The United States are back at the FIFA World Cup for the first time since 2014 and they opened the tournament with a 1-1 draw against Wales.
Gregg Berhalter’s side dominated large periods of the play in the first half and took the lead through Timothy Weah. The United States started strong and dominated the game in the early stages. However, the introduction of Kieffer Moore revitalised Wales in the second half and The Dragons rescued a point courtesy of a Gareth Bale penalty.
The United States will be aiming for a strong performance in this year’s tournament in Qatar and will be hoping to progress from a challenging group consisting of Wales, England and Iran. The Stars and Stripes will face a strong England side in their next game - the Three Lions are high on confidence after a comprehensive 6-2 win in their opener.
Berthalter has named a youthful squad for Qatar and the spine of his team consists of promising young players such as Cristian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Giovanni Reyna and Tyler Adams who are all under the age of 25. The United States achieved success during the Gold Cup last year and will be hoping to channel that winning mentality in Qatar 2022.
But who is Gregg Berhalter and what are his team’s chances of succeeding in Qatar 2022?
Who is Gregg Berhalter?
Gregg Berhalter is a 49-year-old American football coach and former player. He has been the manager of the United States since 2018.
As a player Berhalter’s primary position was central defender and he began his career in the Dutch top flight with FC Zwolle before moving on to join fellow Eredivisie side Sparta Rotterdam. The central defender had a brief spell at Crystal Palace in 2001/02 where he played under the management of Steve Bruce and Trevor Francis.
Berhalter went on to have spells in Germany with Energie Cottbus and 1860 Munich, he ended his career at LA Galaxy in 2011 and played alongside former England international David Beckham. Berhalter was a regular for the United States throughout his career and he was capped on 44 occasions. He represented The Stars and Stripes in the 2002 and 2006 World Cup.
Berhalter got his first full managerial role in December 2011 with Hammarby IF in Sweden’s second tier. The American was assigned the task of getting Hammarby IF back into the top flight but failed to achieve promotion in his two seasons with the club - he was sacked in 2013 after 18 months in charge.
Berhalter returned to the MLS in November 2013 as manager of Columbus Crew and it was during this period that he established himself as an up and coming manager. The 49-year-old guided Columbus Crew to the play-offs in four of his five seasons with the club and guided them to an MLS cup final in 2015 which they lost 2-1 to Portland Timbers.
The United States failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia after a poor qualification campaign - it was the first time they had missed out on a major tournament since 1986. As a result the United States sacked manager Bruce Arena and replaced him with Berhalter.
Since arriving as United States manager, Berhalter has revamped the team and has harnessed the ability of youngsters such as Sergino Dest, Giovanni Reyna and Tyler Adams.
Berhalter guided the United States to the final of the 2019 Gold Cup but fell to a 1-0 defeat to Mexico. He avenged this loss two years later with a 2-1 victory against Mexico. Berhalter has enjoyed a strong record since becoming national team manager and has won 36 of his 56 games in charge so far.
What is the USA’s FIFA ranking?
The United States head into the FIFA World Cup as the 16th highest ranked team in the FIFA rankings. This makes the United States the second highest ranked team in Group B. England are currently ranked fifth in the FIFA rankings - Wales are 19th and Iran are ranked 20th.
Who is the United States men’s captain?
Tyler Adams will lead the United States into the World Cup as captain. The 23-year-old was signed by Leeds United over the summer and has proven a key player for Jesse March’s side since joining the club. The American midfielder has adapted well to Premier League life and has put in a number of impressive displays most notably against Chelsea and Liverpool.
Adams also presents great versatility for Berhalter’s side in the World Cup and is capable of playing as a fullback or a winger on either side of the defence and midfield. At just 23 years of age he has already represented his country on 32 occasions, scoring one goal.