DOHA, QATAR – When it comes to preparing for the biggest soccer tournament in the world,, nothing is ever easy.

But there is one thing for the United States men’s national team that’s simple as they head into their final match of 2022 World Cup group play on Tuesday in Doha at 1 PM central time: What they need to do keep playing in Qatar.

(Photo by FRANCOIS-XAVIER MARIT/AFP via Getty Images)

In order to advance to the knockout stage, they must get a win over Iran at Al Thumama Stadium. That would give them the necessary three points to advance into the next stage of the tournament, and that is the only result that will do it.

If the USMNT gets a draw, they can finish no higher than third, and the same goes if they should lose the match as well. So far, they’ve had two draws in Qatar against Wales (1-1) and England (0-0).

Should the national team win, there is still a chance they could still win Group B:

  • USMNT wins vs Iran and England loses to Wales
  • USMNT defeats Iran by five or more goals and England ties Wales

If they win Tuesday, it would be the seventh time that the United States has advanced into the knockout round of the World Cup. They did so in their last appearance in the tournament in 2014, losing to Belgium in the Round of 16.

Tuesday’s match will be the second between the USMNT and Iran in the World Cup, with the last match-up taking place in France on June 21, 1998. Iran got a 2-1 victory that day, their first-ever in World Cup play.

Should that result play out again, Iran would automatically advance into the knockout stage since they would have two wins in group play. It would be the country’s first-ever appearance in the Round of 16.