Study points ahead of tonight’s U.S. World Cup qualifier

2 Comments

TAMPA, Fla. – Anything other than a resounding win tonight against tiny Antigua and Barbuda would be fodder for fan angst – but a win by any margin will do in the technical sense as Jurgen Klinsmann gets his first taste of World Cup qualifying as U.S. manager.

Clint Dempsey is not yet at full speed. Landon Donovan hasn’t been at full rev most of this year, a fine night against Scotland as the exception. Michael Bradley has been cleaning up, ensconcing himself as perhaps the most important U.S. man this side of Tim Howard.

We’ll see it all come together at 7 p.m. on ESPN. What else to consider:

  • Style points do not count; there are no voters around to impress

So says U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra (pictured). Yes, the United States will be expected to win by multiple goals. And if the Americans sneak away with a 1-0 or 2-0 win, flags of concerns will rise across U.S. fandom and the chattering class. But no matter, says Bocanegra, who figures the need for plentiful goals serves only the bottom line.

“We need to hopefully go out there and get some early goals on them and take some pressure off ourselves,” he said. “So we need to be impressive right from the first whistle. Doesn’t matter how we win, or what the score is, we just need to come away with a win.”

  • The left back situation

We’ve gone over that one, here (about the situation) and here (about the options). My best starting XI guess: We’ll see Geoff Cameron tonight for injured starter Fabian Johnson and injured backup Edgar Castillo.

FYI: I’m hearing that Johnson has a better chance of playing Tuesday than Castillo.

  • The Klinsmann factor

Two things to know here: First, the U.S. boss isn’t just new to coaching in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, he’s new to World Cup qualifying, period. Remember, Germany didn’t go through the qualifying paces with Klinsmann in charge for World Cup 2006; as hosts, they were awarded the berth. So there’s that.

Does it matter? Surely not, because Klinsmann was clearly front-and-center in those Germans bids to grab World Cup spots as a player.

The other thing to discuss his tactical style, about his desire for United States that plays higher up the field, applies more pressure and generally is more of a regional bully that can impose itself. It’s a style suited for games like tonight’s.

Teams under previous manager Bob Bradley were all about organization and possession, not necessarily about taking the fight to the enemy. It was a style suited to manufacture upsets against higher-quality nations, or to carefully manage matches against equals. But his teams, lacking that extra gear of forward drive, sometimes struggled to break down weaker teams.

Klinsmann’s way should be better at it. We’ll know more in a few hours.

We will, that is, unless …

  • The wet weather factor

Bocanegra said the United States has an edge on a wet field, where the ball moves quicker. He’s surely correct.

But there’s a point where “wet and slick” becomes “water-logged and bogged down.” That benefits the lesser side, the visitors in this case. Rain here in Tampa. Yep. On and off through the day. With more perhaps en route.

By the way, the field at Raymond James, where about 20,000 seats had been sold as of yesterday, is 116 yards by 74 yards. Whereas the fields were tighter for last week’s friendlies in Florida and Maryland, U.S. Soccer officials made sure this one was properly wide.

  • Who starts at striker?

Best guess, Herculez Gomez. Or perhaps Terrence Boyd.

Coming into this camp I (and everyone else) assumed it would be Jozy Altidore, coming off that breakout season in Holland. But listening to everything Klinsmann is saying here, I don’t see that now.  He keeps talking up Gomez and Boyd and the razor-wire edge and effort they bring every day to training. (And there has been lots and lots of training, two sessions on most days since the team arrive more than two weeks ago.)

Altidore? Klinsmann says those three weeks off hurt the 23-year-old Alkmaar man desperately.

I’ll have just a little more on this one later this afternoon.

How can Gregg Berhalter unlock the goals for USMNT vs Iran?

0 Comments

The United States men’s national team has to score more goals than Iran to reach the World Cup knockout rounds.

Isn’t that just the perfect test for the Gregg Berhalter era of the program?

The USMNT has kept eight clean sheets in 14 matches this year, including Friday’s 0-0 with England and a September friendly draw with Saudi Arabia.

The quality of those clean sheets is strong, especially given the Saudis performances in Qatar, but it’s the other side where Gregg Berhalter has to find answers.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

And the Yanks can’t count on one goal being enough, what with Iran scoring twice against England and twice again in its win over Wales.

And while Team Melli did allow six goals to England and two to Tunisia and Algeria, they’ve also held Senegal to a 1-1 draw and blanked Uruguay. Carlos Queiroz’s men certainly won’t be any more worried about the Yanks than they were any of those previous tests.

So how can Gregg Berhalter unlock the USMNT’s offensive capabilities, bringing the side that scored thrice versus Morocco — Brenden Aaronson, Tim Weah, Haji Wright — and delivered the same amount of goals in a memorable 3-2 win over Mexico in the CONCACAF Nations League Final?

We have some ideas.

Let it Reyna

There’s been tons of pressure on Gregg Berhalter regarding the playing time of Giovanni Reyna, the 20-year-old Borussia Dortmund starlet who has been injured for much of his recent tenure with the USMNT.

Reyna went unused against Wales and played just seven minutes against England, and Berhalter hasn’t used the youngster more than 45 minutes in six appearances this year.

Reyna played an hour or more in his first seven caps, scoring against Panama and Northern Ireland before getting a goal and an assist in that CNL Final match versus Mexico.

While fitness has limited his minutes, not appearances, for Dortmund over the past month, Reyna does have two goals and both came in matches where he went over an hour.

Berhalter, however, has often made the more popular choice once the lights get brightest and there will be no time brighter for his tenure if they fail to beat Iran.

Look to England (and Morocco)

Carlos Queiroz has only been at the Iranian wheel for a half-dozen matches and he’s barely used the 4-1-4-1 that the side made a staple of its World Cup qualifying run.

A 5-4-1 against England saw the Three Lions put up six goals while a 4-4-2 with two holding midfielders helped beat Wales 2-0, as Queiroz has made it difficult to predict his plan for a given game.

So it becomes imperative that Berhalter put his best foot forward and take the game to Iran.

England’s attack-minded 4-3-3 was too much for Iran and the Yanks will hope for the same. And maybe Berhalter will look to that last offensive outburst against a decent side, the 3-0 defeat of Morrocco that saw Christian Pulisic set up two goals.

That night saw Berhalter use Tyler Adams, Yunus Musah, and Brenden Aaronson in midfield and Christian Pulisic, Jesus Ferreira, and Tim Weah atop the attack. The Yanks scored twice in the first half through Aaronson and Weah, then Pulisic won a second-half penalty that sub Haji Wright deposited for a 3-0 that was deserved but closer than the score line.

McKennie and Luca de la Torre were subs after the hour mark and it would be a risk not to play the former from the opening whistle. It’s easy to guess that Berhalter’s plan was always to use a different center forward in each group stage match, but did Haji Wright or Josh Sargent do enough in the first two games to change his mind?

Move Timmy to the tippy top

Tim Weah’s got the lone goal of the tournament and it came through the middle as Pulisic spotted the Lille man driving into the box and Weah snapped the ball past the oncoming keeper.

While Weah likes being out wide and is even more of a midfielder for Lille, putting him at center forward allows Berhalter to use Giovanni Reyna or Brenden Aaronson on the opposite wing of Pulisic.

And he could even play both Reyna and Aaronson if he shortens McKennie’s time for fitness reasons, slotting Reyna atop Adams and Musah.

Do nothing different, expect young team to grow

This one sounds sillier than it is in practice.

Berhalter made just one change between Wales and England, and the difference was muted between the first halves and miles better in the second segments.

The coach may feel that the team learned from its early second-half woes versus Wales given the complete performance against England. And he’s already changed his mind on unit rotation from his World Cup qualifying claims that rotation was good because he’d have to do it at the World Cup.

When all’s said and done, Berhalter wouldn’t be crazy to think this same team playing the same way in the first half would finally get that early goal they’ve earned over two very decent first-45 performances at this tournament.

France vs Denmark, live! Score, updates, stream link, lineups, video highlights

0 Comments

France looks to seal a spot in the knockout rounds of the 2022 World Cup when it tangles with familiar UEFA foe Denmark at Stadium 974 in Doha at 11am ET Saturday.

STREAM LIVE FRANCE vs DENMARK

The reigning World Cup champions overcame a blip to rout Australia 4-1 at Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah on Tuesday and can make it two-for-two with a win Saturday.

Meanwhile, Denmark hopes a 0-0 draw with Tunisia In Education City was a mere hiccup on the path to building off an emotional EURO 2020 (in 2021).

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for France vs Denmark.


How to watch France vs Denmark live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 11am ET, Saturday Nov. 26
Stadium: Stadium 974, Doha
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Denmark’s defenders were ready for Tunisia but its midfield could not dictate the pace and its forwards were nearly non-existent. To say France presents a bigger challenge for Andreas Skov Olsen, Kasper Dollberg, or whoever else Denmark puts in attack is an understatement.

France, meanwhile, allowed an early goal to the Socceroos before turning on the style for most of the remainder of the patch. Antoine Griezmann looks especially lively for Les Bleus after contract issues limited his minutes for Atletico Madrid earlier this season.


France quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 4
World Cup titles: 2 (1998, 2018)
World Cup appearances: 15
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (Won Group D)
Coach: Didier Deschamps
Key players: Hugo Lloris, Paul Pogba, Karim Benzema

Denmark quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 10
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (Won Group F)
Coach: Kasper Hjulmand
Key players: Kasper Schmeichel, Simon Kjaer, Christian Eriksen

World Cup 2022 schedule – how to watch, groups, calendar, match schedule, brackets, dates

2 Comments

The World Cup 2022 schedule is locked in and there is so much to look forward to ahead of the tournament in Qatar in November and December, as it is officially underway!

[ LIVE: Watch World Cup en Espanol en Peacock ]

Saudi Arabia and Japan have already pulled off huge upset wins over Argentina and Germany respectively as the tournament has got off to a flying start.

From the USMNT drawing against England the day after Thanksgiving to Mexico and Argentina squaring off in the group stages, Spain facing Germany, and Belgium somehow squeezing past Canada, there are plenty of intriguing games in the opening round.

[ MORE: World Cup rosters for all 32 teams ]

Then we have the Round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals, and final to look forward to. Bring. It. On.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]  

Below is the schedule in full, details on how to watch the games and everything else you need..

[ MORE: World Cup odds ]


World Cup 2022 schedule, start time, dates, how to watch live

  • When: November 20, 2022 to December 18, 2022
  • Group stage game kick-off times: 5am, 8am, 10am, 11am, 2pm (all ET)
  • Location: Qatar
  • TV channels en Español: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock
  • Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)

Follow along with ProSoccerTalk for the latest news, scores, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 World Cup, and be sure to subscribe to NBC Sports on YouTube!


Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D | Group E | Group F | Group G | Group H

Group A schedule (all kick off times ET)

Recap/highlights: Qatar 0-2 Ecuador – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Senegal 0-2 Netherlands – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Qatar 1-3 Senegal – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Netherlands 1-1 Ecuador – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Tuesday, November 29: Netherlands vs Qatar – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 10am
Tuesday, November 29: Ecuador vs Senegal –  Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am

Group B schedule

Recap/highlights: England 6-2 Iran – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: USA 1-1 Wales – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: England 0-0 USA – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Wales 0-2 Iran – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Tuesday, November 29: Wales vs England – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm
Tuesday November 29: Iran vs USA – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm

Group C schedule

Recap/highlights: Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Mexico 0-0 Poland – Stadium 974, Doha
Saturday, November 26: Argentina vs Mexico – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm
Recap/highlights: Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Wednesday, November 30: Poland vs Argentina – Stadium 974, Doha – 2pm
Wednesday, November 30: Saudi Arabia vs Mexico – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm

Group D schedule

Recap/highlights: France 4-1 Australia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Denmark 0-0 Tunisia – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Saturday, November 26: France vs Denmark – Stadium 974, Doha – 11am
Recap/highlights: Tunisia 0-1 Australia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Wednesday, November 30: Tunisia vs France –  Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am
Wednesday, November 30: Australia vs Denmark – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah – 10am

Group E schedule

Recap/highlights: Spain 7-0 Costa Rica – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Germany 1-2 Japan – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Sunday, November 27: Spain vs Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm
Sunday, November 27: Japan vs Costa Rica – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 5am
Thursday, December 1: Japan vs Spain – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm
Thursday, December 1: Costa Rica vs Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm

Group F schedule

Recap/highlights: Belgium 1-0 Canada – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Morocco 0-0 Croatia – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Sunday, November 27: Belgium vs Morocco – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 8am
Sunday, November 27: Croatia vs Canada – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 11am
Thursday, December 1: Croatia vs Belgium – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am
Thursday, December 1: Canada vs Morocco – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 10am

Group G schedule

Recap/highlights: Brazil 2-0 Serbia – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Switzerland 1-0 Cameroon – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Monday, November 28: Brazil vs Switzerland – Stadium 974, Doha – 11am
Monday, November 28: Cameroon vs Serbia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah – 5am
Friday, December 2: Cameroon vs Brazil – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm
Friday, December 2: Serbia vs Switzerland – Stadium 974, Doha – 2pm

Group H schedule

Recap/highlights: Portugal 3-2 Ghana – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Uruguay 0-0 South Korea – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Monday, November 28: Portugal vs Uruguay – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm
Monday, November 28: South Korea vs Ghana – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 8am
Friday, December 2: South Korea vs Portugal – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am
Friday, December 2: Ghana vs Uruguay – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah – 10am


Round of 16 schedule

Match 49 – Saturday, December 3: Winner Group A vs Runners up Group B – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am

Match 50 – Saturday, December 3:  Winners Group C vs Runners up Group D – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm

Match 52 – Sunday, December 4: Winners Group D vs Runners up Group C – Al Thumama Stadium, Doha – 10am

Match 51 – Sunday, December 4: Winners Group B vs Runners up Group A – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm

Match 53 – Monday, December 5: Winners Group E vs Runners up Group F – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah – 10am

Match 54 – Monday, December 5: Winners Group G vs Runners up Group H – Stadium 974, Doha – 2pm

Match 55 – Tuesday, December 6: Winners Group F vs Runners up Group E – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am

Match 56 – Tuesday, December 6: Winners Group H vs Runners up Group G – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm


Quarterfinal schedule

Match 58 – Friday, December 9: Winners Match 53 vs Winners Match 54 – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am

Match 57 – Friday, December 9: Winners Match 49 vs Winners Match 50 – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 10am

Match 60 – Saturday, December 10: Winners Match 55 vs Winners Match 56 – Al Thumama Stadium, Doha – 10am

Match 59 – Saturday, December 10: Winners Match 51 vs Winners Match 52 – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm


Semifinal schedule

Match 61 – Tuesday, December 13: Winners Match 57 vs Winners Match 58 – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm

Match 62 – Wednesday, December 14: Winners Match 59 vs Winners Match 60 – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm


Third-place play-off

Match 63 – Saturday, December 17: Losers Match 61 vs Losers Match 62 – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm


Final

Match 64 – Sunday, December 18: Winners Match 61 vs Winners Match 62 – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 10am

Portugal vs Uruguay: How to watch, live stream link, team news

0 Comments

Portugal looks to seal its fate in the World Cup Round of 16 by piling pressure on Uruguay when two titans of the sport meet in Lusail on Monday.

Portugal outlasted Ghana 3-2 in Doha to open its tournament with a big win that featured a controversial penalty for Cristiano Ronaldo, while Uruguay staged a scoreless draw with South Korea.

STREAM LIVE PORTUGAL vs URUGUAY

It’s a group that never looked easy and is looking more and more like a “Group of Death” as the World Cup rolls through Qatar in its typically tense fashion this month and next.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for Portugal vs Uruguay.


How to watch Portugal vs Uruguay live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Monday Nov. 28
Stadium: Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Everyone’s going to keep looking at Cristiano Ronaldo — it’s difficult not to turn your head with all the “Look at me” nonsense — but Bruno Fernandes is the real string-puller here. He’s playing well with Ruben Neves, while Ruben Dias and the back line will look to tighten things up after letting Ghana stay in the game.

Uruguay hero Luis Suarez has been here before, but his supporting cast is as good as ever. Rodrigo Betancur and Jose Maria Gimenez give La Celeste a chance at clean sheet every time they take the pitch.


Portugal quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 9
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 8
How they qualified: Qualified from UEFA via playoffs
Coach: Fernando Santos
Key players: Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruben Neves, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Cancelo

Uruguay quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 14
World Cup titles: 2 (1930, 1950)
World Cup appearances: 14
How they qualified: Qualified from CONMEBOL
Coach: Diego Alonso
Key players: Luis Suarez, Federico Valverde, Darwin Nunez, Rodrigo Betancur