Any fans of the US men’s national team who have forgotten the tension that comes with every World Cup thrilling moment will deeply remember those ups and downs in Monday’s 1-1 draw with Wales in Qatar.
The Yankees took a deserved lead thanks to Timothy Weah, but couldn’t escape a tricky second half when Walker Zimmerman gave a penalty to Gareth Bale and the Welsh legend equalized.
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How did Gregg Berhalter perform, who stepped up and what does a 1-1 draw mean for the Yankees at this month’s tournament in Qatar?
Read on for what we learned from USMNT v. Wales.
Gregg Berhalter Avoids Cute Calls, Gets Favorite Status Properly
USMNT boss Gregg Berchalter left Leeds and Borussia Dortmund on the bench at the start of his first World Cup game, but that wasn’t due to a pair of favorites getting out of shape.
No, Berhalter used the most important match of his life – at least four days – to get past Tim Weah at right wing and Josh Sargent at centre-forward, with the Lille player and his Norwich target scoring the opening goal.
But of course it wasn’t all about the goal, as Berhalter’s USMNT controlled the game in the first 45 minutes. About 30 minutes into the game, the Yankees’ backline only missed one pass attempt from a marauding Sergino Dest.
Walker Zimmerman, Anthony Robinson and Tim Rome joined Dest – a clear ball magnet both tactically and playfully – and looked very comfortable in possession.
Berhalter raised questions about Rome’s ability to defend from behind and in the air, but always pointed out that the Fulham player read the game perfectly and kept the ball at his feet.
And Ream was really great as the US led the first half with only chances, almost two-thirds of the ball and a crucial goal.
Wales comes alive, Bale still silent, Turner makes a big save
Maybe Rob Page’s Welsh player watched the same USMNT matches we’ve watched over the past six months and felt this game was going to be a cakewalk, but the first 45 minutes showed that wasn’t the case at all.
Thus, Page inserted Kieffer Moore in place of an underperforming Daniel James and Wales were ahead for the first quarter of an hour of the second half.
USMNT goaltender Matt Turner was suddenly under pressure, and the Yanks’ electric midfield suddenly looked young, while Rome and Walker Zimmerman looked a little bigger, like their higher status on the team.
Wales star Gareth Bale, now 33, is no more than the player who captured the world’s attention with Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid, but he still carries an element of danger to the opposition (as MLS fans have seen, when he delivered goods for LAFC in the MLS Cup Final).
But if Bale was close to form, it could have been 1-1 before Berhalter had a chance to make a change in the second half.
And it could still be when Moore forced Matt Turner to make an incredible save to prevent him from scoring.
Substitutions for doubles: Berhalter makes the right moves, but Bale wins a penalty
Weston McKenny and Sergino Dest weren’t going to play 90 minutes, and yellow cards in the first half meant the men from Juventus and Milan had to come on as substitutes.
Berhalter brought in Brenden Aaronsohn as an all-round midfielder in the 66th minute and set up a number of other substitutions soon after.
Sargent, Dest and Musa left the game – the latter possibly due to injury, so stay tuned – for Hadji Wright, DeAndre Yedlin and Kellyn Acosta.
Yedlin is the only American on the roster with World Cup experience, while Acosta is the second-highest scoring player on the roster. This hardly seems like a coincidence, since the young Yankees were under pressure.
But it was Zimmermann’s mistake, throwing himself in vain at Bale’s back, that sent the Welshman to the penalty spot. And Turner failed to deliver the heroism despite reading the striker correctly and possibly even getting a piece of the ball.
And every team will be relieved and hurt by the wild and desultory last 15 minutes that could have had a winner from Europe or North America (thank you very much, Kellin Acosta).
What does all of this mean?
Well, the United States will almost certainly enter the final game day with a heavy load on its shoulders.
The Yankees were better than Wales
Berhalter will also have to decide whether to keep his centre-back duo together, knowing that he does not believe that Rome is a suitable opponent for fast and strong aerial teams like England and that Zimmermann converted a penalty.
Rome, whatever it was, it was magnificent that day. And that’s the best lesson you could have learned from the opening day of the USMNT in Qatar.
Hansi Flick’s career as Germany national team head coach should be well under way as European powers open the 2022 World Cup with a tough test from Japan on Wednesday in Al Rayyan.
While Germany’s match against Spain will attract the attention of the whole world, it is he who can stop Flick on the way to the playoffs.
Japan is very good but lost 2-1 to Canada on Thursday in a sign that her strong summer didn’t make her domineering. The result against Germany could put it in a strong position with Costa Rica ahead of the December 1 match against Spain.
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Here’s everything you need for Germany vs Japan.
How to watch Germany vs Japan live stream, stream link and start time
Kick off: 8:00 am ET, Wednesday, November 23
StadiumAddress: Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan.
TV channels in Spanish: Telemundo
Streaming in spanish: peacock (all 64 matches)
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) November 23, 2022
It was not a political statement – human rights are non-negotiable. This should be taken for granted, but it is still not the case. That’s why this message is so important to us.
Denying us an armband is like denying us a voice. We stand on our position. pic.twitter.com/tiQKuE4XV7
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) November 23, 2022
Key storylines, players to keep an eye on
Which Germany features a dynamic but open tournament that won 5-2 over Italy and drew England 3-3? Or will it be the team that has drawn four matches in a row in the Nations League with a score of 1:1? In any case, Germany’s only net results in 2022 came from Israel and Oman.