Predicting the USMNT roster for the 2022 World Cup

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There are still transfers to be completed, a pair of September friendlies, and plenty of club form to persuade Gregg Berhalter, but a quartet of summer matches for the United States men’s national team means predicting the USMNT roster for the 2022 World Cup comes with precious few conditionals.

Of course there will be a few more injuries to consider and there’s always at least one surprise — Julian Green, anyone? — but Berhalter’s men have played a wealth of games in a variety of conditions ahead of raising the caliber of competition in November.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from El Salvador 1-1 USMNT ]

That, perhaps, is this coach’s biggest remaining hurdle, knowing which men who’ve navigated the mess and fury of CONCACAF can successfully make their way through England, Wales, and Iran and then, of course, whoever’s next in the knockout rounds.

Some of this can be done via the same personnel and a good tactical plan, for sure, but which center backs are best suited to deal with what comes next, should the team arrive past the group stage? Which of the club’s nascent center forwards will make the most of precious chances in Qatar.

Again, there will be injuries to consider and more nebulous questions like whether Premier League backups Zack Steffen and Matt Turner can quickly find their No. 1 shirt form in a short pre-tournament preparation window, but we’re in a period where discussing the path forward is as easy as it’s going to be at almost any point before the tournament proper: the 2022 World Cup.

Projecting the USMNT’s 2022 World Cup roster

There is one last variable to consider, and that’s the size of the squad. Qatar may see a 23-man roster become a 26-man, so we’re going to put asterisks next to the three next men up (or last men off).

And remember, these are the players we believe Berhalter will choose for the World Cup, not necessarily the players we believe best comprise a team. After all, he’s the expert regarding the individual attitudes and collective chemistry of the bunch, as well as the man with the tactical plans and their associated ins and outs.

Goalkeepers (3)

Locks: Matt Turner, Zack Steffen

Probable: Sean Johnson

Wildcards: Ethan Horvath, Gaga Slonina

Horvath (currently) misses out because he’s not playing regularly, though a transfer may come before the Nottingham Forest man begins the 2022-23 Premier League season. Slonina could normally be included in order to wisen the teenager to the tests of a World Cup, but Berhalter will and probably should bring NYCFC’s Johnson because of familiarity, experience, and regular playing time.

USMNT
Matt Turner. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Defenders (8*)

Locks: Walker Zimmerman, Antonee Robinson, Sergino Dest, Chris Richards, Aaron Long

Probable: DeAndre Yedlin, Reggie Cannon

Last man in: Cameron Carter-Vickers*

Wildcards: John Brooks, Joe Scally, George Bello, Erik Palmer-Brown, Shaq Moore, Mark McKenzie, Tim Ream

This one’s borderline impossible. The fact that Berhalter has not recalled John Brooks following Miles Robinson’s achilles injury means one (or more) of three things; Brooks is either a net-negative to the locker room, or Berhalter doesn’t see him as a starter but doesn’t need to see any more of him to include him in the group. Long is not as multi-dimensional as several other CBs in the pool but Berhalter clearly loves him for his system. Like Turner, he doesn’t fit the bill in certain technical areas but absolutely sidles up to the spirit camp with no problem.

We’ll lean away from the latter and say the final spot, presuming eight, comes down to Celtic’s Cameron Carter-Vickers and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Joe Scally. The latter’s versatility could work for him — see the section on midfielders — but Carter-Vickers’ form at Celtic had some mentioning him as a possible Scottish Premiership Player of the Year and it feels like Berhalter will add a fourth center back. That could also, however, bode well for Tim Ream, who’s been used by the NT as a left back in the past.

USMNT
Walker Zimmerman (right) with Christian Pulisic (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

Midfielders (9*)

Locks: Tyler Adams, Yunus Musah, Weston McKennie, Brendan Aaronson, Luca de la Torre, Kellyn Acosta

Probable: Cristian Roldan, Gianluca Busio

Last man in: James Sands*

Wildcards: Malik Tillman, Djordje Mihailovic, Sebastian Lletget, Paxton Pomykal

No player has surged further up the priority list this summer than Musah, who is still so raw but showing that he only gets better when used consistently in the middle. Though that is unlikely to happen at Valencia, the warm-up series for Qatar will be enough for the bright and rapid ball mover.

Acosta earned his spot in qualifying and De la Torre over the last month, while Roldan and Busio have seemingly produced resumes beyond exclusion.

There are some big questions, starting with whether Malik Tillman’s switch to the U.S. shirt from Germany came with plans of Qatar and beyond… or just the beyond.

The versatility and age of Sands (CB or CM), Scally (WB or W), and Aaronson (CM or F) give Berhalter so many options if he wants to carry one more “luxury player” along with them.

USMNT
Yunus Musah (Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Forwards (6*)

Locks: Christian Pulisic, Timothy Weah, Giovanni Reyna

Probable: Paul Arriola, Jesus Ferreira

Last man in: Jordan Morris*

Wild cards: Haji Wright, Jordan Pefok, Ricardo Pepi

There are no certainties beyond Pulisic and Weah, though Reyna is a lock assuming health (which Is a little bold at this point). FC Dallas duo Arriola and Ferreira seem likelihoods for the plan due to Berhalter’s usage and Morris gets the edge over Pefok and Pepi if he continues his upward path after returning from ACL surgery. After all, he’s been used by Berhalter in nearly every game since he’s been able to step on the pitch. If that was to give him every chance to fail, then shame on us for not seeing it, but his late goal in El Salvador is going to linger in many memories. However, if Wright secures a permanent move away from Sonderjyske, as expected, he has every chance to force his way above anyone listed “probable” or below. The same can be said for Pefok and Pepi, to a lesser extent.

USMNT
Christian Pulisic (Photo by MARVIN RECINOS / AFP) (Photo by MARVIN RECINOS/AFP via Getty Images)


How to Watch the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar

 You can live stream the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Peacock in Spanish, or on FOX and FS1 in English.

  • When: November 20, 2022 to December 18, 2022
  • Group stage game kick-off times: 5am, 8am, 11am, 2pm (all ET)
  • Location: Qatar
  • TV channel in English: Fox
  • TV channels in Spanish: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock
  • World Cup in Spanish: Peacock

RELATED: 2022 Qatar preview, rules, format, rosters, match info & more

 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!

Yassine Bounou stops three Spain penalties as Morocco advances at World Cup

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Yassine Bounou stopped three Spain penalties after making just one save over 120 minutes of Morocco’s 0-0 (3-0 pens) win in the World Cup Round of 16 on Tuesday at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan.

Achraf Hakimi sealed the penalties when he joined Abdelhamid Sabiri and Hakim Ziyech in converting his chance — Unai Simon did stop Badr Banoune’s attempt — and Morocco sealed a place in the quarterfinals versus the winner of Portugal vs Switzerland. The Atlas Lions are the first World Cup quarterfinalist since Ghana beat the United States in the 2010 Round of 16.

WATCH MOROCCO v SPAIN FULL MATCH REPLAY

Morocco has been a pleasant surprise at this tournament, winning Group F in unbeaten fashion. They have a talented core and their relatively new head coach Walid Regragui has done a superb job to knit them together as a unit. They have been so tough to break down.

Luis Enrique’s Spain started the World Cup in stunning fashion with that 7-0 win against Costa Rica but their performances in a draw against Germany and a defeat against Japan left a lot to be desired. The Group E runners-up will lament letting 77 percent possession and a 13-6 shot advantage go for naught as Sergio Busquets, Carlos Soler, and Pablo Sarabia were all saved by Sevilla backstop Bounou.

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


Stars of the show

Rodri

Noussair Mazraoui

Unai Simon

Romain Saiss

Jordi Alba

Sofiane Boufal


Unai Simon save video


How to watch Morocco vs Spain live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET – Tuesday, December 6 
Stadium: Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Morocco’s stars have shone at this World Cup with Hakim Ziyech so dangerous in attack, plus Achraf Hakimi exceptional at right back, while Sofyan Amrabat has been a rock in central midfield and Romain Saiss has led by example in defense. The main thing to love about this Morocco side is their unity and they are so tough to play against and are very well-organized. But when they get the chance to get on the ball, they are direct and their wide players come to life quickly.

Spain’s talents are well known as Gavi and Pedri run the show in midfield but Enrique needs more from his attackers. Morata has finished off chances well so far but the likes of Dani Olmo, Ferran Torres, Marco Asensio and Ansu Fati need to kick on if Spain are going to make a deep run in this tournament.


Morocco quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 22
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 6
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CAF
Coach: Vahid Halilhodzic
Key players: Achraf Hakimi, Yassine Bounou, Youssef En-Nesyri, Romain Saiss, Hakim Ziyech
At the 2022 World Cup – Won Group F with 7 points from 9 (+3 GD)

Spain quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 7
World Cup titles: 1 (2010)
World Cup appearances: 16
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Luis Enrique
Key players: Rodri, Pedri, Pau Torres, Jordi Alba
At the 2022 World Cup – Finished second in Group E with 4 points (+6 GD)


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, while Germany, Denmark and Belgium all crashed out in the group stage.

From the USMNT and England getting out of their group to Lionel Messi dragging Argentina through and Mexico just missing out on getting out of the group stages and amid upsets galore, there are plenty of intriguing games in the latter stages.

[ MORE: World Cup rosters for all 32 teams ]

We now have the small matter of 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
  • 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 vs Spain (preview) – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am

Match 56 – Tuesday, December 6: Portugal vs Switzerland (preview) – 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: Netherlands vs Argentina – 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 France – 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


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

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Portugal and Switzerland meet Tuesday with a 2022 World Cup quarterfinal berth on the line in Lusail.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portuguese have a EURO during his tenure with the team but have never won the World Cup. That, of course, can change this month with Bruno Fernandes now the focal point of the attack.

STREAM LIVE PORTUGAL v SWITZERLAND

Switzerland, meanwhile, will feel it has as good a chance as any to make a run in the tournament having beaten Cameroon and Serbia while staying within a goal of world No. 1 Brazil in a close group stage loss.

Portugal opened the tournament with a slim and thrilling 3-2 win over Ghana, then topping Uruguay 2-0 before further dooming the Uruguayan side by falling 2-1 to South Korea in Al Rayyan

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

Here is everything you need for Portugal vs Switzerland.


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

Kick off: 2pm ET, Tuesday Dec. 6
Stadium: Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Portugal’s complete team is something to behold as Ruben Dias, Ruben Neves, and Bruno Fernandes give the side a robust spine that can be topped just as robustly by Cristiano Ronaldo when the great player is at his best in terms of defying the age 37.

The Swiss have seen Breel Embolo as a threat up top but the backs and midfield have so many tough nuts to crack with Granit Xhaka operating atop Manuel Akanji and Fabian Schar.


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

Switzerland quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 15
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 12
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Murat Yakin
Key players: Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri, Yann Sommer, Remo Freuler

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2022 World Cup top goalscorers: Updated leaders for the FIFA World Cup Golden Boot

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The 2022 FIFA World Cup features 32 nations competing in soccer’s biggest event in Qatar, the first World Cup ever held in the Middle East. This year marks the final edition of the tournament with a 32-nation field – that number is set to increase to 48 for the 2026 World Cup, which will have venues across the United States, Mexico and Canada.

This year’s Copa Mundial looks different for several reasons, including the dates (due to Qatar’s intense summer heat, the schedule was shifted to November-December instead of its traditional summer timing). But as always, the event features the world’s top fútbol nations vying for global glory as well as individual awards for top performers, including the coveted prize for attacking players: the Golden Boot.

At the last iteration of the World Cup, England’s Harry Kane, also a star for Premier League side Tottenham, took home the award thanks to his six goals, which likely helped soften the blow of the Three Lions falling 2-0 to Belgium in the third-place match. One of the top storylines to watch at this year’s World Cup is the swan song for two of the game’s biggest stars: Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Portugal’s Christiano Ronaldo. Neither player has ever won the Golden Boot, and neither of their teams has won the World Cup during their tenures. Defending champions France will likely field some contenders for the award, including Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud. For more on the latest Golden Boot standings, odds and predictions throughout the tournament, follow along with ProSoccerTalk and NBC Sports Edge.

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


What is the Golden Boot?

The Golden Boot is the award given to the top goal-scorer at each edition of the World Cup. If at the conclusion of the tournament two or more players are tied at the top of the list with the same number of goals, the award will go to the player with the most non-penalty goals, and if they are still tied, it will go to the player with the most assists. While there has always been a top goal-scorer at the tournament, the specific award has been given since 1982. It was known as “The Golden Show” until its re-christening in 2010.

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

Who are the top scorers at 2022 World Cup?

1. Kylian Mbappe (France) – 5
2. Enner Valencia (Ecuador) – 3
3. Cody Gakpo (Netherlands) – 3
4. Marcus Rashford (England) – 3
5. Alvaro Morata (Spain) – 3
6. Lionel Messi (Argentina) – 3
7. Olivier Giroud (France) – 3
8. Bukayo Saka (England) – 3
9. Richarlison (Brazil) – 3
10. Ferran Torres (Spain) – 2
11. Andrej Kramaric (Croatia) – 2
12. Mehdi Taremi (Iran) – 2
13. Bruno Fernandes (Portugal) – 2
14. Mohammed Kudus (Ghana) – 2
15. Cho Gue-Sung (South Korea) – 2
16. Breel Embolo (Switzerland) – 2
17. Salem Al Dawsari (Saudi Arabia) – 2
18. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Serbia) – 2
19. Kai Havertz (Germany) – 2
20. Vincent Aboubakar (Cameroon) – 2
21. Niclas Fullkrug (Germany) – 2
22. Ritsu Doan (Japan) – 2
23. Giorgian de Arrascaeta (Uruguay) – 2
24. Julian Alvarez (Argentina) – 2
25. Robert Lewandowski (Poland) – 2

World Cup top scorers
Getty Images

All past Golden Boot winners (1982-2018)

1982: Paolo Rossi (ITA) – 6

1986: Gary Lineker (GBR) – 6

1990: Salvatore Schillaci – 6

1994: Oleg Salenko (RUS) / Hristo Stoichkov (BUL) – 6

1998: Davor Suker (CRO) – 6

2002: Ronaldo (BRA) – 8

2006 – Miroslav Klose (GER) – 5

2010 – Thomas Muller (GER) – 5

2014 – James Rodriguez (COL) – 6

2018 – Harry Kane (GBR) – 6


When is the 2022 World Cup?

The World Cup begins Sunday, November 20th with host nation Qatar taking on Ecuador in the opener. The group stage runs through December 3rd before the knockout rounds begin. The final is set to take place on Sunday, December 18th.

RELATED: USMNT squad confirmed for 2022 World Cup

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!