Five Things To Know About Wales, Scotland and Ukraine

The USMNT will open the 2022 FIFA World Cup against the winner of the UEFA Playoff between Wales, Scotland and Ukraine on Nov. 21 at 3 p.m. ET
Arch Bell

In the 2022 FIFA World Cup Draw held on April in Doha, Qatar, the U.S. Men’s National Team was drawn into Group B with England, Iran and the winner of the UEFA Playoff, which will be either Wales, Scotland or Ukraine.

 

The USMNT will open up against one of Wales, Scotland or Ukraine on Nov. 21, with the playoff to determine who will advance from the UEFA Playoff quadrant delayed until June due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

 

Whoever advances from the UEFA playoff, it will mark that team’s first meeting against the United States in official competition.

 

Here are Five Things to Know About each of the USA’s potential opponents in its Group B opener.

 

 

WALES

 

HOW THEY GOT HERE

Wales finished in second place in UEFA Group E with a record of 4W-1L-3D.

 

Wales was slotted into Path A of the UEFA Playoffs and won its semifinal match, 2-1, versus Austria in Cardiff, Wales on March 24, 2022. They await the winner of Scotland/Ukraine playoff, which will proceed the Path A Playoff Final. Both of those matches are scheduled for June. 

WORLD CUP HISTORY/MAJOR HONORS

Wales has just one World Cup appearance coming at Sweden 1958, drawing all three group stage matches against Sweden, Hungary and Mexico, before defeating Hungary in a playoff match to advance from the group. Wales 1-0 fell to eventual World Cup champs Brazil, which featured 17-year-old Pele, in the Quarterfinals.

 

Wales has not won any confederation championships, but has appeared in the last two UEFA European Championships, reaching the semifinals at France 2016.

 

PREVIOUS HISTORY VS. USMNT

There have been just two previous meetings between Wales and the U.S. The last one marked the USMNT’s first match back from the shutdown related to the global health pandemic, a 0-0 draw on November 12, 2020 in Swansea, Wales.

Then 17-year-olds Gio Reyna and Yunus Musah each made their USMNT debuts in that match.

 

The other meeting between the two sides came in an international friendly on May 26, 2003 in San Jose, California in which the U.S. won 2-0 on goals from Landon Donovan and Eddie Lewis.

 

HEAD COACH

Rob Page has served as Acting Head Coach in place of Ryan Giggs since November 2020. Page is a Wales native who enjoyed a storied career in English football, spending the majority of his career at Watford and Sheffield United.

 

KEY PLAYERS

Wales is led by its all-time top scorer Gareth Bale, who has 38 international goals. The Real Madrid man was the leading scorer for Wales in qualifying with five goals, including both goals in the playoff semifinal triumph over Austria.

 

Current defender Chris Hunter is Wales’ most capped player with 107 appearances and played every minute of his side’s run to the 2016 UEFA Euro semifinals.

 

Tottenham Hotspur defender Ben Davies is another player to keep an eye on, having helped the London club reach the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League Final and playing nine games total across UEFA Euro 2016 and 2020.

 

 

UKRAINE

 

HOW THEY GOT HERE

Ukraine finished in second place in UEFA Group D with a record of 2-0-6.

 

Ukraine was slotted into Path A of the UEFA Playoffs and is scheduled to face Scotland in the playoff semifinal in June. The winner will face Wales in the Path A playoff final later that month for the right to go to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

WORLD CUP HISTORY/MAJOR HONORS

Ukraine has appeared in just one previous World Cup, at Germany 2006, where it advanced to the quarterfinals and finished eighth overall.

 

Ukraine finished second in Group H with a 2-1-0 record, then eliminated Switzerland in a penalty shootout in the Round of 16 before falling 3-0 to Italy in the quarterfinals.

 

Ukraine has no confederation championships, but has participated in the last three editions of the UEFA Euro.

 

PREVIOUS HISTORY VS. USMNT

In four previous meetings between the U.S. and Ukraine, all of them international friendlies, the U.S. has gone 0-3-1. 

 

The last meeting between the two sides was an international friendly on March 5, 2014 in Larnaca, Cyprus. Ukraine won 2-0.

 

USA-Ukraine Head-to-Head Results

Date

Result

Competition

Location

June 27, 1992

0-0 D

Friendly

Piscataway, N.J.

Oct. 16, 1993

1-2 L

Friendly

High Point, N.C.

Oct. 23, 1993

0-1 L

Friendly

Bethlehem, Pa.

March 5, 2014

0-2 L

Friendly

Lanarca, Cyprus

 

 

HEAD COACH

Ukraine is coached by Ukrainian Oleksandr Petrakov, who has been at the helm of the team since August 2021. Petrakov has a long history of coaching within the Ukrainian Youth National Team system, winning the 2019 Under-20 World Cup.

 

KEY PLAYERS

Defender Oleksandr Zincheko of Manchester City, forward Andriy Yarmolenko of West Ham United and forward Roman Yaremchuk of Portuguese giants Benfica are among Ukraine’s key players.

 

Yaremchuk is Ukraine’s top scorer in qualifying with three goals, while Zincheko is a standout for Manchester City, helping the Premier League side reach the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League Final. Yarmolenko has plenty of international experience, having represented his country at Euro 2012, Euro 2016 and Euro 2020.

 

 

SCOTLAND

 

HOW THEY GOT HERE

Scotland finished in second place in UEFA Group F with a record of 7W-1L-2D. They were slotted into Path A of the UEFA Playoffs and are scheduled to face Ukraine in the playoff semifinal in June. The winner will advance to face Wales in the Path a playoff final later that month.

WORLD CUP HISTORY/MAJOR HONORS

Scotland has appeared in eight previous editions of the World Cup, the last being at France 1998. Prior to that, Scotland participated in the 1954, 1958, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986 and 1990 tournaments with an overall World Cup record of 4-12-7.

 

The Tartan Army’s best World Cup finish came at West Germany 1974 when they finished in Ninth Place.

 

Scotland does not have any confederation championships, but did qualify for UEFA Euro 2020, its first since 1996.

 

PREVIOUS HISTORY VS. USMNT

Overall, the U.S. and Scotland have faced off in eight international friendlies, with the U.S. holding a 2-3-3 record. The U.S. is unbeaten in its last five matches against Scotland, which includes a 5-1 friendly win on May 26, 2012 where Landon Donovan recorded a hat trick. 

 

The last meeting came on November 15, 2013 when they played to a 0-0 draw at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland.

 

USA-Scotland Head-to-Head Results

Date

Result

Competition

Location

June 19, 1949

0-4 L

Friendly

Randall’s Island, N.Y.

April 30, 1952

0-6 L

Friendly

Glasgow, Scotland

May 17, 1992

0-1 L

Friendly

Denver, Colo.

May 26, 1996

2-1 W

Friendly

New Britain, Conn.

May 30, 1998

0-0 D

Friendly

Washington, D.C.

 Nov. 12, 2005 1-1 D Friendly Glasgow, Scotland

May 26, 2012

5-1 W

Friendly

Jacksonville, Fla.

Nov. 15, 2013

0-0 D

Friendly

Glasgow, Scotland

 

 

HEAD COACH

Scotland is led by Head Coach Steve Clarke, who was appointed in May 2019. As a player, Clarke spent the bulk of his career at two clubs: St. Mirren of Scotland and English club Chelsea.

 

KEY PLAYERS

Striker Lyndon Dykes of Queens Park Rangers finished as the joint-top scorer for Scotland in qualifying with four goals and will be one to watch.

 

The same can be said of forward Che Adams, a rising star in the Premier League with Southampton where he scored nine goals during the 2020-21 domestic season.

 

Left back Andrew Robertson is no stranger to high stakes affair with Premier League giants Liverpool. Robertson was part of the squad that lifted both the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League and 2019-20 Premier League titles.