The Qatar World Cup Preview Issue
November 2022

Original artwork by Lauren Ariane Milani,

#We Believe
The wait is over.  It’s been eight long years since the U.S. played in the World Cup. We are four years into the Gregg Berhalter system. And there are more U.S. players on international clubs than ever before in history. But will all these numbers add up to success for the USMNT in Qatar?

Let’s hope their performance in the two losses in Sept. is not an indication of what to expect from the team. Does the fact that MLS players were called in in October for a pre-World Cup fitness camp mean that weeks before the World Cup, management was still tinkering with the lineup? 

The good news is the U.S. is in a relatively easy group, facing England, Iran and Wales, with only one team ranked higher than them in the FIFA rankings. The not-so-great news,  the squad's average age is 25.48, making this the second-youngest for the U.S. in World Cup history. Only one player remains from the 2014 team, DeAndre Yedlin, creating a serious void in veteran leadership.

But these kids are alright. We’ve watched these young men fight and claw, defeat old rivals, and battle through a tough Concacaf qualifying phase. The truth is this is a team of outstanding and talented players, with many who have the international experience to not be intimidated on the world stage. They will give their all for their country.

Here we go!

USMNT World Cup Matches
Group B: Iran, England, USA, Wales
Monday, Nov. 21: USA vs Wales, 2:00 p.m. ET
Friday, Nov. 25:  England vs USA, 2:00 p.m. ET
Tuesday, Nov. 29: USA vs Iran, 2:00 p.m. ET

These are the 26 players heading to Qatar to represent the U.S. in this year’s World Cup –

Get fired up about the squad and the World Cup with the videos and pictures below:

  • Murals of Our U.S. World Cup Players.
  • Only Forward, narrated by Jack Harlow.
  • Every USA World Cup goal – all 37! – produced by Kevin Shirka, a long-time U.S. soccer super fan. Shirka created the first video compilation in 2011 and has been painstakingly working to update this version to be ready before the World Cup. It includes new rare content – 2002 HD footage and the 1930 USA Belgium match footage – plus authentically colorized animations.

The Elephant in the Room
To quote Charles Dickens — 'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …' That sums up what many are feeling as we approach the 2022 World Cup–torn between the sheer joy of watching the world’s most anticipated tournament and grasping the ugliness of how we landed on the host nation. The bumpy road to Qatar began with the allegations of bribery and corruption that surrounded the bid, includes the human rights issues that have plagued the country the past seven years, and has finally wound its way to the host's expected welcoming of fans, teams and media. This will be a World Cup like no other. 

For the millions who watch on tv, not much will look different. It will be interesting, however for those in attendance. Consuming alcohol in public is illegal in Qatar. Same-sex relationships are illegal in Qatar. And the government just recently imposed restrictions on media, barring international broadcasters from filming in official locations.

Yet despite the controversies, protests and anyone claiming it’s just morally wrong to hold this tournament, it will take place. Grown men will cry. Strangers will embrace. And one country’s team will emerge as kings of the world. The football will go on.

FIFA last week issued a letter telling all 32 world cup nations to focus on the football and not the politics of the event. They have to rationalize this and try to put some positive spin on it. There have been other examples of sports washing this fiasco, including what legacy this World Cup will have, and I’ll be reporting more on that in the next issue.

However, you stand on all of this, every four years the world comes to a collective pause to cheer their country and the world, and that will happen again in a few days. To say this World Cup will be unique is an understatement. Hopefully, what will be highlighted and remembered most will be largely positive. 


  • FIFA president Gianni Infantino and general secretary Fatma Samoura sent a message to all nations participating in the 2022 World Cup.
  • Why I’m Boycotting the World Cup in Qatar and So Should You. Howler Magazine published this article during the summer by an author who cannot, will not watch. 
  • World Corrupt podcast. Men in Blazers’ host Roger Bennett and Pod Save the World’s Tommy Vietor join forces to host this six-part series that delves into the corruption, the morally bankrupt tournament and the sports washing taking place to make this World Cup palatable.

FOX, Football, and Fans – All Things World Cup
FOX Sports begins its second stint as World Cup broadcast hosts, with live coverage of every match. Telemundo is airing every match en español, and Peacock is your streaming channel. FOX coverage includes a stellar team of commentators led by John Strong and Stu Holden. Former U.S. nationals Clint Dempsey, Carli Lloyd and Landon Donovan will be making their FOX Sports World Cup broadcaster debuts in Qatar.

The network has teased the upcoming World Cup with a series of commercials starring Jon Hamm as Santa. Jon Hamm has a crush on Progressive's Flo and I love it. But he’s good as Santa Hamm too. ’Tis the World Cup campaign finds the folks in charge of running Christmas ops facing a dilemma with this year’s tournament taking place during what is normally Santa-time. Celebs pop in and out, promises are made, and we get to see cameos of the U.S. players.

As for the tournament, Brazil and Argentina are favorites to win the whole thing, with France and Germany always threats. The opening match is on Sunday, Nov. 21, and the show starts for the U.S. the next day. If you’re on the east coast, match times for the Group Stage matches are scheduled for 5, 8, and 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for the first two weeks, then are at 10 and 2. The final will be played on Sunday, Dec. 18 at Lusail Iconic Stadium at 10 a.m. ET.  

Turkey and Fútbol. Move over pigskin, another kind of football is on the holiday menu this year. Thanks to the late date of the World Cup, for the first time ever, the traditional Thanksgiving Day football games will have company. Four Group Stage matches are scheduled for Turkey Day, including ones featuring star players Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.  

Soccer on Parade. Striker, the U.S. Soccer Star, officially called a balloonicle, makes its debut in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this year just in time for World Cup. Striker, as tall as a two-story building, as long as four bicycles and as wide as two taxis, performs a bicycle kick in the air while sporting the red, white and blue.

Not on the Guest List. With only 32 teams qualifying, that leaves a handful of talented players who we, unfortunately, won’t get to see at the World Cup. This year is no exception. Besides Italy (not a typo), and Ukraine (favorites for obvious reasons) not qualifying, here are three notable absentees. (Read The Sporting News’ list for more) 

  • Erling Haaland (Norway)
  • Mohamed Salah (Egypt)
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovich (Sweden)

Keep Calm and Get a Discount. Earlier this month, FIFA announced that the Calm meditation app would be the ‘Official Mindfulness and Meditation Product’ of the FIFA World Cup 2022. The partnership gives free subscriptions to support all the players, coaches and training staff participating in the tournament. And for football fans—we can get a 50 percent discount off subscriptions via exclusive offers prior to the FIFA World Cup 2022 and other FIFA events. Find more info and sign up here:

World Cup Central

VIDEO: On the Pitch & Behind the Scenes

Tyler Adams: Road to the Cup. The Leeds United player is warm, witty, and wise, and loves the game of soccer. That means Roger Bennett, from Men in Blazers, never runs out of topics to chat about with Adams in this eight-part pod series. Find this podcast in the Men in Blazers’ library and on all the regular listening apps.

Notable Player Spotlight
Christian Pulisic
We are a long way from the heartbreaking image of Christian Pulisic slumped on the pitch in Couva, Trinidad, after the U.S. failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. The bad memory is a big contrast to where the 24-year-old is on the eve of Qatar. Pulisic, aka Captain America, although recent reports are that he’s not in love with the moniker, has emerged as one of the brightest stars on the national team. And as predicted, the marketing money has followed. Here are just a few ways the Hershey, Penn. native has taken his act global:

Brand endorsement: Puma. In August of last year, Pulisic signed a multi-year contract with the German sports company, swapping the swish of big dogs Nike for the leaping cat. With the Puma partnership Pulisic will have a chance to engage with underserved youth to develop camps and clinics, and commit to growing the sport.

Ad campaign: “Diamonds”; Volkswagen. The commercial tells the story of Pulisic’s career, comparing his pressure-filled journey to that of the development of the new Volkswagen model. It ends with a phrase we all hope is the case for one of the brightest stars of this young U.S. team–pressure makes diamonds. Watch

Memoir: Pulisic: My Journey So Far. When the path you take to play the global game starts when you are seven, winds through not one but two foreign countries and you earn a spot as captain of your national team, you’ve probably got enough material to write a memoir even though you're only 24 (!)  Publisher Rizzoli would agree, stating: American boy turned soccer star is the real-life story of every aspiring young American soccer player’s dream and the perfect book for anyone with a passion for the beautiful game. Buy

More Pulisic: GQ Sports: The New Titans of the World Cup. The October issue of the men’s fashion mag delivers its preview of the upcoming tournament by highlighting eight talented players who are most likely to become World Cup heroes. Our American star Pulisic made the cut. Read
.  .  .

Notable Team Pre-Match Speech
Michael Sheen: Wales

After a 64-year absence, the Welsh national team has made its country proud by ending the drought and qualifying again for a berth in the World Cup. Count the actor Michael Sheen among the pleased. The Welshman, known for The Queen, and Good Omens, recently accepted an invitation to speak to the players to further motivate them ahead of the tournament. I think he nails it in this emotional performance. BTW, Wales, in Group B, play the U.S. on Nov. 21, 2 p.m .ET.

Photo by Rhett Lewis on Unsplash
Notable Selfie Op
World Cup Trophy Tour
Just like popular celebrities, the world’s most recognized symbol in football, is hitting the road. The World Cup Trophy Tour has brought fans across the globe the experience of being up close to the iconic symbol every tournament year since 2006. This year the Tour kicked off in August, from FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, and before it's over, will have stopped in all 32 countries participating in the 2022 World Cup. Find the Tour list here
.  .  .

Notable New World Cup Read
How to Win the World Cup
Author Chris Evans’ new book teases that there is a blueprint to follow to capture the world’s most prestigious sports accolade. Who wouldn’t want that? Only 20 managers have ever won the World Cup, and this book focuses on the tactics they used to win. Interviews with journalists, players, and managers reveal what they think it takes. ​​Bloomsbury Sport hardcover and audio versions are available.

+ World Cup read for data lovers: Net Gains: Inside the Beautiful Game's Analytics Revolution, Ryan O' Hanlon.
The Savell Group
Join The Club

Stay up to date on all things U.S. national teams and World Football. Curated and delivered to your inbox.

Sign up for News, Notables and Más.

Got this forwarded from a friend? Click here to subscribe.
Copyright © 2022 The Savell Group All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
The Savell Group · 998 Williams Avenue · Apt. 1C · Brooklyn, New York 11207 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp