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What USA-Wales draw means for USMNT chances of advancing in World Cup

The USA and Wales earned one point apiece with the draw. We break down what it means moving forward in the 2022 World Cup.

USA’s forward #21 Timothy Weah celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s first goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between USA and Wales at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 21, 2022. Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images

The United States Men’s National Team had to settle for a disappointing draw against Wales in their 2022 World Cup opener. The USA took a first half lead on a Tim Weah breakaway goal, but Walker Zimmerman committed a bad penalty in the box and Gareth Bale drilled in an equalizer in the 82nd minute.

The teams come out of the match with one apiece and now sit two points back of first place England. The Three Lions beat Iran Monday morning to secure three points in their first match. The remaining schedule features USA-England and Wales-Iran on Friday and then USA-Iran and Wales-England next Tuesday.

The top two teams in each group advance to the knockout stage after the three matches. If two teams are tied after the group stage, we move to tiebreakers. The first tiebreaker is goal differential in all of the group matches. England is a sizable favorite, so let’s assume the USA and Wales both lose to them and beat Iran. That means, the advancing squad would be the one that has the best combination of closest loss to England and biggest win over Iran. If either can tie England, that would be a big boost.

The second tiebreaker is the greatest number of goals scored in all group matches between the tied teams. It then follows by identifying the points obtained in group games between the teams involved. If one side in a two-way tie won the match against the other then it moves on. If three teams are still tied at this stage, the highest point total in games between the teams involved gets the nod.