How does USA advance at World Cup? We track all Group B scenarios


After a likely three points turned into one for the U.S. on Monday night with a 1-1 draw against Wales, there are a number of scenarios that will dictate whether the team has a medium- or long-term future to the 2022 World Cup.

England’s emphatic victory over Iran has given the Three Lions control of Group B, but things can change quickly. And with everything to play for, the strange and wonderful world of sports statistics makes it possible that the USA could miss out on qualifying by five points, or make it by just two.

Here we break down all the results and obstacles as Gregg Berhalter’s American squad tries to find a way through the minefield. So get ready to watch the all-important score and goal difference.

Naturally, whatever combination of results happens on Friday, when the U.S. takes on England hours after Wales meet Iran, will determine what everyone needs to do moving forward after Game 3.

PERMUTATIONS AND SCENARIOS:

If the USA beats England and Wales, Iran wins: The US would then be guaranteed to advance with a win or a draw against Iran. A defeat against Iran would eliminate the USA, unless Wales lose to England AND finish behind the Americans on goal difference.

If USA beat England and Wales/Iran draw: The US would be guaranteed to advance with a win or a draw against Iran. If they lose against Iran, they will be guaranteed to go into a two-way or three-way tie-breaker, whatever happens in England-Wales.

If USA beat England and Iran beat Wales: USA would be guaranteed to advance with a win or tie against Iran. The USA would be eliminated with a loss to Iran, but only IF England beat Wales. If the U.S. loses to Iran and England-Wales ends in a tie, or Wales wins, the U.S. enters a tiebreaker for second place.

Where does the USMNT go from here?

Where does the USMNT go from here?

Stu Holden, Landon Donovan, Alexi Lalas, Clint Dempsey and Maurice Edu react to the USA’s draw with Wales and discuss what to expect from the young team moving forward.

If the USA draws with England and Wales, Iran wins: The US would be automatically eliminated if they fail to beat Iran. If Iran wins and there is a winner in the England-Wales match, the USA would advance into second place. If Iran win and England-Wales is a draw, there would be a three-way tie-breaker to decide the group.

If USA draw with England and Wales/Iran draw: The United States would be automatically eliminated with a loss to Iran and would be guaranteed qualification with a win. If the USA drew with Iran, they would advance if England beat Wales, but would be eliminated if Wales beat England. If both USA-Iran and England-Wales are tied, second place will be USA-Wales, which will be decided by tiebreaker, starting with goal difference.

If the United States draws with England and Iran beats Wales: The US would advance with a win over Iran and be eliminated with any other result.

“We have to keep our heads high”

"We must hold our heads high"

Tyler Adams talks about the Americans’ mentality after the 1-1 draw with Wales.

If USA loses to England and Wales Iran wins: The US would be automatically eliminated if they fail to beat Iran. If Iran win, they are still eliminated if Wales avoid defeat against England. If Iran wins and England beat Wales, second place would be determined by the tiebreaker system, starting with goal difference.

If USA lose to England and Wales/Iran draw: The USA would be eliminated with a loss to Iran. The USA would advance with a win against Iran, unless Wales beat England. If the US draws Iran, it could still possibly advance, but only if Wales lose to England in a three-way tie for second place.

If USA loses to England and Iran beats Wales: The US would be automatically eliminated if they fail to beat Iran. If they beat Iran, they would advance UNLESS Wales beat England AND finish with a better goal difference.

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