What does Bradley’s hiring at Swansea mean for American soccer?

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Game-changer.

That sums up what Bob Bradley’s appointment as Swansea City’s new manager on Monday could be.

[ MORE: Key US figures react ]

Bradley, 58, has been chipping away for a chance like this for many years and Swansea’s new U.S. majority owners have handed him the keys to the Liberty Stadium.

This is a huge opportunity for not only Bradley but for the whole of the U.S. soccer community to be taken more seriously in Europe. That’s not an overstatement.

For many years any of us involved in the U.S. soccer scene have had to listened to digs and jibes from around the world about a nation which has not traditionally been a passionate patron of the beautiful game.

“What do Yanks know about football?” or “He’s American, what’s the point?” are already some of the responses to Bradley getting the Swansea job. Those responses are, sadly, far too predictable.

But what does being American have anything to do with being a good coach? It shouldn’t have anything to do with it but we all know it does.

[ LONGFORM: Bradley’s journey in Norway

Bradley himself has spoken out in the past about the same group of coaches getting jobs time and time again in the Premier League and Europe’s top leagues. Whether it is because they’re English and seem a safe bet, the circuit has been a closed shop for some time. Now, though, Bradley has a chance to prove just how good of a coach he is. Simply put, his nationality probably played a part in him not getting this chance 10 years ago.

Those attitudes and beliefs have often hindered not only American coaches but also American players getting chances in Europe’s elite leagues. Look around Europe’s top leagues today. There are a handful of U.S. players in Germany, five total in the Premier League and a few others scattered around. After that, well, U.S. youngsters at academies across Europe are battling away but are facing similar problems.

Back in 2014 I traveled to Norway to sit down with Bob and see his work firsthand with tiny Norwegian side Stabaek, but also to talk about why American’s have found it so hard to gain respect in Europe.

“In its simplest form, as much as the game has grown in the U.S., players and coaches earning respect in Europe is still not easy,” Bradley said. “Actually when we [U.S. national team] had success in the Confederations Cup and then in the World Cup, many football people spoke very highly of the way we played as a team, our football, our results. What we accomplished but still that part of what it means for players getting chances at a big clubs… what does that mean for coaches getting chances? It still takes time. We are still in the midst of it, there’s no two ways about it.”

His resume is helping some of the barriers to be broken down but it will still take time. For instance, Ryan Giggs, who has zero head-coaching experience, was Swansea’s other option here and is many of Swansea’s fans are talking about him being a better option compared to Bradley’s almost four decades coaching in the game.

Bradley started off on home soil and led the expansion franchise Chicago Fire to an MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup in their inaugural season. Then led Chivas USA to the playoffs before taking over the U.S. national team before heading overseas for the last five years in Egypt, Norway and France.

He is a disciple of Bruce Arena and was his assistant at the University of Virginia and D.C. United in MLS’ formative years. Bradley has been described by many as a founding father of American soccer along with Arena. During his days with the U.S. national team from 2006-11 he won the 2007 Gold Cup, took the U.S. to the 2009 Confederations Cup final after shocking Spain in the semifinals and reached the Round of 16 at the 2010 World Cup. The U.S. national team, despite arguably having a stronger player pool now than when Bradley was in charge, has struggled to reach those heights.

The New Jersey native then moved to Egypt and took them to the brink of the World Cup in hugely trying circumstance during the Arab spring. He then proved his worth at Stabaek in Norway’s top-flight in 2014 and 2015 (he became the first-ever American to coach in a European top-flight there, by the way) taking the newly promoted side to third-place in his second season as they qualified for Europe. His most recent job was at Le Havre where he stepped down to France’s second-tier midway through last season and took them to within one goal of promotion to Ligue 1.

All of this says that Bradley has earned his chance to manage in the Premier League after being previously linked with the jobs at West Brom, Aston Villa, Sunderland Hull City and Fulham. Now is his chance to show the world, and mostly European soccer’s elite, that an American can succeed in the Premier League, and Europe, as a coach. This is a big chance for the American game to gain more respect globally.

Being successful at Swansea will be initially keeping them in the PL and then building them into a stable midtable club, something they’ve been since they arrived in the top-flight in 2011. The Princeton graduate will have to do that while also carrying the baggage of being an American. He’s used to it but it doesn’t make the task any easier.

Bradley doesn’t like to be known as a trailblazer and someone who is flying the American flag overseas but he is. That’s the only way he’s been able to get on people’s radar and that has eventually led to him getting this opportunity in the most-watched and competitive league on the planet.

His former assistant coach at Stabaek, Tomasz Kaczmarek, back in 2014, summed up the situation regarding the lack of respect for Americans in soccer perfectly.

“Look. All of the players, whether it is in Europe or in Egypt, they work with Bob and nobody thinks of him as American. They think he’s a damn good football coach,” Kaczmarek said, defiantly. “This is all they see and all they care about. They see he is a good leader and he makes the players better so they respect him and appreciate him. I believe on the outside there are too many people who say, ‘Oh yeah, he’s American. He can’t be a good coach. How can an American know something about football?’ This is not only in this case. There are too many people in football who don’t look deep enough. Don’t look at the work that is being done and the way the team plays. That is probably the biggest challenge for him going forward, to make sure that people on the outside recognize that he is American, yes, but he is a very good coach.”

Maybe one day coaches from the U.S. will be hired all across Europe and the rest of the world without a second glance at their passport. If we ever get to that point, there’s no doubting that Bradley’s appointment and any subsequent success he has at Swansea will have been a key factor in helping that happen.

Don’t underestimate how monumental of a moment this is for American soccer.

What are the group stage tiebreaker rules at the 2022 World Cup?

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The 2022 World Cup is already well underway and through the first matches of the group stage, the tournament has been marked by unpredictability and upsets, including Saudi Arabia toppling Argentina and Japan edging out Germany thanks to a late comeback. While one loss doesn’t necessarily mean these pre-tournament contenders won’t make it to the knockout rounds, it does make the path significantly harder. Read on to see the World Cup tiebreakers that may come into play in determining which teams advance to the next round and continue on the path to soccer’s greatest glory.

How many teams will advance from the World Cup group stage?

Of the 32 teams at the 2022 World Cup, only 16 will advance to the next round of the tournament. The top two teams in each of the eight groups will advance to the Round of 16. From there, the tournament will be a single-elimination competition, with eight teams making it through to the quarterfinals and four to the semifinals. The winners of the semifinal matches will play in the final, while the losers will meet in the third-place playoff.

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

What are the tiebreakers for the group stage at the World Cup?

If two or more teams have an equal number of points after the conclusion of group stage matches, FIFA will use the following tiebreakers to determine which nations advance:

  • Goal differential – the team with the higher goal differential (total goals scored minus total goals allowed) will have the higher ranking
  • Number of goals scored – If multiple teams have the same number of points and equal goal differential, the team with more goals scored will be given a higher ranking than the lesser-scoring team

World Cup draw rules

If two or more teams are still “tied” after applying these tiebreakers, FIFA moves on to a second round of tiebreakers:

  • Greatest number of points obtained in group matches between the teams concerned
  • Superior goal difference resulting from the group matches between the team concerned
  • Greatest number of goals scored in all matches between the teams concerned
  • Highest team conduct score – team conduct score is based on the number of yellow and red cards a team has obtained. The team with the highest team conduct score will receive the higher ranking.
    • Yellow Card: Minus one point
    • Indirect Red Card (acquired via two yellow cards): Minus three points
    • Direct Red Card: Minus four points
    • Yellow Card and Direct Red Card: Minus five points

RELATED: PST’s 2022 World Cup predictions: Standings, winner, awards, USMNT fate

World Cup yellow card rules

The “team conduct” tiebreaker or “fair play” tiebreaker was first used at the 2018 World Cup – Japan and Senegal stood equal after all other tiebreakers were applied but Senegal had more yellow cards and was subsequently eliminated. Japan advanced to the Round of 16.

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)

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

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!

Poland vs Argentina, live! Score, updates, how to watch, stream, videos

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Poland and Argentina surely didn’t plan to reach the marquee match of World Cup Group C with their knockout round status in doubt, but it’s been that kind of tournament in Qatar.

Poland remains unbeaten in Qatar after beating Saudi Arabia 2-0 in Al Rayyan, adding to the point it earned from a scoreless draw with Mexico In Doha to give it top billing in the group heading into Wednesday’s match.

STREAM LIVE POLAND v ARGENTINA

Argentina, meanwhile, rebounded from a 2-1 tournament-opening loss to Saudi Arabia In Lusail to bear Mexico 2-0 behind a goal and an assist from Lionel Messi.

Saudi Arabia’s three points means it can still advance with a win over Mexico, who itself can add to its one point. So everyone’s alive in Group C.

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

Here is everything you need for Poland vs Argentina.


How to watch Poland vs Argentina live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Wednesday, Nov. 30
Stadium: Stadium 974, Doha – 2pm
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

The storyline for every Argentina game this tournament from this point forward — and really since the lead-up to the Mexico match — is that any loss means the end of Lionel Messi’s World Cup career (at least according to the living legend). The Albiceleste would be thrilled to get something more out of Lautaro Martinez, while Paulo Dybala’s yet to make his tournament debut.

Robert Lewandowski finally has a World Cup goal on his resume, while Piotr Zielinski has been very good for Poland. Former Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was sensational in the win over Saudi Arabia.


Poland quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 26
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 8
How they qualified: Qualified from UEFA via playoffs, Path B
Coach: Czeslaw Michniewicz
Key players: Robert Lewandowski, Wojciech Szczesny, Piotr Zielinski

Argentina quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 3
World Cup titles: 2 (1978, 1986)
World Cup appearances: 17
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONMEBOL (2nd place)
Coach: Lionel Scaloni
Key players: Lionel Messi, Angel de Maria, Lautaro Martinez

Saudi Arabia vs Mexico, live! Score, updates, how to watch, stream, videos

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Mexico needs a win to have hope of reaching the World Cup knockout rounds, while Saudi Arabia’s hopes of the final 16 may require the same at Stadium 974 in Doha on Wednesday.

The Saudis stunned Argentina 2-1 In Lusail to open the tournament but could not repeat the feat against Poland at Education City in Al Rayyan on Saturday to leave themselves with three points through two matches.

STREAM LIVE SAUDI ARABIA vs MEXICO

Mexico remains without a win after their scoreless draw versus Poland led to a Lionel Messi-inspired loss to Argentina In Lusail.

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

Here is everything you need for Saudi Arabia vs Mexico.


How to watch Saudi Arabia vs Mexico live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Wednesday Nov. 30
Stadium: Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

The Saudis have arguably been the most fun team at the tournament amongst non-powers, always running and getting exceptional goalkeeping. Salem Al-Dawsari was very good in both games but his missed penalty before halftime against Poland looms large of a match that could’ve been 1-1 going to the break and instead ended 2-0.

Mexico has not scored at the tournament so far, and Raul Jimenez has only been used as a super sub. Hirving Lozano and Alexis Vega combined for just three shot attempts before being subbed out of the Poland loss, while Lozano and Henry Martin combined for two versus Poland (Vega attempted five). They need better up top to keep up their streak of making Round of 16 appearances at the World Cup.


Saudi Arabia quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 51
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from AFC (Won Group B)
Coach: Herve Renard
Key players: Salem Al-Dawsari, Fahad Al-Muwallad, Mohammed Al-Owais

Mexico quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 13
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 16
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONCACAF (2nd place)
Coach: Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino
Key players: Guillermo Ochoa, Hector Herrera, Raul Jimenez

Berhalter ‘proud’ of USMNT, looks ahead to Netherlands; Pulisic injury update

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USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter was a relieved man as he spoke to media after the USA beat Iran 1-0 to clinch a spot in the last 16 of the World Cup.

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

After Christian Pulisic’s first half goal the U.S. held on late on as Iran create three good chances but the young American side dug deep.

They will now face the Netherlands in the last 16 on Saturday (kick off, 10am ET) and Berhalter was asked how proud he was of his side.

USA grind out win after impressive display

“Proud. First half we showed what we can do soccer wise. Second half we showed what we could do determination wise. The guys grinded. They gave every single ounce of energy. We are undefeated going into the knockout round,” Berhalter said.

He was then asked about his nerves late on as Iran almost scored in the 99th minute when Mehdi Taremi nearly got on the end of a ball into the box.

“This new injury time, counting every second, it is stressful. I think I have less hair on my head now,” Berhalter smiled. “We will take it and we will move on and we will go battle Holland.”

Christian Pulisic injury update

Pulisic, the goalscoring hero, was subbed out at half time after getting hit in the abdominal area (it looked like a nasty whack to the groin) when he scored the winning goal.

Asked about the status of the USMNT and Chelsea star, here is what Berhalter had to say.

“No update on his status but I’ve been saying all along, ‘it’s a wonderful thing when one of your best players is also one of your hardest working.’ He is certainly that. I can’t say enough positive things about Christian.”

Another update was that Pulisic was taken to the hospital after the injury and Weston McKennie said he had a message from Pulisic saying: “Best believe I’ll be ready on Saturday.”

“He was feeling some dizziness, it was a blow to his abdomen,” Berhalter said. “We FaceTimed him from the hospital and he was in good spirits.”