Al Khor, Qatar – The United States and England drew 0-0 in Group B at the 2022 World Cup on Friday, leaving both sides with work to reach the round of 16.
The US was the better side in the game without clear moments. The immediate threat came when Christian Pulisic shook the crossbar with a violent effort halfway through the first half, but neither side was able to break the stalemate. The chances that were in the first half dried up in the second, leaving both sides to walk away with points.
Both teams are back in play on Tuesday (USA vs. Iran, England vs. Wales) as all teams stay alive to advance to the playoffs.
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one. US suffers from poor implementation, but defense stands up
In a match that many expected from the United States, the Americans performed convincingly. The defense was solid, doing everything they could to negate England’s midfield. While the Three Lions had a 58–42% possession advantage, the US had enough spell power to keep the game from being one-sided.
The United States even managed to build an expected goal lead (0.88-0.55), but a lack of accuracy in front of the net – again – and some brilliant defense saw the game end goalless.
Iran’s 2-0 victory over Wales earlier in the day put American coach Gregg Berhalter’s team in a strange position. Should the US aim to win or save itself for the group stage final against Iran? Berhalter made his intentions clear by making just one change to his starting line-up: striker Hadji Wright replaced Joshua Sargent at the top.
England were the first to stop, with centre-back Walker Zimmerman blocking Harry Kane’s shot in the 10th minute. But the USA got involved in the game and, thanks to the sharp flank play of Sergino Desta, began to create chances.
A great opportunity came in the 26th minute when Timothy Weah found Weston McKenny in the box, but the midfielder’s first shot went over the crossbar. This was not the last time the US came close. Pulisic shook the crossbar in the 33rd minute and his gliding header from Dest’s cross just before half-time went wide.
In the second half, the Americans huffed and huffed more as Pulisic found space in the cross a few times, and although this created a few corners, Jordan Pickford was not really tested in the England goal. England, meanwhile, began to enjoy longer periods of possession but could do little to truly threaten goalkeeper Matt Turner on the other side of the pitch.
This was due to the outstanding defensive efforts of the United States. As hungover as Walker Zimmerman was after missing a penalty against Wales, it wasn’t obvious that night. Tim Rome was once again outstanding, as was Tyler Adams in American midfield.
The inability of the US to capitalize on the chances they created was a holdover from the game in Wales and has at least defined this World Cup for the Americans so far. It’s kind of a trend that they need to correct in order to move forward.
2. England underwhelming but strong
Expectations were certainly raised when England beat Iran 6-2 earlier this week and they were probably too high. The Americans were organized and tenacious on defense, with England centre-backs Harry Maguire and John Stones appearing oddly passive in their attempts to find line-breaking passes.
The Three Lions did threaten late in the first half when a shot from Mason Mount forced Turner to make a sharp save, but overall it was difficult for England. However, the airbag created by the three lions after the first match meant they could offer the US to move forward and in turn not take too many risks.
But all this resulted in a rather cool performance by England. Mount’s, Raheem Sterling’s and Bukayo Saki’s highly publicized trident attack was fairly quiet, aside from Mount’s aforementioned attempt. The center duo of Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice saw a lot of the ball but weren’t as effective in spurring the attack.
Manager Gareth Southgate attempted to shake things up by hiring Jack Grealish and Jordan Henderson for Sterling and Bellingham respectively, but this did nothing to boost England’s fortunes. That is, until Kane had a brilliant chance in stoppage time, but he could only head from Luke Shaw’s free kick.
This match will certainly not fall into too many of England’s highlights. However, England are still leading the group with four points and will face a Wales team that looked solid in the final minutes of the match against Iran. one would expect
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3. For the US, Iran is now playing everything that matters
While the US could gain some respect in this matchup, it can also be seen as another missed opportunity for the team, which now has to win the game against Iran to qualify for the playoffs.
On the one hand, the fact that it comes to the last game fits into the pre-tournament forecasts, and to some extent the US controls its own destiny. But there is a precious little wiggle room. The situation also emphasizes that in the first two matches of the World Cup, the Americans could score points, but they did not take advantage of it. If they did, the pressure on them would not be so strong.
This is a scenario somewhat reminiscent of 2010, when the US needed a victory over Algeria, and they achieved it thanks to the now famous winner Landon Donovan.
But in Iran, the US is now facing a very different adversary. The political subtext that accompanies the match will be massive, which means that motivation will not be a problem. Encouraged that the crowd should be in their favor against the US, Iran will also be on a wave of confidence after scoring a couple of late goals to beat Wales.
Can the US do the job? This is, of course, possible. The talent is clearly there. But in general, the level of sharpness of the attacking half was not high enough for the team. This will need to be raised if this team wants to keep moving forward.
England: Pickford 6, Shaw 6, Maguire 7, Stones 5, Trippier 5, Rice 6, Bellingham 5, Sterling 4, Mount 5, Saka 5, Kane 5.
Subscriptions: Grealish 5, Henderson 6, Rashford 5
USA: Turner 7, Robinson 5, Rome 7, Zimmerman 7, Dest 6, Musa 6, Adams 7, McKenny 7, Pulisic 6, Wright 5, Weah 6.
Subscriptions: Aaronson 5, Moore 5, Sargent 5, Reina 5
Best and Worst Performers
BEST: Tyler Adams, USA
Once again, Adams did a little bit of everything, but at a high level, interrupting the game and connecting the passes in a steady rhythm.
WORST: Raheem Sterling, England.
Not once did Sterling look like he was about to jump into the game. Just a very understated performance overall.
Highlights and Notable Moments
Christian Pulisic’s shot from the post in the 33rd minute was the best chance of several for the USA.
WHAT A SHOT Pulisic!!!
USMNT was so close to taking the lead! pic.twitter.com/HTas0gyshf
— FOX Football (@FOXSoccer) November 25, 2022
Here Weston McKenny’s pass to the center found Tyler Adams, who passed the ball far to the left for Pulisic. His shot hit Jordan Pickford but failed to go past the timber frame.
After the match: what the players and managers said
US Manager Gregg Berhalter, Fox: “I think both teams worked hard, both teams gave each other a hard time from time to time and were generally happy with the effort they put in. Any time you can get a World Cup shutout, that’s good.”
Berhalter on what needs to be improved: “I would like to see goals from set pieces. We are proud, but our work is not yet done. We have to win on Tuesday and we know that five points will give us victory. We have to focus on five points.”
England defender Harry Maguire in an interview with ITV: “It wasn’t our best result – it’s a point that puts us in a strong position in the group. This is a good team that plays at a high pace. We had to work hard and we could win in the end.” “
England striker Harry Kane in an interview with ITV: “Being clinical is the exact opposite of Iran. We had two or three opportunities and we didn’t miss them. We’ve played a tough team and we’re moving on.”
USA forward Christian Pulisic in an interview with Fox: “I think there were definitely a lot of positives. We had stretches, even in the first half, when we looked dominant and created a few chances, unfortunately we were unable to convert some of them. But we did well in the game and to draw with them is certainly not a bad result, but we felt that we could even win the game.”
Basic statistics (provided by Sportzshala Stats & Information)
– The United States is still waiting to win the World Cup against the team that previously lifted it: five losses and now three draws against teams with stars on jerseys.
– England are counting on their first victory over the USA on the big stage, as they now have one loss and two draws with the Americans.
– The last team to hold England by single digits in a World Cup game was another CONCACAF nation. Costa Rica also minimized England’s attack in 2014 by drawing 0-0 (eight shots).
England: Complete the group stage against Gareth Bale and Wales on Tuesday. England still have work to do to reach the round of 16 – the Three Lions need to beat or draw their neighbors. A loss would complicate matters.
USA: Take on Iran on Tuesday in the group stage final and it’s going to be a hot matchup. Despite Friday’s positive result, the US needs to beat Iran to advance to the Round of 16.