After a disappointing 1-1 draw against Wales, this World Cup isn’t about to get any easier for the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT).
A promising first-half performance and a well-taken goal from Timothy Weah were canceled out by Gareth Bale’s late penalty on Monday as the USMNT’s youth team were denied victory at the start of their campaign in Qatar.
Next up is England, top favorites in Group B after beating Iran 6-2 earlier this week – a scary sign for Wales and the USMNT in their plans to qualify for the knockout stages.
But a win or a draw against England and American coach Gregg Berhalter will know that the next game could be in his team’s favor to play against Iran next.
It will be the biggest test the USMNT’s so-called “Golden Generation” has faced under Berhalter and perhaps a defining game for a team that has struggled to find form throughout qualifying.
“We know how much value England will have. But again, we think we match up well against them,” US coach Tyler Adams said earlier this week, according to ESPN.
“We have an athletics team. We think against the ball we really dominate at times. You saw that [against Wales] with our pressing and how we are able to create a lot of turnovers.”
Friday’s match will be played at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor city, kicking off at 2pm ET.
You have to go back to 2002 for the last time the USMNT beat a European opponent at the World Cup, although they did hold a 1-1 draw against England in the 2010 edition of the tournament in South Africa.
Otherwise, results have tilted in England’s favour, winning eight of the sides’ 11 meetings, and another win would ensure the 1966 World Cup winners’ progress to the knockout stages .
The good news for boss Gareth Southgate is that captain Harry Kane is fit to play after undergoing an ankle scan earlier this week, while Berhalter could look to 20-year-old Giovanni Reyna to sharpen his side’s attack.
Reyna was an unused substitute against Wales and said his fitness was “very good” as he has been plagued by injuries in recent months.
Wales face Iran in another Group B match on Friday when they meet at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.
Despite being sidelined in the FIFA rankings, Rob Page’s Wales side will be confident of victory after England exposed the weaknesses of Iran’s defense on Monday. For both teams, it feels like a must-win game in order to qualify for the knockout stages.
Hosts Qatar are also back in action on Friday against Senegal, two countries that both lost their opening games. Qatar were beaten 2-0 by Ecuador and Senegal lost by the same score to Holland.
The two winning teams will be looking to make it two out of two when they meet at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Wales vs Iran – 5am Eastern time
Qatar vs Senegal – 8am 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