Three games are scheduled for day two – Monday, November 21 – of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
- England vs Iran (Group B): 4pm (13:00 GMT), Khalifa International Stadium
- Senegal vs the Netherlands (Group A): 7pm (16:00 GMT), Al Thumama Stadium
- USA vs Wales (Group A): 10pm (19:00 GMT), Ahmed bin Ali Stadium
What to expect:
- England, who finished fourth at the 2018 World Cup, are hoping for their second FIFA title after their iconic 1966 victory at Wembley Stadium. They are favourites to progress from their group based on ranking, previous results and tournament history.
- Iran, led by Manchester United assistant manager and Real Madrid coach Carlos Queiroz, enters the tournament ranked 20th and fresh off a 1-0 victory over Uruguay in September. The team, playing in their fifth World Cup, have never advanced from the group stage but they did win eight of 10 games in their World Cup qualification campaign.
Players to watch:
- England will be looking to rising stars in 19-year-old Jude Bellingham and fixtures like captain Harry Kane to end a six-game losing streak. Kane, the former Golden Boot award-winner – and the top scorer at the 2018 World Cup – is two goals away from equalling England’s top all-time scorer Wayne Rooney’s record 53 goals.
- Iran’s star striker Mehdi Taremi, supported by Sardar Azmoun and Alireza Jahanbakhshl, will lead the charge for the Iranians.
The big picture:
- The contest between Iran and the UK has been underscored by geopolitical tensions – and the historically fraught relations between the countries.
- On Sunday, England, hinting at the approaching match with Iran tweeted a photo of defensive midfielder Declan Rice with the one-word caption: “Ready.”
— England (@England) November 20, 2022
- Senegal, Africa’s highest-ranked team who won their first Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title after defeating Egypt on penalties in February, are reeling from the absence of Sadio Mane from their first-match lineup.
- Mane was ruled out of the World Cup two days before the opening match due to a leg injury, devastating fans and dealing a major blow to Senegal’s prospects in the tournament.
- “I would like to thank you all for your messages following my injury and to show you my gratitude. This Monday, [Senegal] will compete in the @fifaworldcup_fr. I am sure that the [Lions] will transcend to honour our dear country. Long live Senegal, Go Lions,” Mane tweeted on Sunday using lion and Senegalese flag emojis.
Je voudrais vous remercier tous pour vos messages suite à ma blessure et vous témoigner ma reconnaissance. Ce lundi, le 🇸🇳 va entrer en lice dans la @fifaworldcup_fr. Je suis sûr que les 🦁 vont se transcender aﬁn d‘honorer notre cher pays.
Vive le Sénégal, Allez les Lions🦁❤💪🏾 pic.twitter.com/x7a3s7dUi0
— Sadio Mané (@SMane_Officiel) November 20, 2022
- “We know that we have lost a great leader but I think that there will be more players that will show themselves and we must be ready,” defender Kalidou Koulibaly also said of Mane’s injury.
- The Netherlands, who topped their Nations League Group and are fresh off consecutive victories against Belgium, their Benelux rivals, are riding high heading into the Group A match.
Players to watch:
- Liverpool’s prolific centre-back Virgil van Dijk leads the charge for the Dutch. He’s backed up by Inter Milan’s Stefan de Vrij and Bayern Munich’s Matthijs de Ligt for the Oranje.
- With Mane sidelined, Senegal will need to strongly depend on Chelsea’s Koulibaly and RB Leipzig’s Abdou Diallo to carry the team’s offence.
- The United States, who posted an unbeaten record playing at home during their qualification campaign, enters the World Cup playing in the hotly contested Group B – nicknamed the “Group of Death” due to the fact that all four teams sit in the top 20 of the rankings. It’s their first World Cup in eight years after failing to qualify for Russia in 2018.
- Wales, meanwhile, are preparing to play in their second World Cup. The team hasn’t competed in a World Cup in 64 years – since Pele scored his first tournament goal to end the Welsh’s first – and only – run in 1958. Wales qualified after defeating Ukraine 1-0 in a playoff final qualifier in June.
- “For 64 years we’ve waited for this…” The Welsh national team tweeted Sunday.
- A win for either team could be pivotal in terms of either team’s prospects of advancing beyond the group stage in Qatar.
Players to watch:
- Team USA is anchored by “Captain America” Christian Pulisic – the priciest North American football player in history who was signed by Chelsea in 2019 for 58 million pounds ($68.5m), according to Reuters.
- For Wales, the speedy Gareth Bale, supported by midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen, will be a triple threat for the Welsh.