The USMNT could have put themselves in far better position to get out of the World Cup group stages with a win over Wales, but unfortunately, Gareth Bale’s late equalizer resulted in the teams splitting the points. Wales and the USMNT tied 1-1 on Monday in their first taste of World Cup action, and it’s a result that will have an important impact on Group B.
What USMNT draw vs. Wales means for World Cup chances
With England picking up all three points in a dominant display against Iran, the Three Lions are now ahead of the group. Wales and the USMNT have one point apiece, while Iran remains without a point following their 6-2 defeat. Failing to get the job done against Wales will make things more difficult going forward for Gregg Berhalter and Co.
Barring any wildly surprising results, England should comfortably win Group B, as they’ll be favored against both Wales and the USMNT. Obviously, a lot can change during the group stages with an upset, but England should feel confident in its chances of advancing to the next round. Assuming the USMNT can pick up a win over Iran, their fate could rest in the outcome of the looming Wales-England game.
If the USMNT loses to England and beats Iran, they’ll have four points from the group. It can reasonably be expected that Wales would have similar results in their upcoming fixtures, which would mean the USMNT and Wales would end the group stages knotted at four points. Since the top two teams of the group advance to the next stage of the tournament, the deciding tiebreaker between Wales and the USMNT will be the teams’ goal differential.
That means getting the job done against Iran will not only be crucial, but the USMNT will have to win that game in convincing fashion, while also avoiding a damaging loss against England.
Should the USMNT and Wales be tied in points and goal differential, the next factor to come into play will be total goal output. Whichever team scored more goals in the group stages would be given the advantage and advance. After this, should there still not be anything to separate the two teams would be to see how they fared in their head-to-head matchup, though seeing as the USMNT and Wales tied, this won’t come into play.
There are a few other tiebreakers that would need to be addressed, ranging from points total against teams in the group to disciplinary records including the number of yellow and red cards players received.
In short, virtually every aspect of each game has the potential to impact the USMNT down the line as it looks to make a run in the World Cup, and their result against Wales will certainly make things more difficult to navigate going forward.
The USMNT is slated to face England on Friday, Nov. 25 and Iran on Tuesday, Nov. 29, which will round out their group stage matches. Depending upon how the rest of their matches go, and how their opponents fare, there’s a long range of outcomes for the USMNT in the World Cup after the draw vs. Wales.