Countdown to Qatar: USA | News | Official Site – Chelsea FC

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We cross the Atlantic for the next of our country-by-country World Cup previews looking at the teams featuring Chelsea players, with the USA returning in 2022 after missing the last tournament four years ago…
The USA go into the FIFA World Cup 2022 as something of a wild card, after their initial momentum under manager Gregg Berhalter stalled slightly in recent months, but there are still high hopes for the young new generation of American players.
Berhalter took charge after the USA surprisingly failed to qualify for the last World Cup, and set about rebuilding confidence in impressive style at regional level. Their triumphs in the 2020 CONCACAF Nations League and the following year’s Gold Cup, both with victories over fierce rivals Mexico in the final, brought belief back to the team and their fans.

A difficult start to World Cup qualifying threatened to halt that momentum, but a good run of home form brought back cautious optimism in 2022, with hopes of a strong showing in Qatar ahead of hosting the next tournament alongside neighbours Canada and Mexico.
Christian Pulisic remains a talisman for the highly-rated ‘golden generation’ preparing for their first World Cup with the US national team, having become a senior figure and amassing 21 goals in 52 caps ahead of this tournament, despite still only being 24 years old.
The Chelsea winger has played an important role in the USA’s resurgence under Berhalter, captaining the side to victory in the Nations League two years ago, as well as scoring the decisive goal from the penalty spot in the 3-2 extra-time win over Mexico in the final.
He also scored his first international hat-trick while wearing the armband in the 5-1 home win over Panama which effectively booked their place in Qatar for the upcoming World Cup.

Berhalter has been building a team around a talented generation of young players, who have emerged at European clubs in recent years and know each other well after rising through the USA youth ranks together, reflected in the country’s second-youngest World Cup squad ever.
That has also resulted in a strong overseas presence – 17 of the players selected compete on this side of the Atlantic at club level – while DeAndre Yedlin is the only member of the squad with any World Cup experience, as the lone survivor from their 2014 campaign.
Goalkeepers: Ethan Horvath (Luton Town, loan from Nottingham Forest), Sean Johnson (New York City), Matt Turner (Arsenal)
Defenders: Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic), Sergino Dest (AC Milan, loan from Barcelona), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Shaquell Moore (Nashville), Tim Ream (Fulham), Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Joe Scally (Borussia Monchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville)
Midfielders: Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United), Kellyn Acosta (Los Angeles), Tyler Adams (Leeds United), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders)
Forwards: Jesus Ferreira (Dallas), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Josh Sargent (Norwich City), Tim Weah (Lille), Haji Wright (Antalyaspor)
Group B has the highest average FIFA ranking of any group at this World Cup. The USA will face Wales for the first time in competitive action, but have notable history with their other opponents. As well as some familiar faces for Pulisic among the England squad, it is a fixture against a team the USA have done well against in the past, producing a shock win in the 1950 World Cup and securing a 1-1 draw to top their group in 2010.

However, many eyes will already be on the Americans’ potentially decisive final group game against Iran, a repeat of one of the most iconic matches in World Cup history. The two sides met in France in 1998 amidst heightened political tensions between the two countries, but the players shared a message of peace before kick-off by exchanging white roses and posing together for the pre-match team photos.
United States v Wales, Al Rayyan, 21 November, 7pm
England v United States, Al Khor, 25 November, 7pm
Iran v United States, Doha, 29 November, 7pm
Pulisic impressed during qualifying, with his five goals making him the CONCACAF competition’s second-highest scorer and earning a place in the Best XI. However, for the USA, it wasn’t the smooth journey to Qatar they had hoped for.

They opened their campaign with back-to-back draws, including a disappointing goalless first match against El Salvador, but recovered well by winning all their remaining home games, including a crucial victory over Mexico.
A 5-1 thrashing of Panama in the USA’s penultimate match left them needing only to avoid defeat by six or more goals in their final game against Costa Rica, with the eventual 2-0 loss enough to end ahead of their opponents in the last automatic qualification spot on goal difference.
The USA’s best World Cup run is still their debut, being officially credited by FIFA with a third-place finish at the first-ever tournament in 1930, when they topped a group featuring Paraguay and Belgium to reach the semis, although the destination of the bronze was strongly disputed by fellow semi-finalists Yugoslavia for many years.

However, they only qualified for the World Cup twice in the next 60 years and won just one match in the tournament before hosting it on home soil in 1994, when they reached the knock-out stages for the first time since 1934.
The Americans have been a regular feature at World Cups in the modern era, though, with their failure to qualify last time out in 2018 their first absence since 1986. The highlight of that run was in 2002, when victories over Portugal and Mexico took them to the quarter-finals before a narrow 1-0 loss to Germany. Their last appearance, in 2014, saw them reach the knock-out stages in consecutive World Cups for the first time since the 1930s.


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