USMNT humiliated in defeat at Canada: What went wrong?

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The USMNT were beaten humiliated by Canada in World Cup qualifying as most of their issues were ruthlessly exposed.

Canada did a job on the USMNT. Plain and simple. It was the way the USMNT lost this game which will hurt most. The lack of fight was humiliating for all U.S. fans watching.

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Canada scored early and late and let the USMNT have the ball in-between, but Gregg Berhalter’s side did very little with it despite the head coach saying he was ‘pleased with the performance’ and thought his side dominated. Hmmm.

Below we look at what went wrong for the USMNT in their first defeat against Canada in World Cup qualifying since 1980.

Should U.S. fans be worried? Are these long-term issues?

No number nine, focal point

Gyasi Zardes was thrown in up top and although he is a regular scapegoat for the USMNT fanbase, this isn’t really his fault. There is a severe lack of central striking options for Berhalter to choose from, especially in this window. Ricardo Pepi was hardly used after his recent move to Augsburg. Then who else is there? Josh Sargent and Jordan Pefok were both left out of this squad, and Jesus Ferreira isn’t really a central striker.

The way Berhalter’s teams like to play is with a Zardes-type player up top. But the USMNT don’t have that focal point and Zardes isn’t able to provide the movement and clinical finishing needed to dominate CONCACAF World Cup qualifying or go far at a World Cup. Berhalter’s number one priority must be to find the right person to play centrally up top and that will get the best out of Pulisic, Aaronson and others in the attacking midfield roles underneath whoever it is.

Lack of ‘savvy’ and experience

This one is simple. Nine of the USMNT’s starting 11 were 24 years old or younger. Matt Turner and Gyasi Zardes the two outliers. It showed. Canada aren’t exactly an old team, but their more experienced heads have an impact on their younger stars. You can clearly see it. Canada have a blend of youth and experience. The USMNT doesn’t. And it has a big impact in games, and big situations, like this.

Canada did the dirty things well from start to finish. They fouled to break up counters. They pushed and shoved. They scraped for every ball. They like doing that. Canada also played without their star player Alphonso Davies, and best midfielder Stephen Eustaquio. Given those absentees and a long midweek trip they knew their limitations for this game, they had a plan and executed it perfectly. That did to the USMNT what the USMNT used to do to others.

This USMNT side doesn’t like a scrap and they certainly weren’t up for this battle.

Gregg Berhalter said Canada couldn’t match the USMNT’s physicality. The opposite was true. All of the USMNT’s luxury players lost their individual battles and played right into Canada’s hands. This was a naive display from a young, inexperienced USMNT side. Hopefully this bad experience teaches them a lot.

USMNT have to find Pulisic’s best position

He started out on the left but didn’t manage to get on the ball much and was hacked at several times throughout the game. He was pushed inside for the final 20 minutes but still couldn’t get on the ball. The USMNT have to find a way to get Pulisic on the ball in the correct areas. So many times they won the ball back in good spots and gave it to him, but he played backwards or was too sluggish on the dribble and he looked frustrated throughout.

Pulisic is lacking in confidence and wants to play in his correct position at Chelsea, which is left wing. But for the USMNT it may be better to play him just off a central striker so he can play in a free role as a pure No. 10. He needs to be given the freedom to do what he does best. Right now he’s not really adding anything to the USMNT.

Center back shuffle causing harm

Miles Robinson and Chris Richards got caught out by Matt Turner’s poor goal kick for Canada’s first goal and that summed up the USMNT’s struggles at center back. Canada exposed that ruthlessly as Cyle Larin and Jonathan David smelt blood whenever they could combine and got Robinson and Richards on the back-foot. Walker Zimmerman would have started but suffered a knock, so that was a blow.

Moving forward it is all about trying to find the right partner for Zimmerman, who wasn’t even called up by the USMNT in October. That shows how many issues Berhalter is having to find his first-choice center back pairing. At this point, surely John Brooks deserves a chance. Maybe even Cameron Carter-Vickers? Sorting out a starting central striker and two center backs is key for the USMNT in 2022. The rest of the team looks okay, but those key areas are causing problems throughout their team.

Arrogance setting in?

This last issue is maybe a little harsh on a young team still learning, but there was a sense of arrogance about the USMNT display at Canada.

They just didn’t seem to want it as much as Canada did. They were outmuscled too often and played too many loose passes. There was a lack of hunger similar to watching a Premier League side playing away at a third-tier team in the FA Cup. A whiff in the air that the USMNT didn’t want to be there, in the cold in Canada.

But this was the USMNT’s biggest game of World Cup qualifying against the team who are top of the table. If they can’t get up for this game, is there a bigger problem than we thought? Don’t panic. With four games to go in qualifying, the USMNT should still easily qualify for the World Cup if they win their two home games and pick up a point on the road.

But Berhalter (who did himself no favors with the tone of his post-game press conference) must make sure his team stay focused and hungry as the hunt to finish in the top three will now go into the final round of qualifiers in March. Nobody wants to finish in fourth, but that is now a possibility for the USMNT when it shouldn’t be. We are about to see what this young USMNT side is really made of.

Ghana vs Uruguay, live! Score, updates, how to watch, stream, videos

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This is going to be an epic Group H finale as there is so much history between Ghana and Uruguay and both teams still have a chance of reaching the last 16.

STREAM LIVE GHANA V URUGUAY

When you say Luis Suarez, Ghana and World Cup together, most people think of his incredible handball to deny the Black Stars victory in the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup. We all know what happened next as Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan missed the spot kick after Suarez had been sent off, then Uruguay won on penalty kicks to deny Ghana an historic semifinal berth.

The whole of Ghana has never forgot that and the Black Stars get their chance for revenge in this clash.

[ MORE: Group H standings, schedule, rankings ]

Focusing on this game, Ghana provided superb entertainment in their 3-2 win against South Korea and know a point against Uruguay will be enough to reach the last 16 if South Korea fail to beat Portugal in the other final Group H game. Thomas Partey has been superb in midfield, Mohammed Kudus scored twice up top in their big win and the additions of Tariq Lamptey and Mohammed Salisu just before this tournament has made a big difference.

As for Uruguay, they’ve huffed and puffed in their opening two games but have failed to score as Darwin Nunez, Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani have all looked off the pace. Rodrigo Bentancur and Federico Valverde have been great in midfield but is this one tournament too far for Uruguay’s incredible, but ageing, core? They need to win to have a chance of reaching the last 16.

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Here is everything you need for Ghana vs Uruguay. 


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

Kick off: 10am ET – Friday, December 2
Stadium: Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Ghana will likely start the same team which started against South Korea as they looked dangerous in attack but they will have to improve defensively and keep the ball a bit better. The Ayew brothers (Jordan and Andre) provide so much experience, while Inaki Williams and Kudus knit everything together well in the final third.

Uruguay have to go for it, so does that mean starting Suarez, Cavani and Nunez up top together? If they do that they could cause Ghana, who have looked shaky at the back, plenty of problems. They may go back to a back four and the trio of Bentancur, Vecino and Valverde to hold down midfield.


Ghana quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 61
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 4
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CAF via playoffs
Coach: Otto Addo
Key players: Jordan Ayew, Andre Ayew, Thomas Partey, Jeff Schlupp

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 Bentancur


South Korea vs Portugal, live! Score, updates, how to watch, stream link, videos

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South Korea have a must-win Group H finale against Portugal, who have already made it through to the last 16 of the World Cup.

STREAM LIVE SOUTH KOREA v PORTUGAL

Heung-min Son has struggled and South Korea have just one point on the board so far from their games against Uruguay and Ghana. Last time out they lost 3-2 to Ghana in excrutiating fashion after fighting back from 2-0 down to make it 2-2. Now more than ever, Son’s country needs him to deliver as he has failed to score or assist in the opening two games and looks extremely frustrated. South Korea must win to have a chance of reaching the last 16 ahead of Uruguay and Ghana.

[ MORE: Group H standings, schedule, rankings ]

The opposite emotions are true for Portugal who beat Ghana 3-2 and then Uruguay 2-0 to breeze into the last 16 and they only need a point to secure top spot in Group H. Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva have been pulling the strings and this Portugal side is stacked in attack with Rafael Leao and Joao Felix rotated in and out of the team to support Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Here is everything you need for South Korea vs Portugal. 


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

Kick off: 10am ET – Friday, December 2
Stadium: Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Obviously the stage is set for Heung-min Son. He is a hero in his homeland and he’s worked so hard to be fit for this tournament after the nasty facial injury but looks out of sorts on the left. Perhaps he can moved inside or slightly deeper to get on the ball more? Cho Gue-sung scored two beauties against Ghana and if South Korea can put more quality deliveries into the box, they will cause problems. They simply have to go all-out for the win and that approach saw them deliver their best play of the tournament in the second half against Ghana. However, South Korea’s Portuguese coach Paulo Bento was sent off at the end of that disappointing defeat to Ghana as he was unhappy with a late corner not being allowed as the final whistle was blown. He will miss this game through suspension. 

For Portugal it’s about resting key players and warming up for their last 16 clash. Winning the group is essential as that means they would face one of Serbia, Switzerland or Cameroon in the last 16 rather than Brazil. It is very unlikely Portugal won’t finish top, but it could happen. Basically, Ghana would have to win big to overturn a three-goal difference by beating Uruguay and Portugal would also have to lose against South Korea. It could happen but Fernando Santos can rotate his team and still have so much quality on the pitch as Goncalo Ramos, Diogo Dalot, Matheus Nunes and Rafael Leao could all start.


South Korea quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 28
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 10
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from AFC
Coach: Paulo Bento
Key players: Heung-min Son, Young-gwon Kim, In-beom Hwang, Woo-yeong Jeong

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


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

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The World Cup 2022 odds are already 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 one of the eight groups, were posted.

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
  • 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!


World Cup 2022 odds – winners (As of December 2)

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 +225
Argentina +475
France +500
Spain +600
England +900
Portugal +1200
Netherlands +1800
Croatia +3300
Uruguay +6600
Japan +6600
Switzerland +10000
USA +10000
Morocco +10000
Senegal +10000
Serbia +20000
Poland +25000
Australia +25000
Ghana +75000
South Korea +100000
Cameroon +200000

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


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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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!