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World Cup 2022 Daily Preview: USMNT can punch ticket to Round of 16 with win over Iran

Only a victory gets the U.S. through to the knockout stage.

USA Training Session - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The leadup to USMNT/Iran was fun on Monday, to say the least. I’ll spare you all the details since you’ve no doubt seen the headlines, but on the field, a win and only a win gets the United States to the Round of 16 against (presumably) the winner of Group A. Speaking of Group A, things are very much up for grabs, but we know that Qatar have been eliminated. More on the scenarios later, but here’s a look ahead at what Tuesday has in store as Groups A and B wind down with simultaneous games in both time slots:

Ecuador vs. Senegal — 10:00 a.m.

How to Watch

FS1, Telemundo, Peacock (premium)

The Matchup

Ecuador can advance to the knockout round by simply getting a result. That said, La Tri can finish atop the group by simply ending the match with a better result than the Netherlands against Qatar. Senegal can advance by beating Ecuador and can win the group altogether if the Dutch fail to beat Qatar via either a draw or a loss. A Senegalese draw plus a Dutch loss by greater than 2 goals puts the African side through on goal differential.

Player to Watch: Enner Valencia

Netherlands v Ecuador: Group A - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Valencia has been the only goalscorer for La Tri in the tournament, bagging a brace for himself against Qatar and coming up with the equalizer against the Netherlands days later. Can the program’s top all-time goalscorer see his side through to the Round of 16?

Netherlands vs. Qatar — 10 a.m.

How to Watch

FOX, Universo, Peacock (premium)

The Matchup

Qatar’s fate has already been sealed as all it’s left to play for is pride in front of its home fans. It can also play a spoiler to the plans of a Netherlands side that has looked far from convincing over the first 2 matches: Oranje needed 2 late goals to defeat last Monday before settling for a draw against Ecuador on Friday. That said, the Dutch needn’t look stylish against Qatar, requiring just a result to advance, but the fact that they’ll need to hold out hope for a better result than Ecuador’s against Senegal to win the group is disappointing by their standards.

Player to Watch: Cody Gakpo

Netherlands v Ecuador: Group A - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

The moment hasn’t proven too big for the 23-year-old in his first World Cup, scoring twice thus far in the tournament. He’ll likely prove a safe bet to find the net once more against Qatar on Tuesday.

USA vs. Iran — 2 p.m.

How to Watch

FOX, Telemundo, Peacock (premium)

The Matchup

It’s cut and dry for the Americans: a win gets them into the knockout stage. The optimist would say that this shouldn’t be an issue, while the skeptic may expect this to end in a draw and the U.S. on the next flight across the pond. Whichever option you take is up to you. Iran, meanwhile, still has a shot to win the group if it beats the USMNT and if England fails to beat Wales.

Player to Watch: Gio Reyna

England v USA: Group B - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

He has to start, right? Reyna has gone on record saying that he’s fit, but we’ve not seen that much of him thus far in the World Cup. Perhaps his name will finally be among Gregg Berhalter’s XI come Tuesday afternoon.

England vs. Wales — 2 p.m.

How to Watch

FS1, Universo, Peacock (premium)

The Matchup

It’s pretty straightforward for the English: they’re through by drawing the Welsh and win the group altogether with a victory. (They’re also through if they lose to Wales by less than 6 goals and if the USMNT don’t beat Iran.) Wales need both a win on Tuesday and the U.S. to beat Iran to get through. There’s also a world where it wins the group by making up a -4 goal differential and having a better result than Iran, but there’s a non-zero chance of that happening, if we’re being completely honest.

Player to Watch: Jordan Henderson

England v USA: Group B - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Markus Gilliar - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images

The midfielder provided a spark from the moment he entered the USA-England match. One would imagine that Gareth Southgate would pencil the Liverpool man in to start on Tuesday with the Three Lions looking to punch their ticket.