England vs United State - World Cup: Team news, lineups & prediction
A poor winless UEFA Nations League season caused excitement surrounding Gareth Southgate's team to decline coming to Qatar following memorable highs of reaching the World Cup semi-finals four years ago and then the final of Euro 2020.
The Three Lions, on the other hand, raced to their biggest-ever win in the opening game of a major event, a 6-2 victory over Iran, as the nation's expectations were raised in a decisive manner.
In a commanding first-half performance, Bukayo Saka scored either side of goals from Jude Bellingham and Raheem Sterling. Substitutes Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish then added goals after the break.
Southgate was "fed up" after Iran's Mehdi Taremi scored two consolation goals, despite his team's performance in a game that featured nearly 30 minutes of stoppage time over the course of the two halves. In fact, the England coach has urged his team to sharpen their focus on Friday when they face a "full-throttle" USA team.
England will take on the United States looking to win their first two World Cup group games for the fourth time, having previously done so in 1982, 2006, and 2018. They earned all three points against Iran. Southgate and co. defeated Panama, who missed out on a spot in Qatar after finishing second to the United States in CONCACAF qualifying, 6-1 in their second World Cup match.
With a total of 39 goals scored in their eight victories over the United States across all competitions, England will look to make it nine on Friday in an effort to advance to the round of 16.
The USA started their World Cup qualifying campaign in Qatar on Monday with a 1-1 draw against Wales, a game they were leading until a certain Los Angeles FC star equalized.
Nine minutes before halftime, Timothy Weah gave the Stars and Stripes a deserving lead. However, as Gregg Berhalter's team lacked energy in the second half, Wales stepped up their game. Wales' star player, Gareth Bale, earned Wales a crucial equaliser from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute after Walker Zimmerman clumsily tackled the LAFC forward inside the box.
Although Berhalter, 49, who briefly played for Crystal Palace, has since faced criticism in his native country, he feels his team "left everything out there" and is still optimistic about making it to the knockout stages.
At their last two World Cup tournaments, the USA managed to advance beyond the group stage, finishing second to Portugal in 2014 and first to England in 2010. In fact, the Americans' dramatic 1-1 tie with the Three Lions in their most recent match—during which Robert Green mishandled a Clint Dempsey goal—aided them in surpassing Fabio Capello's team on goal differential.
The Stars and Stripes enter Friday's game unbeaten in their previous two World Cup encounters with England, including a shocking 1-0 group-stage victory back in 1950. Similar feats will be necessary if they hope to leave the Al Bayt Stadium with at least a point.
England's team news
Following a scan on Wednesday, it was revealed that England's captain Harry Kane had not sustained a significant ankle injury; the 29-year-old has since trained with the first-team group and is anticipated to keep his starting position up front.
Considering that Harry Maguire has recovered from his sickness, he is expected to hold his spot in the back four alongside Kieran Trippier, John Stones, and Luke Shaw. Southgate may choose to start with the same team that played against Iran.
After recovering from groyne surgery, Kyle Walker declared himself fit to play against the USA and participated in training. However, the Manchester City defender is unlikely to start and is more likely to come off the bench to improve his match fitness.
Due to a knee injury, James Maddison has yet to train with the Three Lions and is still questionable for Friday's match. Bellingham, Declan Rice, and Mason Mount are all expected to start in centre midfield instead of Maddison.
United States's team news
Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah, two midfielders for the USA, were forced off the field during the draw with Wales due to respective groyne and toe injuries, but they should be fine to keep their spots in the starting lineup alongside captain Tyler Adams.
Adams is one of eight club-level British players in Berhalter's team, and the Leeds United player is expected to start in front of a back four that includes Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson of Fulham. Matt Turner, the goalkeeper for Arsenal, is expected to remain in the starting lineup.
Timothy Weah, Joshua Sargent, and Christian Pulisic of Chelsea are anticipated to remain in the front three, but Giovanni Reyna of Borussia Dortmund will be looking to break through after last time out's ineffective substitution.
Brendan Aaronson of Leeds and Cameron Carter-Vickers of Celtic were both listed as reserves against Wales, with the former player entering the game in the second half. On Friday, both players are expected to start as substitutes once more.
England's possible starting lineup
Pickford; Trippier, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Bellingham; Saka, Mount, Sterling; Kane.
United States's possible starting lineup
Turner; Dest, Ream, Zimmerman, A. Robinson; Reyna, McKennie, Adams, Aaronson; Weah, Sargent;
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