The quadrennial FIFA World Cup kicked off in Qatar on November 20. The Qatar national team faced off against Ecuador in a 0-2 defeat at Al Bayt Stadium in the tournament opener. Excitement levels are at their peak as the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) makes its first World Cup appearance since 2014 when it faces off against Wales this afternoon.
Known in the US as soccer, this sport is now the fourth most watched in America. It took this rank from ice hockey over eight years ago. A 2022 survey saw 13% of respondents name soccer their favorite sport.
The USMNT hopes this will be the year it can translate that popularity on the field. Furthermore, the current men’s team is being heralded as the nation’s “golden generation” with its powerhouse players. Most notable among them is the formidable Chelsea midfielder Christian Pulisic.
The United States team has one of the youngest squads in the 2022 World Cup and is hungry for a win. It is ready and willing to fight for that win. The potential is certainly there, along with support on a presidential scale.
The USMNT received a motivating call from none other than President Joe Biden, who told them, “I know you’re the underdog, but you’ve got some of the best players in the world on your team, and you’re representing this country, and I know you’re going to play your hearts out, so let’s go shock them all.”
President Biden is far from the only one rooting for the underdogs. Based on the team’s rough road to Qatar, they have shown the world they have the heart and grit to win the sport’s top prize.
United States will face off against Wales at 2 PM ET today. The nation’s hopes rest on Pulisic, who does not see this as pressure but as the motivation he needs to lead the USMNT to its ultimate glory. As for Wales, all eyes will be on former Real Madrid star Gareth Bale, following his heroics in the playoffs to land his team in the competition.
After today’s match, the USNMT will next play England on Friday, November 25, and Iran on Tuesday, November 29. Coached by Gregg Berhalter, what could be the best-ever United States Men’s National Team is ready to bring its high-tempo game and fighting spirit to the sands of Qatar.
USA: Matt Turner; Sergino Dest, Walker Zimmerman, Aaron Long, Antonee Robinson; Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Brendan Aaronson; Gio Reyna, Jesus Ferreira, Christian Pulisic
Wales: Wayne Hennessey; Ethan Ampadu, Joe Rodon, Ben Davies; Connor Roberts, Joe Allen, Aaron Ramsey, Neco Williams; Gareth Bale, Keiffer Moore, Daniel James