It is just about a month until the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the first of its kind in the history of the tournament. The participating teams are concluding preparations and squad lists will soon be announced by the managers.
A very interesting group in the upcoming tournament is Group B, which features England, Islamic Republic of Iran, USA and Wales. Football is not what makes this group interesting, but the underlying political tension between each nation.
Overlyzer took a look at the facts behind the opening game of Group B in the 2022 World Cup based on the England Iran World Cup odds.
Form guide: England
The 1966 World Cup hosts and champions have since struggled to attain the heights they did in those years. They have produced talent after talent in all areas of the pitch but have struggled to make any headway in most of the tournaments they have participated in.
Their most recent success and failure came within a year of each other. The Three Lions were finalists in the 2020 European Championship but lost narrowly to Italy on penalties on their own turf. It was expected to be a triumph similar to their World Cup victory but the football gods had something else in mind. It went downhill from there. Manager Gareth Southgate began to struggle with player management and team selection. Eventually, England were relegated from the upper tier of European football based on the novel UEFA Nations League format.
In their Nations League group, they had to contend with Hungary, Germany and Italy. In six games, they drew three (one against Hungary and two against Germany) and lost three. The total number of goals scored was four while the total conceded was 10.
A team boasting of attacking talents like Harry Kane, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka should not be struggling as much as they have. But after taking a look at their most recent games, we have realized that their midfield is out of form.
Gareth Southgate does not have time to sort it out, unfortunately. However, their FIFA ranking compared to their World Cup opening match opponents is sure to count for something.
The quality and FIFA rankings of their opposition in the Nations League is also higher than that of Iran. Italy is ranked sixth and Germany, eleventh. Iran are only ranked higher than Hungary but it is unlikely that they will be able to best them in a game. This gives England an advantage, preparation wise.
Form guide: Iran
Iran is the highest ranked Asian team in the world. They are sitting comfortably in the number 20 spot while the next best ranked Asian team, Japan, is in number 24. This makes them an opponent to be feared, especially if you put into perspective their improvement in the rankings over the years.
Between the last World Cup and the upcoming one, Iran have gone up 12 places on the rankings. It may not seem like a lot but their improvement is also a testament to the improvement in the quality of Asian football. For context, alongside 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 off against Senegal and Uruguay during the last international break and came away undefeated from both matches. They beat Uruguay by a lone goal and scored a 1 – 1 draw against the African champions. Both teams are among the expected teams to make it to the quarter final stages of the upcoming World Cup.
The major takeaway from their last 10 games is their lacklustre finishing. This could play into England’s hands on November 21, as both teams open Group B in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Qatar v Ecuador: Head to head
Both teams have never met in their history. This makes it difficult to pool enough data to analyze. This also means that the England-Iran World Cup odds are solely dependent on the form of both teams coming into this historic and politically-charged fixture.
Both teams were among the first to qualify for the tournament from their confederations. Poor form or not, it is going to be a matchup of highly experienced teams. Grit, however, more than tactical superiority, will be the deciding factor for this clash.
England will enter the match as the 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 be up against Iran’s dynamic 4-5-1. However, Iran’s line striker formation could bite them in the behind when faced with England’s pacy 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.