Along with an ascendant Iran side and the winner of a playoff matchup for the last spot between Wales, Ukraine and Scotland, the Yanks will play England on Nov. 25 in their second match. Placed out of Pot 1, the Three Lions enter Qatar 2022 as one of the deepest and most talented teams in the world.
"It's got to be Harry Kane," Zimmerman said in an interview with MLSsoccer.com's Susannah Collins. "He's a player who's been in top form for years now and has kind of evolved into that leader of that team. He's certainly a talent that scores a lot of goals, provides a lot of different ways that he can hurt you, whether it's with his final pass, his production in the box, his size, physicality. Obviously he's an excellent finisher, so that's someone that we'll be aware of in the back and I'm looking forward to that challenge."
The clash with England will be a great early measuring stick for a USMNT side brimming with talent, but is also still relatively young and inexperienced. With multiple players in the pool who currently play in the English Premier League and in UEFA Champions League, Zimmerman said he feels as though the Yanks are equipped to give England a run for their money.
"Having guys that have played against them multiple times, played in the same league as them, it's going to be beneficial for us and I know that everyone will be helping each other out as much as possible in terms of scouting and preparation and habits and mentality," he said. "So really excited to talk to the other guys. We've got a group chat going already."
While much could change in the months between now and Qatar, Zimmerman has used a standout run of form with Nashville and during World Cup Qualifying to grab a strong early hold on one of the starting center back spots.
The two-time MLS Defender of the Year has established a strong partnership with Atlanta United's Miles Robinson, and Zimmerman said their chemistry is improving all the time. The goal now is to ensure they remain in top form in the lead-up to the World Cup and maintain those roles when the games start.
"Miles and I have gotten to get a good run of games in together," Zimmerman said. "I guess it really started in Gold Cup and continued through qualifying, we had a couple friendlies before that. But he's a great center-back partner. We know his skill set, we know his ability to defend in space, his athleticism to win challenges and track people down. He does a great job, he's had a great qualifying cycle. And now speaking with him the challenge is: Hey, it doesn't matter what we've done, we have to continue our form, play well at the club level if we want to get a shot at this."