With the 2022 Qatar World Cup just five weeks away, people are starting to get excited for a month-long celebration of the beautiful game.
The USA will be there after missing out in 2018, and will be looking to get out of the group stage and into the knockout rounds. The American team will open up play on Monday, November 21 at 2 p.m. EST against a tough Wales team, and the result of that game could put lots of pressure on the second match: a date with England on November 25.
Former US National Team goalkeeper Brad Friedel was musing about the team this week, and is excited to see what the future brings for the squad.
“You qualify, and you kind of forget about it: obviously, not fully,” Friedel said this week to onlinecasino.ca. “But then the draw comes out and you think about it a little bit because you know who you are playing. Then, You don’t think about it until you get called in.
“The difference between this World Cup and others is that we would have had a mini preseason with the national team before a World Cup. We would go away a little more secluded and have at least two weeks of training, and sometimes three, and have some farewell matches before we left. Then, we would have another week. This one is completely different. For the guys in Europe, you fly in, and a few days later, you are playing a World Cup game. There is no real preseason. If I was playing in Europe, and got called in, I probably wouldn’t get excited about it until I got on the plane to Qatar.
As a keeper, Friedel was always trying to get his back four and defensive midfielders settled to try to keep the game manageable. He thinks that is probably still more important heading into the World Cup for the Americans, as they try to navigate a tricky Group B schedule.
“We have some players with the national team that are really important,” Friedel said.” I think in any game, if you can control the midfield, you are 60 percent of the way there. So, first and foremost, whatever midfield group Gregg uses is really important to control a game.
“Then, you have to see who you are playing against, so with Wales and England, no matter who plays, are you necessarily going to control the midfield? You have to think about that, so then what becomes more important? So for Wales, are they better attacking or defensively, and I think you have to put your teams out accordingly. We have some match winners in our side: Christian Pulisic of course. The last friendly matches didn’t go so well defensively. The two center backs did not look comfortable in either of the games. Matt Turner, although he is not getting a game at Arsenal, looked good, so that will be pleasing to Gregg.
“You can’t give teams like England and Wales lots of opportunities to score, because they will. So I think, right now, it is pretty important to shore up the two center backs. That is probably a bit more important now than worrying about the attacking players.
The USA will take on Wales on Group B Match Day 1, and then get a slumping England team on November 25 with a chance to either qualify (with a second win), stay alive (three or four points, and MAYBE one), or be eliminated (two losses, depending on what Wales does against Iran). Friedel is confident that the Americans can get some points.
Can they compete with them? Yes, we can compete with them,” Friedel said of the England team that went to the EURO 2020 final last summer. “Is England going to continue to struggle to score goals like they have recently? No. The English players are good. Harry Kane does not stay off the scoresheet for long. I wouldn’t take any confidence into a game based on England’s results against other opponents. I think you have to go out and earn the right to beat England, and a lot of things have to go well for you in the game in order to do it.
“Can we compete with them though? Absolutely we can, and Wales.”
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