Iran on Friday (5 a.m. ET on FS1 and the FOX Sports App), nine hours before the USA clashes with England (2 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports App) to complete the second round of games in Group B. .
A Wales win, an Iran win, or a tie, all have a very different set of realities for the Americans, and there are very good reasons why there is a distinct pecking order of favorable results. .
If the game ends deadlocked at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, that is comprehensively the ideal result for Gregg Berhalter’s plucky troop. .
If Wales and Iran tie, it makes it easier for the USA to survive a loss to England, would make the Americans the instant favorites to top the group if they beat the English, and leaves a string of positive possibilities if they tie.
In that instance, the USA could lose to England and still probably qualify if they beat the Iranians in the third game, barring a shock Wales victory over England and a shift in goal differential.
Even a win against Iran in the third game might be to no avail depending on the result of the England and Wales game.