs in Europe. Pulisic is the leader of the youth movement, but he is far from being the only one. Weston McKennie, Sergino Dest, and Gio Reyna are the best players on the team. Each is a regular starter on four of the top teams in Europe, in order Juventus, Barcelona, and Borussia Dortmund, playing key roles in the Champions League. Other players like Timothy Weah, Yunus Musah, Brenden Aaronson, and Tyler Adams have also been contributors to top teams in Europe, but not as much of an impact as the other four, that includes Pulisic.
3. Recent Success in Competitions
The most prominent national team competitions held in North America are the Gold Cup and the CONCACAF Nations League, and the USA has won them both recently. In both finals, the USA beat Mexico in extra time, defeating Mexico in the Nations League 3-2 and 1-0 in the Gold Cup. Mexico and the USA have become one of the biggest rivals in North American soccer, and winning two competitions with a youth-driven team is important. A team that doesn’t have many international caps together can benefit from early success to gain experience for the 2022 World Cup.
4. Thanksgiving Day Match With England
The biggest competition within Group B for the USA is England. Wales comes in ranked at 19 but is a top-heavy team that is older, led by Gareth Bale. Wales barely made it through the qualification playoffs. Iran is the best-ranked team in Asia at 23 and has a chance to make a game with the USA exciting. However, England is ranked five by FIFA and has been one of the best national teams recently. This has been nicknamed the second golden generation of English soccer, and a fourth-place finish in the last World Cup and a runner-up spot in Euro 2020 proves that. On the other hand, England has been often criticized for overlooking teams, which they can do to the USA, which is inexperienced and has been a historically bad soccer county.
5. Scary Qualification Tournament
Again, the road to qualification was rough due to the USA team being so young. They sealed the final spot in automatic qualifications by placing third, tied for the second-most points in the competition with 25 points. They ended with a record of 7-4-3, with the second-best goal difference at 11. The USA also scored the second-most goals in the competition with 21 but allowed the most goals by all four teams from CONCACAF that have qualified, with 10. The USA did not start their best 11 in some of the losses, but it still does not look positive, with the team almost being eliminated from the World Cup for the second straight time. The offense is the team’s headline. However, due to the team’s youth, they often make defensive errors, which can be an issue when facing better teams. In the World Cup, their offense will be something exciting to watch, while the defense will give a team an opening in just about every game.