USA and England start group play, Qatar lose

The World Cup kicked off in Qatar, after years of ready, and ESPN has you lined for the world’s greatest sporting occasion.

We have seen the opening ceremony, the pre-game speeches and the musical acts (sure, that was a member of BTS on the market!). We have seen the primary aim disallowed by VAR on the World Cup (effectively performed, Enner Valencia, for being the reply to that trivia query) and we have seen the primary objectives allowed on the World Cup too (once more, congrats to Enner Valencia, whose two objectives gave Ecuador a win over host nation Qatar.)

You’ll want to test in with ESPN all through the event as we carry the most recent from Qatar. Let’s get into it.

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The lead: USA! USA! USA!

Group B play begins vivid and early on Monday morning as England tackle Iran at Khalifa Worldwide Stadium (8 a.m. ET), however that is the mere appetizer to a scrumptious fundamental course because the U.S. start their event in opposition to Gareth Bale and Wales at Al Rayyan Stadium (2 p.m. ET).

For the USMNT, it is crucial they get off to a scorching begin as England await of their second group sport. Wales provide loads of menace due to their talisman, Gareth Bale — who had a couple of notable cameos throughout LAFC’s run to the 2022 MLS Cup this season — however the U.S. boast their full complement of stars, led by Christian Pulisic, and can be desperate to make up for what they missed out on at Russia 2018. (We can’t point out Couva. We can’t point out Couva.)

Tyler Adams has been named captain, making him the youngest U.S. skipper at a World Cup since Harry Keough in 1950, they usually’ve been lucky in avoiding vital accidents throughout pre-tournament prep, one thing that may’t be stated about France (Karim Benzema was dominated out Saturday), Senegal (Sadio Mane was dominated out Thursday) or Belgium (striker Romelu Lukaku is already out for his or her first group sport). The U.S. additionally obtained excellent news within the type of defender Sergino Dest and midfielder Weston McKennie passing health checks to face Wales.

In addition they obtained a well timed message from house, courtesy of U.S. Soccer, previous to their first match…

Forward of the sport, Sam Borden met the person accountable for feeding the staff in Doha, whereas Luis Miguel Echegaray spoke to the unbelievable ahead Tim Weah about his soccer roots and what this World Cup means to him. Coach Gregg Berhalter believes his staff “can beat anyone” in Qatar… he’ll be put to the take a look at by the Welsh on Monday, then. No strain, then!!

Information and Notes

  • Host nation Qatar fell to a 2-0 defeat in opposition to Ecuador within the World Cup’s opening sport, with weird scenes of house followers leaving effectively earlier than the ultimate whistle in droves to go away a largely pro-Ecuador setting for a lot of the second half. We lined the surrealism of day one in addition to the poor efficiency of the Qatar nationwide staff in what was basically their first sport for the worldwide viewers. In the meantime, Ecuador followers had been captured chanting “we want beer” as Qatar followers left early.

  • Is that this an indication of overcrowding and logistical points to come back? The official World Cup fan zone at Al Bidda was so overwhelmed by followers attempting to get in that they closed entry. The venue has a reported capability of 40,000, however safety providers had been pressured to push followers again as they approached the assorted entrance factors, reviews Tom Hamilton.

  • England captain Harry Kane informed the media he’ll nonetheless put on the “OneLove” armband regardless of reported threats of a nice and yellow card at kickoff as numerous European groups battle with FIFA over the host nation’s human rights document. Stated Kane, “I think we’ve made it clear as a team, as a staff and an organisation that we want to wear the armband… I think we’ve made it clear we want to wear it.”

  • Forward of their sport with England, Iran defender Ehsan Hajsafi was the primary member of Staff Melli to talk out in obvious help of anti-government protests again house. “They should know that we are with them. And we support them. And we sympathise with them regarding the conditions. We have to accept the conditions in our country are not right and our people are not happy,” he added. “We are here, but it does not mean we should not be their voice or we should not respect them.”

  • Brazil are one of many front-runners to assert the trophy in Qatar, however who will play in Thursday’s Group G sport vs. Serbia? Proper now, it is all about misdirection. “We have no idea who the starting XI are: we are curious to know what the coach will decide and the competition is relentless to secure a spot,” stated defender Alex Sandro on Sunday.

The perfect bits from as we speak

Mark Ogden loved Qatar vs. Ecuador from a sports activities bar in Doha, whereas Tom Hamilton soaked up the sights and sounds from the overcrowded fan zone.



Mark Ogden shares his expertise of watching the opening sport of the World Cup from a bar in Doha.

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What’s on faucet tomorrow

– England vs. Iran (Group B, 8 a.m. ET): The Three Lions have been the last word “nearly-there” staff in recent times, ending fourth on the 2018 World Cup after which second on the European Championships. What can they accomplish this time round? In case you’ve heard their new anthem (effectively, the most recent launch of their acquainted chorus), then “football’s coming home for Christmas,” however they’re going to want to begin out sturdy in opposition to an Iran facet that may present no worry.

– Senegal vs. Netherlands (Group A, 11 a.m. ET): We presume these two would be the sides to advance to the last-16, however Ecuador’s win over Qatar implies that a decisive consequence for one facet right here may spell doom for the opposite. Cody Gakpo is prone to take up the playmaker position within the Dutch assault, and with good cause — learn our profile of the following large switch goal right here — whereas Senegal try to determine how you can exchange injured talisman Mane, who was dominated out of the World Cup on Thursday.

– United States vs. Wales (Group B, 2 p.m. ET): What extra is there to say? The strain’s on Berhalter & Co. to fulfill the sky-high hype again house with three factors in opposition to a Wales facet that is perhaps more durable than they appear.

What else caught our eye

We had our first use of VAR on the World Cup as Enner Valencia’s third-minute aim — which might have been the fastest-ever aim in a World Cup opener — and Dale Johnson was available to elucidate why the decision was made.



Dale Johnson explains why Ecuador had a aim dominated out in complicated circumstances within the World Cup opener vs. Qatar.

Your greatest bets (odds by way of Caesars Sportsbook)

Check out how you can really wager on soccer matches as ESPN contributors Paul Carr, Dan Thomas and Dalen Cuff provides you key tips about odds, choices and futures.

Here is what we’ve got for the primary two matchdays.


Netherlands (-160) vs. Senegal (+500), Draw +255

Cuff: Netherlands look a lot better than the Euro 2020 from simply over 15 months in the past. No Sadio Mane is a dagger for Senegal. I believe the Dutch are going to come back out flying, I will take over 2.5 objectives (+115).

Carr: I am staying away from this one now that Mane is out, however that +500 worth on Senegal positive is tempting for a squad that is nonetheless defense-first.

Thomas: I believe this may very well be a good affair. I am unsure the place the objectives are going to come back from from both facet. I would take the beneath on this one. Netherlands 1-0 Senegal.


England (-290) vs. Iran (+1000), Draw +340

Carr: Can I wager the beneath for each sport on this group? Perhaps not, however I do like beneath 2.5 objectives right here (-150). Iran gave up 5 objectives in 14 qualifiers and solely allowed one aim every to Spain and Portugal 4 years in the past. England’s three group video games on the Euros final 12 months had a complete of two objectives, so till Gareth Southgate signifies that he’ll use all of England’s attacking expertise, I am going with the beneath in England video games.

Cuff: I will simply maintain saying, I am fading England. That stated, their defensive strategy in opposition to an inferior opponent will result in a win, however with out a lot type and perhaps solely a aim scored. There’s not a lot worth right here, and I do not like this sport, however I would decide England to Win to Nil (-128).

Thomas: I am not very hopeful that England can go far on this event. Nevertheless, given the weak spot of the groups round them within the group, I believe they’ll qualify simply, beginning with a cushty win in opposition to Iran within the opener. Harry Kane to attain at any time (-110) seems to be like a lay-up. England 3-0 Iran.

United States (+160) vs. Wales (+200), Draw +190

Carr: I hope this is not my American bias slipping in, however the U.S. merely has extra attacking choices than Wales, highlighted by a quartet of high quality wingers (Christian Pulisic, Brenden Aaronson, Giovanni Reyna, Timothy Weah). Due to that and Wales’ not-as-good-as-you-think protection that allowed 1.2 anticipated objectives per sport in qualifying, I am going with U.S. Draw No Guess at -135.

Cuff: Bias warning! It has been eight years since watching the U.S. in a World Cup sport. I can see this being low scoring. The younger attacking expertise hasn’t come collectively of their previous couple of friendlies. Wales is just not a dynamic attacking staff, counting on brilliance from Gareth Bale or crosses looking for Kieffer Moore’s head. There isn’t any worth in beneath performs or each groups to not rating. The unbiased transfer might be Draw +190 and even Wales Draw No Guess +105. However no emotional hedge right here — USA to win (+160).

Thomas: I do know I am not promoting it very effectively. However I fancy a 0-0 draw right here.