2022 World Cup expert picks, odds for Friday’s matches including England-USA


The first day of the second round of group matches kicks off on Friday with England and the United States returning to the field. The Americans will look to pull off an upset after drawing Wales in the opener.

That game is the late start on Friday. Before that Wales and Iran face off in Group B action. Plus, the hosts take on Senegal and the Netherlands goes up against Ecuador in Group A.

Wales vs. Iran

Wales (0-1-0, 1 point), Iran (0-0-1, 0 points)

Kickoff time: 5 a.m. ET/10 a.m. GMT

Venue: Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan

Both of these teams put out dreadful first half performances in their openers, but showed more in the second half. Getting a result, and likely a win, is a must for both sides.

Iran was completely outclassed by England in a 6-2 defeat, trailing 3-0 by halftime. The Iranians did score a pair of goals in the second half, which will give them something positive to take into this one.

Meanwhile, Wales was thoroughly dominated by the United States for 45 minutes, but flipped it around in the second half to come away with a 1-1 draw. Kieffer Moore, a 6-foot-5 striker, changed the game for his team and put Wales in a decent position to advance. Will Moore feature from the start against an Iran side that didn’t show much defensively in its first match?

Wales is favored in this one, but not significantly. After drawing in the opener and with England firmly at the top of the group after a match, goal differential could be something Wales target if it gets in front.

Both teams started out defensively in the opening matches. Wales is more likely to be pushing forward in this one, but both teams are more likely to play more open than they did on Monday.

Iran would be eliminated with a loss.

Expert picks

Qatar vs. Senegal

Qatar (0-0-1, 0 points), Senegal (0-0-1, 0 points)

Kickoff time: 8 a.m. ET/1 p.m. GMT

Venue: Al Thumama Stadium, Doha

Both Senegal and Qatar lost their opening matches, but Senegal was the far more impressive side. The African champions pushed the Netherlands to the end of the match while Qatar was a mess from the start.

Senegal is without Sadio Mane and his ability near goal was missed against the Dutch, but Senegal showed quality. The match was scoreless 80 minutes in and the run of play was largely even. That bodes well for Senegal given how poor Qatar looked against Ecuador.

Qatar became the first host nation to lose its opening match and the score could have been worse than 2-0. Can the Qataris look respectable in this one? Senegal is a heavy favorite and might be thinking of putting up a big number to boost its goal differential, but playing against a defensive-minded opponent will be very different from what the Africans saw on Monday.

Expert picks

Netherlands vs. Ecuador

Netherlands (1-0-0, 3 points), Ecuador (1-0-0, 3 points)

Kickoff time: 11 a.m. ET/4 p.m. GMT

Venue: Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan

This is the only match of the day featuring two teams which won their opening matches. The Netherlands was the group favorite before the tournament and a 2-0 win against Senegal wasn’t always pretty, but the result was.

The Dutch were outplayed by Senegal for stretches of that match, but eventually showed enough quality to get a win. Can Ecuador push the Dutch in the same way? This match will show if the Netherlands has legitimate questions about its team or if Senegal’s quality was for real.

Ecuador may be feeling like it is playing with house money after getting a win and seeing Senegal lose to the Dutch. Any result in this match will mean the South Americans would only need a draw against Senegal in the finale to advance.

Expert picks

England vs. USA

England (1-0-0, 3 points), USA (0-1-0, 1 point)

Kickoff time: 2 p.m. ET/7 p.m. GMT

Venue: Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor

England’s World Cup debut was about as good as it gets on the attacking side. Six goals, plenty of chances and an easy victory against Iran. The defensive side is a bit questionable after giving up two goals, but those were after the result was already clearly decided.

These two sides have met twice in the World Cup before and the English didn’t win either one. In 1950 the U.S. won 1-0 and in 2010 it was a 1-1 draw. The Americans would be thrilled to get either result again, but that is not expected. The Three Lions are the biggest favorite of the day. England is also a massive favorite (-650) to win the group after the first pair of matches went perfectly from their perspective.

The English came in with plenty of questions based around recent matches. Iran isn’t the level of opponent that will determine how successful this World Cup is for England, but scoring six goals is always good for confidence.

The U.S. may be feeling down after letting a lead slip against Wales in the opening match, but are still slightly favored to advance ahead of Wales (-125 for the US to advance; +120 for Wales). There’s a clear path for the U.S. to advance even if it loses this match. If England ends up running away with the group, goal differential will be crucial. After being on the front foot against Wales, the U.S. is likely to be set up for the counter in this one.

England can clinch a spot in the knockout round with a victory, regardless of what happens in the Wales-Iran match.

Another thing to watch: Four Americans picked up yellow cards against Wales (Tim Ream, Sergino Dest, Kellyn Acosta, Weston McKennie). If any of those players pick up a yellow against England, they will be suspended for the finale against Iran.

Expert picks

More from the 2022 World Cup

Harry Kane’s ankle injuries – just how worried should England be?

USMNT World Cup foe England looms large in the American soccer psyche

Does losing a game mean you’re out of the World Cup? Group stage defeats explained

(Photo of Tyler Adams: Danielle Parhizkaran / USA Today)


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