After a frustrating 1-1 draw with Wales, this World Cup isn’t getting any easier for the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT).
A promising first-half performance and a well-shot goal from Timothy Weah was nullified by Gareth Bale’s late penalty on Monday as the young USMNT team were denied victory earlier in their season in Qatar.
Next up are England, favorites to win Group B, who beat Iran 6-2 earlier this week – an ominous sign for Wales and the USMNT to qualify for the knockout rounds.
But a win or a draw against England and US coach Gregg Berhalter will know that a place in the next round with a game against Iran could be within reach.
It will be the biggest test for the so-called “Golden Generation” of USMNT under Berhalter and potentially an era-defining game for a side that has struggled for form in the qualifying rounds.
“We know how much quality England will have. But again, we think we’ll do well against them,” US captain Tyler Adams said earlier this week, according to ESPN.
“We have a sporty team. We think that sometimes we are very dominant off the ball. you saw that [against Wales] with our counter-pressing and how we can create many transition moments.”
Friday’s game will be played at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor city and will start at 2pm ET.
You have to go back to 2002 when the USMNT last beat a European opponent at the World Cup, although they secured a 1–1 draw with England at the 2010 edition of the tournament in South Africa.
Otherwise results have tended to be in England’s favour, with eight of the teams’ 11 meetings having been won and another win would see the 1996 World Cup winners through to the knockout stages.
The good news for manager Gareth Southgate is that captain Harry Kane is fit again after an ankle scan earlier this week, while Berhalter could be hoping for 20-year-old Giovanni Reyna to sharpen his side’s attack.
Reyna was an unused substitute against Wales and said his fitness is “really good” after being marred by injuries in recent months.
Wales and Iran play the other Group B game on Friday when they meet at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.
Though side by side in the FIFA rankings, Rob Page’s Wales team will be assured of victory after England revealed Iran’s defensive weaknesses on Monday. It feels like a competitive game for both teams to qualify for the knockout stages.
Hosts Qatar are back in action on Friday against Senegal, two nations who both suffered defeats in their opening games. Qatar were beaten 2-0 by Ecuador and Senegal lost to Holland by the same result.
These two winning teams will be looking to achieve two wins out of two when they meet at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Wales vs. Iran – 5 a.m. Eastern Time
Qatar vs Senegal – 8 p.m. ET
Netherlands vs Ecuador – 11am ET
England vs USA – 2pm ET
US: Fox Sports
UK: BBC or ITV
Germany: ARD, ZDF, Deutsche Telekom
Canada: Bell Media
South Africa: SABC