- England v Iran
- Monday, November 21, 2022, 08:00 ET
- At the Khalifa International Stadium, Doha
England are the big favorites to win Group B and they are expected to get their campaign off with a victory when they take on Group underdogs Iran.
Who do Bettors Favor?
According to the best-rated online sportsbooks England are not just the Group favorites but are big favorites with bettors to win their opening game against Iran. Gareth Southgate’s team is the -330 favorite to claim victory, while Iran are as big as +1200 with some bookmakers. Alternatively, if you think the draw is a good option, you can wager on this at +425.
|England v Iran|
World Cup Group B Betting Briefing
On the face of it, Group B is a relatively straightforward section that shouldn’t take too much winning for the favorites, but there are reasons to be cautious about England. Ranked fifth in the world by FIFA, their form has been patchy for a few months and in this Group face some potentially tricky rivals.
Wales will always relish the chance to put one over on their neighbors, and can also claim to have the best player in the Group, in Gareth Bale. The USA were not that impressive in the qualifying tournament, but they are ranked 16 in the world, technically higher than Wales and are hard to predict, while Iran are likely to raise their game against both England and the USA.
Questions for England in World Cup
England’s improvement under Gareth Southgate following the shambles of their Euro 2016 campaign, has been dramatic. They reached the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup and the final of Euro 2020, climbing high in the FIFA rankings and restoring some pride to English football after decades of failure. That the improvement was achieved with a new young group of talented players was even more encouraging and promised much for the future.
But while the young core of the squad is still exciting, there are now questions for England to answer going into the World Cup. A string of poor results this year, including back-to-back defeats to Hungary that ultimately led to relegation to the second tier of the Nations League have left many commentators questioning Southgate’s tactical acumen and his ability to get the best out of his team.
A fairer assessment would point to the fact that Southgate, although blessed with midfield and attacking talent, has not been able to call on a similar level of defensive resources, and any attempt to play an expansive style runs the risk of being undermined by an unreliable defense.
Iran will Relish Underdog Status
The chance to lock horns with the USMNT will grab the headlines in Iran, but this opening game also presents an opportunity to give a good account on the international stage.
Although they are rated as big underdogs for this game, Iran are the highest-ranked team in Asia, based on FIFA ratings, and they qualified for the competition in style, scoring 40 goals and conceding only eight, making it their fastest-ever World Cup qualifying campaign.
That achievement, however, came under former coach Dragan Skocic, who has since been replaced by Carlos Quieroz. The controversial coaching change was a consequence of behind-the-scenes disputes, but Quieroz is an experienced international coach and came close to getting Iran through the Group stage of the 2018 World Cup in his first spell as manager.
In their favor will be their familiarity with conditions in Qatar, but on the negative side, the upheaval within Iranian football and domestic instability makes them an unpredictable group.
World Cup Group B Match Betting
England don’t go into this tournament with much confidence and a slow start in this game could deplete that confidence even further, given the relative youth of the England team. Under Quieroz in 2018, Iran were cautious but hard to break down, scoring two and conceding two in their three Group games and we can expect a similar approach here, putting the onus on England to make the running.
Still, although England are weak at the back, they won’t be threatened much by this Iranian team, and they have a wealth of attacking talent so should eventually find a way through to kick off their Group B campaign with a win. The odds on an England win don’t offer much value, however, so the best bet here is to go low on goals in what could be quite a hard game to watch.