The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is just over a month away, the first of its kind in the history of the tournament. Participating teams are finalizing their preparations and the squad lists will be announced by the managers soon.
A very interesting group in the upcoming tournament is Group B which includes England, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the USA, and Wales. Football does not make this group interesting, but rather the underlying political tension between each country.
Overlyzer takes a look at the facts behind Group B’s opening game at the 2022 World Cup based on England-Iran World Cup odds.
Farm Guide: England
The 1966 World Cup hosts and champions have since struggled to match the heights they achieved in those years. They have produced talent after talent in all areas of the pitch but have struggled to progress in most of the tournaments they have entered.
Their most current success and failure got here within a year of every other. The Three Lions were finalists at the 2020 European Championship but lost to Italy on penalties on their own turf. It was hoped for a victory similar to their World Cup win, but the football gods had something else in mind. It went downhill from there. Manager Gareth Southgate started out to battle with participant control and crew selection. Eventually, England was relegated from the top tier of European football based on the novel UEFA Nations League format.
In their Nations League group, they faced Hungary, Germany, and Italy. In six games, they drew three (one toward Hungary and toward Germany) and misplaced three. The total number of goals scored was four while the total number of goals conceded was 10.
A team boasting attacking talents like Harry Kane, Phil Foden, and Bokaio Saka shouldn’t struggle as much as they have. But after taking a look at their recent games, we have noticed that their midfield is out of form.
Unfortunately, Gareth Southgate doesn’t have time to sort it out. However, their FIFA ranking compared to their World Cup-opening opponents is certainly going to count for something.
The quality of their opposition in the Nations League and the FIFA ranking is also higher than in Iran. Italy is sixth and Germany is eleventh. Iran is only higher than Hungary but is unlikely to beat them in a game. This gives England an advantage in terms of preparation.
Farm Guide: Iran
Iran is the highest-ranked Asian team in the world. They sit comfortably at 20th while the next best-ranked Asian team, Japan, is at 24th. This makes them a fearsome competitor, especially if you look at the improvement in their rankings over the years.
Between the last World Cup and the upcoming World Cup, Iran has moved up 12 places in the ranking. It may not seem like much but their improvement is also a testament to the improvement in the quality of Asian football. For context, along with Australia, Iran was one of only two AFC teams in the top 50 of the FIFA rankings. Now, there are five AFC teams in the top 50.
Iran faced Senegal and Uruguay during the last international break and went unbeaten in both matches. They beat Uruguay by a single goal and drew 1–1 against the African champions. Both teams are among the expected teams to make it to the quarter-final stage of the upcoming World Cup.
The biggest takeaway from their last 10 games is their poor finishing. It could play into England’s hands on November 21, as both teams open Group B at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Qatar vs Ecuador: Head to Head
The two teams have never faced each other in their history. This makes it difficult to collect enough data for analysis. It also means that England and Iran’s World Cup odds depend on the form of both teams coming into this historically and politically charged match.
Both teams were among the first teams from their confederations to qualify for the tournament. Bad form or not, this will be a match of very experienced teams. Grit, however, more than tactical superiority, will be the deciding factor in this clash.
England will enter the match as favorites, and the England-Iran World Cup odds will continue to shift in their favor as the tournament approaches. England’s 4-3-3 will play against Iran’s dynamic 4-5-1. However, Iran’s line-striker formation could cut them back when faced with England’s fast defense.
England is listed as the home team in this match. Therefore, a double chance bet of 1 or X is the safest bet for this match.