England v Iran
How to watch: 8 a.m. Eastern. FS1, Telemundo, Peacock (free).
Few in England were intimidated by the group stage draw; the abiding sentiment ran that Gareth Southgate’s team should make short of at least two of its opponents, starting with Iran. The fact that Iran, like Wales and the United States, is ranked by FIFA as one of the best 20 teams in the world; likewise that it led by a canny — if deeply cautious — coach and garlanded by two players, in Mehdi Taremi and Sardar Azmoun, of genuine Champions League quality, has not yet registered. Expect that to change once the game starts. — RORY SMITH
Senegal v Netherlands
How to watch: 11 a.m. Eastern. Fox, Telemundo, Peacock (free).
This could have been the most intriguing fixture of the group stage: the African champion, and probably the strongest team the continent has sent to a World Cup for 12 years, against one of Europe’s more volatile powers. The loss of Sadio Mané, the Bayern Munich forward, tilts the balance a little in favor of the Dutch, but Senegal still has a squad sufficiently full of high-caliber talent to test Louis van Gaal’s team’s mettle. — RORY SMITH
U.S.A. vs. Wales
How to watch: 2 p.m. Eastern. Fox, Telemundo, Peacock (free).
The United States on Monday night will play its first World Cup match in eight years, facing a Wales team playing its first World Cup match since 1958.
The Americans have the second-youngest team at this tournament (behind only Ghana), with a roster of promising, but largely unproven, players including forward Christian Pulisic and midfielders Tyler Adams and Yunus Musah.
Wales, on the other hand, fields a group with major tournament experience, including a run to the semifinals of Euro 2016 and to the Round of 16 in Euro 2020 (which was played in 2021 because of the pandemic). They are led by Gareth Bale, a superstar forward at the tail end of his career.
Both teams would love to claim all three points from the game, given that they each have meetings to come against England, the best team in the group. But the two teams will have to decide how many risks they are willing to take, as emerging from the opener with no points at all could severely hurt their chances of advancing from group play. — ANDREW KEH