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World Cup

Mexico, Messi’s Argentina land in same World Cup group

The United States and England paired in same quartet

Mexico and Lio Messi’s Argentina were drawn into Group C together Friday for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The United States and England were drawn into Group B along with Iran and the winner of the final spot from Europe.

The two bitter CONCACAF rivals were put in four-team groups with the fourth and fifth-ranked teams in the FIFA rankings, but they should still be strong enough to advance to the knockout stage.

Argentina is currently ranked No. 4 in the world, one spot ahead of England in the FIFA rankings. Much could change between now and No. 21, when Qatar opens the World Cup on Nov. 21.

But El Tri and U.S. fans had to like their groups.

Mexico, which is ranked ninth, and Argentina are grouped with 26th ranked Poland and 49th ranked Saudi Arabia. Fifth ranked England and the U.S. are grouped with Iran.

U.S. coach Berhalter ’excited’

“We’re excited about our group and we’re looking forward to getting started on our preparations,” U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said. “I think overall, there are some difficult groups across the board.

“In our group in particular, we have England, who is a very strong team, and we have two opponents that we need to go deeper on. We don’t really know Iran that well, and then we have the unknown of who wins the UEFA Playoff. We won’t know that until June, but it’s exciting. We’ll be waiting on the edge of our seats to see who advances.”

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The fourth team in Group B will be determined between Ukraine, Scotland and Wales. The winner between Ukraine and Scotland will face Wales for the final spot in Group B.

“There is no easy group,” Mexico soccer federation president Yon de Luisa said. “In a World Cup the games are difficult, and we have to prepare very well to have a good World Cup.

“We will enjoy this with all the passion our players and our great fans that we have.”

Brazil aims for sixth World Cup title

No. 1 ranked Brazil, the only five-time World Cup winner, headlines Group G. Neymar and his teammates were grouped with Cameroon, Serbia and Switzerland.

Host Qatar is in Group A with The Netherlands, Senegal and Ecuador. Defending champion France leads Group D with Denmark and Tunisia. The final member of that group will be determined between Australia, Peru and the United Arab Emirates. 

Group E appears toughest for 2022 World Cup

Groups E and F should be the most treacherous,, but Group E seems the most difficult overall. If any group deserves the trite “Group of Death” title, Group E is it for Qatar 2022.

Germany, the 2014 World Cup champion and four-time winner, and 2010 champion Spain anchor Group E. Spain is ranked No. 7 in the world, five spots ahead of Germany.

Japan and the winner between Costa Rica and New Zealand’s playoff game on June 13 or June 14 in Qatar will complete the Group E field.

Group F features No. 2 ranked Belgium and Canada, which finished ahead of Mexico and the United States to lead the CONCACAF qualifying table. 

Croatia and Morocco. Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea comprise Group H.

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