UEFA Champions League preview: Manchester United ailing; Juventus almost out of time

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UEFA Champions League’s group stage continues on Wednesday, with Groups A through D continuing the tournament’s fifth match day. With special focus on the day’s big matches in Leverkusen and Turin, here’s a preview of the week’s first eight games:

NO REASON TO BE SCARED
Bayer Leverkusen (Germany, 7 pts., second place in Group A) vs. Manchester United (England, 8 pts., first place)
Kickoff: 2:45 p.m. Eastern, BayArena, Leverkusen

Bayer Leverkusen made me feel like an idiot on match day one. On the eve of David Moyes’s Champions League debut, I spent paragraphs and paragraphs describing all the reasons why Premier League fans may be overlooking Leverkusen’s threat, all of which reads like some kind of passive aggressive Bundesliga fanboy-ing after Manchester United posted its 4-2 win on Leverkusen. So, thanks for that, Sami Hyypiä.

In hindsight – with Bayer now sitting second in Germany; going undefeated in their last three Champions League games; getting a combined 22 goals from their attacking triad of Stefan Kießling, Sidney Sam, and Son Heung-Min – Leverkusen just seemed a little over awed by the occasion. Between a new coach and a squad that’s lost a number of key players since qualifying for Champions League in 2011-12 (with the likes of Michael Ballack, Eren Derdiyok, Andre Schurrle, and Michal Kadlec), Bayer may have needed an obligatory thumping to realize the competition’s level.

“In Manchester we were a bit frightened to play our game,” Hyypiä now concedes. Like Moyes, he was making his Champions League coaching debut when the teams met in September.

“[W]e want to show our qualities and play in a more uninhibited way,” Hyypiä continued, speaking a Tuesday’s pre-match press conference. “Of course, United have a very good team with a lot of individual quality. We have to work as a team, then we’ll be able to beat them.”

One part of that teamwork will be replacing Sam, who will miss the game with a thigh injury. Another will be trying to contain a United attack that exploded on them in September’s second half. Fortunately for Bayer, Robin van Persie has been ruled out (groin injury), as has Nemanja Vidic (concussion), Phil Jones (groin), Michael Carrick (ankle) and Rafael (ankle). Marouane Fellaini is also suspended, leaving Manchester United with only Anderson, Ryan Giggs, and Tom Cleverley as options in central midfield.

At the risk of cursing them again, this is a game that Bayer Leverkusen should win. They’ve taken 31 points from 13 games in the Bundesliga, and are 9-2-1 with a +16 goal difference since leaving Old Trafford. If it wasn’t for September’s result, we’d have no reason to believe Manchester United’s a better team than Bayer, and with so many United players out, it’s unclear how much the result tells us about Wednesday’s game.

Between talent, form, venue, and opponent’s fitness, Bayer has everything going for them ahead of this match, and while the healthy talents United possesses are still capable of winning this match, they shouldn’t. If Bayer can avoid being frightened out of their game, they should go top of Group A.

Group dynamics: United enter Wednesday’s games on eight points, one ahead of Bayer. With a win, they clinch first place in the group. Without it, they need Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine, 5 pts., third) to stumble against Real Sociedad (Spain, 1 pt., fourth) to clinch a knockout round spot.

Bayer go top and clinch a Round of 16 spot with a win.

source: AP
Juventus is back in first in Italy, but having yet to claim victory in this year’s Champions League, the bianconeri sit fourth in their Champions League group. (Photo: AP Photo.)

FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE PILE
Juventus (Italy, 3 pts., fourth place in Group B) vs. FC Copenhagen (Denmark, 4 pts., third place)
Kickoff: 2:45 p.m. Eastern, Juventus Stadium, Turin

Here’s how crazy lenient Juventus’s Champions League group has been:

They haven’t won a game yet this tournament. They’re in last place in their group with only three points, yet they don’t have to win on Wednesday. If they draw at home with FC Copenhagen, a team they’ve already shared points with once this tournament, they’ll still go into Dec. 10’s game in Istanbul with a chance to advance. Even if Galatasaray (Turkey, 4 pts., second) pull off a huge upset at Real Madrid (Spain, 10 pts., first), the Old Lady will go to the Turk Telekom Arena with a chance to move on.

In fairness to Juve, it’s not like they’ve been bad. They haven’t. They’ve been the group’s second best team,with the unfairness of the three-point win the only reason why, at 0-1-3, they aren’t ranked above Galatasaray and Copenhagen. Despite having already played Real Madrid twice, they’ve only allowed one more goal than they’ve scored. Gala (-4) and FCK (-5) have put up much worse numbers, and they still have a game with the Spanish titans. They don’t deserve to be ahead of Juventus, but they are.

All those data points tell us Juve, despite sitting in fourth, is still likely to go through. They’re big favorites to win on Wednesday, jump to six points and, in all likelihood, second place. Unbeaten in six overall and having recently routed Napoli 3-0, there’s every reason to think Juventus will regres back to their early group stage selves. This is where the Old Lady turns it around, sprints to the tape, and closes Group B with nine points.

“We have to win if we are to continue in this competition,” head coach Antonio Conte said, which actually isn’t true. “[W]e know we have to win, otherwise we will not have a tomorrow in the UEFA Champions League. I don’t need to explain anything to my players.”

He might need to explain the actual scenarios to them, though. Even if they do stumble again (again!), Group B may be ready to forgive. Draw their next two matches while Galatasaray and Copenhagen each lose to Real Madrid, and Juventus goes through with five points. That goal difference edge – their ability to stay closer to Real Madrid than the group’s other two teams – would give them the tiebreaker if three teams finish with five points.

In short, Juventus could go an entire group stage without winning a game and still qualify for the knockout round. And now, after stumbling through all these cumbersome conditionals and scenarios, I kind of want it to happen.

More Group B dynamics: Real Madrid have already locked up this group, and with the remaining teams within one point of each other, nobody can clinch second on Wednesday. The only team that can be eliminated is Juventus, who can finish no higher than third if they lose to Copenhagen.

source: AP
Sitting atop Group C with 10 points through four games, Paris Saint-Germain can clinch first place with a Wednesday win over visiting Olympiacos. (Photo: AP Photo.)

Other games
All matches kickoff at 2:45 p.m. Eastern with the exception of CSKA vs. Bayern Munich. Played in Moscow, the holder’s trip to Russia will start at 12:00 p.m. Eastern.

  • Group C
    • Paris Saint-Germain (France, 10 pts., first place) vs. Olympiacos (Greece, 7 pts., second), Parc de Princes, Paris -PSG looked unstoppable after their 5-0 win in Belgium on match day three, yet Laurent Blanc’s team gave Anderlecht their first point of the tournament in the return match, preventing the Parisians from clinching a spot in the knockout round. A similar result on Wednesday would put them through, with a win clinching first in Group C. Unless Olympiacos wins, the visitors can’t clinch anything without help from Anderlecht, but against a PSG side that’s as healthy as they’ve been since losing (the now returned) Thiago Silva early in the season, the Greek champions will be fortunate to get the single point that would ensure they stay alone in second place.
    • Anderlecht (Belgium, 1 pt., fourth place) vs. Benfica (Portugal, 4 pts., third), Constant Vanden Stock Stadium, Anderlecht – Benfica’s in trouble. Olympiacos hold the tiebreaker over them, meaning they need to pass the Greeks to make the Round of 16. But with a game against PSG still on the schedule, the odds look long. A more realistic goal: Strengthening their claim to third place. A win on Wednesday would clinch that spot, which would see them into Europa League come February.
  • Group D
    • CSKA Moscow (Russia, 3 pts., third place) vs. Bayern Munich (Germany, 12 pts, first place), Khimki Arena, Moscow – FCB is the last perfect team in the tournament, but with previously pristine Atlético drawn in St. Petersburg on Tuesday, perhaps Russia is the place where Champions League perfection goes to die? Without Franck Ribery, Mario Mandzukic, and Bastian Schweisteiger, Bayern may fall into the same trap, but given Bayern’s quick assimilation of Pep Guardiola’s approach, there’s always the danger that they’ll simply pass their opponents off the park.
    • Manchester City (England, 9 pts., second place) vs. Viktoria Plzen (Czech Republic, 0 pts., fourth) – City flung the Champions League monkey off their back last match day, clinching their first spot in the knockout round. Now it’s just a question of whether they want to settle for second. A final group match at Bayern could give them a chance to pass the holders and go through as group winners, and while that upset’s unlikely, Manuel Pellegrini won’t need to play on Wednesday his full team to keep the possibility alive. City should be able to rotate their squad and still get full points from the Czechs, keeping their hopes of dislodging Bayern alive ahead of their Dec. 10 trip to Germany.

World Cup 2022 odds: Favorites, underdogs, quarterfinal game odds

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The World Cup 2022 odds so intriguing.

Who’s going to lift the World Cup trophy on Sunday, Dec. 18, and what are the current betting odds for them to do so?

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

Odds for not only who will be crowned world champions this winter in Qatar, but also for each of the quarterfinal games have been posted.

24 teams are out. Only eight teams remain.

Check out the 2022 World Cup winners betting odds below, provided by our partner, PointsBet.


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

  • When: November 20, 2022 to December 18, 2022
  • Knockout games kick-off times: 10am, 2pm (both 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!


World Cup 2022 odds – Quarterfinal games

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links. Here are the odds provided by our partner, PointsBet.

(+800) Croatia vs Brazil (-286). Draw: +400
(+250) Netherlands vs Argentina (+115). Draw: +220
(+450) Morocco vs Portugal (-150). Draw: +260
(+210) England vs France (+140). Draw: +220


World Cup 2022 odds – winners (As of December 8)

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links. Here are the odds provided by our partner, PointsBet.

Brazil +170
France +400
Argentina +600
Portugal +600
England +650
Netherlands +1650
Croatia +4000
Morocco +4000


South Korea – Eliminated
Japan – Eliminated
Switzerland – Eliminated
Spain – Eliminated
Poland – Eliminated
Senegal – Eliminated
Australia – Eliminated
Qatar – Eliminated
Canada – Eliminated
Ecuador – Eliminated
Wales – Eliminated
Iran – Eliminated
Germany – Eliminated
Belgium – Eliminated
Denmark – Eliminated
Costa Rica – Eliminated
Tunisia – Eliminated
Mexico – Eliminated
Saudi Arabia – Eliminated
Cameroon – Eliminated
Ghana – Eliminated
Serbia – Eliminated
Uruguay – Eliminated
USA – Eliminated


World Cup odds – group stage winners (At start of tournament, November 20)

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links. Here are the odds provided by our partner, PointsBet.

Group A

Netherlands -223
Senegal +400
Ecuador +550
Qatar +1600

Group B

England -304
Wales +550
USA +600
Iran +1800

Group C

Argentina -223
Poland +450
Mexico +450
Saudi Arabia +2500

Group D

France -250
Denmark +275
Tunisia +1400
Australia +2000

Group E

Spain -112
Germany +110
Japan +1200
Costa Rica +5000

Group F

Belgium -200
Croatia +250
Morocco +1000
Canada +1200

Group G

Brazil -250
Switzerland +500
Serbia +600
Cameroon +1200

Group H

Portugal -154
Uruguay +200
Ghana +1100
South Korea +1100


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2022 World Cup: What are the overtime and penalty kick rules?

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The 2022 World Cup takes place on Sunday, November 20, and runs through Sunday, December 18 in Qatar featuring 64 matches contested by 32 nations in 8 stadiums over the course of 29 days.

This will be the very first time that a World Cup is being contested in the Middle East but that’s not all that will be new at this year’s tournament.

For the first time in history, the Men’s tournament will have female referees. There will be a total of six: 3 officials and 3 assistants. The officials are Stéphanie Frappart (France), Salima Mukansanga (Rwanda), and Yoshimi Yamashita (Japan). Neuza Back (Brazil), Karen Díaz Medina (Mexico), and Kathryn Nesbitt (USA) are the assistants.

Additionally, this will be the first World Cup where teams will be allowed to make 5 substitutions and have 26-player squads. Previously, teams were only allowed to make 3 substitutions and have 23-player squads. Teams will also have the opportunity to make an additional concussion substitution if needed.

RELATED: World Cup 2022 rankings – Who are the favorites?

What are the overtime and penalty kick rules at the World Cup?

If a game is tied after 90 minutes of play, there will be a five minute break and then the match will go into overtime where an extra 30 minutes of time will be given. The time will be divided into two 15-minute periods.

If the score is still tied after extra time is given, the two teams will go into a penalty kick shootout to determine the winner. If there is still a tie at the end of the shootout, teams will be given additional rounds of one kick each until the tie is broken.

RELATED: World Cup 2022 schedule – groups, calendar, match schedule, brackets, dates


How to watch the 2022 World Cup:

*All times are listed as ET

  • When: November 20, 2022 – December 18, 2022
  • Group stage game kick-off times: 5 am, 8 am, 11 am, and 2 pm
  • Location: Qatar
  • TV channel in English: Fox
  • TV channels en Español: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock

RELATED: World Cup 2022 Group B: England, USA, Iran, Wales schedule, fixtures, rankings


2022 World Cup U.S. Group Stage Schedule:

  • U.S. vs. Wales – Monday, November 21 at 2 PM ET
  • U.S. vs. England – Friday, November 25 at 2 PM ET
  • U.S. vs Iran – Tuesday, November 29 at 2 PM ET

2022 World Cup Mexico Group Stage Schedule:

  • Mexico vs. Poland – Tuesday, November 22 at 11 AM ET
  • Mexico vs Argentina – Saturday, November 26 at 2 PM ET
  • Mexico  vs Saudi Arabia – Wednesday, November 30 at 2 PM ET

RELATED: World Cup 2022 odds: Favorites, underdogs, group stage winners


Copa Mundial en Español – Peacock

You can stream all 64 matches of the 2022 Copa Mundial en Español on Peacock.

What devices are compatible with Peacock?

Peacock is available on a variety of devices. See the full list here.

 Follow along with ProSoccerTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 World Cup!

World Cup 2022 schedule – how to watch, last 16, calendar, match schedule, brackets, dates

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The World Cup 2022 schedule is locked in and this tournament in Qatar has been sensational as the knockout rounds will capture the imagination of the globe.

[ LIVE: Watch World Cup en Espanol en Peacock ]

Japan, Australia and Morocco made the last 16 with so many huge shocks during the tournament, but the Atlas Lions are the only one of the trio to survive into the quarterfinals. Germany, Denmark, and Belgium all crashed out in the group stage.

Argentina meets the Netherlands in the quarterfinals for a familiar matchup that stands between Lionel Messi and a semifinal date with either Brazil or Japan.

[ MORE: World Cup rosters for all 32 teams ]

The other side of the bracket sees Morocco meeting Portugal for the right to tangle with the winner of England vs France.

So, yeah, the quarterfinals, semifinals, and final should be dynamite. 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
  • Knockout round kick-off times: 10am, 2pm (both 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 | Full tables


Round of 16 schedule

Match 49 – Saturday, December 3: Netherlands 3-1 USA – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan

Match 50 – Saturday, December 3: Argentina 2-1 Australia – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan

Match 52 – Sunday, December 4: France 3-1 Poland – Al Thumama Stadium, Doha

Match 51 – Sunday, December 4: England 3-0 Senegal – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor

Match 53 – Monday, December 5: Japan 1-1 (AET, 1-3 PKs) – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah

Match 54 – Monday, December 5: Brazil 4-1 South Korea – Stadium 974, Doha

Match 55 – Tuesday, December 6: Morocco 0-0 (AET, 3-0 PKs) Spain – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan

Match 56 – Tuesday, December 6: Portugal 6-1 Switzerland – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail


Quarterfinal schedule

Match 58 – Friday, December 9: Croatia vs Brazil (preview) – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am

Match 57 – Friday, December 9: Netherlands vs Argentina (preview) – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm

Match 60 – Saturday, December 10: Morocco vs Portugal (preview) – Al Thumama Stadium, Doha – 10am

Match 59 – Saturday, December 10: England vs France (preview) – 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


Group stage results

Group A

Recap/highlights: Qatar 0-2 Ecuador – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Senegal 0-2 Netherlands  – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 5am
Recap/highlights: Qatar 1-3 Senegal – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Netherlands 1-1 Ecuador – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Netherlands 2-0 Qatar – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Ecuador 1-2 Senegal –  Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan

Group B

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
Recap/highlights: Wales 0-3 England – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Iran 0-1 USA – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor

Group C

Recap/highlights: Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Mexico 0-0 Poland – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Argentina 2-0 Mexico – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Poland 0-2 Argentina – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Saudi Arabia 1-2 Mexico – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail

Group D

Recap/highlights: France 4-1 Australia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Denmark 0-0 Tunisia – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: France 2-1 Denmark – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Tunisia 0-1 Australia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Tunisia 1-0 France –  Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Australia 1-0 Denmark – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah

Group E

Recap/highlights: Spain 7-0 Costa Rica – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Germany 1-2 Japan – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Spain 1-1 Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Japan 0-1 Costa Rica – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Japan 2-1 Spain – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Costa Rica 2-4 Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor

Group F

Recap/highlights: Belgium 1-0 Canada – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Morocco 0-0 Croatia – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 5am
Recap/highlights: Belgium 0-2 Morocco – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Croatia 4-1 Canada – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Croatia 0-0 Belgium – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights Canada 1-2 Morocco – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor

Group G

Recap/highlights: Brazil 2-0 Serbia – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Switzerland 1-0 Cameroon – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Brazil 1-0 Switzerland – Stadium 974, Doha – 11am
Recap/highlights: Cameroon 3-3 Serbia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Cameroon 1-0 Brazil – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Serbia 2-3 Switzerland – Stadium 974, Doha

Group H

Recap/highlights: Portugal 3-2 Ghana – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Uruguay 0-0 South Korea – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Portugal 2-0 Uruguay – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: South Korea 2-3 Ghana – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: South Korea 2-1 Portugal – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Ghana 0-2 Uruguay – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah


USMNT reportedly opens contract talks with Gregg Berhalter; Good or bad idea?

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Gregg Berhalter may be sticking around the United States men’s national team program, giving the USMNT coaching continuity as it moves from 2022 World Cup Round of 16 member to 2026 World Cup co-host.

ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle says that Berhalter is beginning contract discussions with the United States Soccer Federation but also interested in taking a job in Europe with his profile having risen alongside the USMNT at the World Cup.

Berhalter’s current contract ends at the end of the calendar year, and the Yanks have scheduled a domestic camp in January and friendlies against Serbia and Colombia.

[ MORE: USMNT transfer rumors for Musah, Dest ]

Berhalter has done some good things for the program, most notably winning the CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup with two different groups. He also straightened out the defending, for the most part, and got out of the World Cup group.

Berhalter successfully recruited Sergino Dest and Yunus Musah, two of the program’s stars at the World Cup. He also convinced Malik Tillman, Gaga Slonina, and Jesus Ferreira that the U.S. was the right place for their national team futures.

He also, subjectively, was slow if not downright stubborn in acquiesing to certain points-of-view that made the team better. From Tyler Adams as a right back at the outset of his tenure to saying Tim Ream didn’t fit how he wanted to play about a month before the World Cup… then playing him every minute of the tournament.

But for the most part when lessons were learned, they stayed learned.

Should Gregg Berhalter continue as USMNT boss?

Let’s start here, because it’s necessary: It’s clear that Berhalter cared about his players and the project, whether you like the way he operated or not. This wasn’t a half-assed operation, but one with passion.

So does he still have that passion? Only he can answer that, and if he’d like to get more matchdays in his life then maybe he does want to go back to the club game.

And frankly, that’s fine either way, because his four years with the program were neither amazing nor pitiful. They can be described as anything from a slight disappointment to a minor success, depending on your perspective and expectations.

If you believe that picking up the pieces from the absolute travesty that was failing to qualify for the World Cup from the richest nation and one of the two most talented nations amongst CONCACAF men’s programs was really hard, then you think Berhalter getting the men to the 2022 World Cup and surviving the group with a young group was a solid step in the right direction and a minor success.

If you believe that the American soccer climate is such that you should always make the World Cup out of one of the world’s lesser confederations and that the Yanks progressed as the second team of a group in which they were the second-ranked team according to FIFA and Elo Ratings, well, you can have a different standard.

The Yanks will never again fail to qualify for the World Cup given the expanded field, but hosts have historically had a drastically-improved chance to reach the semifinals. THe federation would have to be confident that picking the best squad regardless of how it reflects on his previous selections — let alone a Best XI — is going to happen under a given coach.

Berhalter’s 49 and is far from the worst or best boss in USMNT history. Whoever’s in the job four years from now will have a chance to go down as either one. Choose wisely, fed. And Gregg! Who knows how far his star could rise with a solid run in Europe, and history says there will be the chance to reconnect with the USMNT job.

Follow @NicholasMendola