After a boring 1-1 draw with Wales, this World Cup is not going to be easy for the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT).
A promising first-half performance and a well-taken Timothy Weah goal were canceled out by Gareth Bale’s late penalty as the young USMNT side were denied an early campaign win in Qatar.
Next up is England, who beat Iran 6-2 earlier this week – a disappointing sign for Wales and the USMNT in their bid to qualify for the play-offs.
But they know that a win or a draw against England and coach Greg Berhelter will help his team in the next round against Iran.
This will be the biggest challenge the USMNT’s so-called “Golden Generation” has faced under Berhalter, and a defining game for the ages for the team that was in the qualifying round.
“We know how much quality England have. But again, we feel like we match up pretty well with them,” US captain Tyler Adams said earlier this week, according to ESPN.
“We have an athletic team. Sometimes we think we are on the ball. You saw that [against Wales] “On the counter-attack and how we can create more transitions.”
Friday’s match will be played at 2pm at Al Bait Stadium in Al Kohor city.
You have to go back to 2002 for the USMNT’s last appearance at the tournament in South Africa in 2010, despite a 1-1 draw against England.
Otherwise, the results will be in England’s favor and another victory will ensure the 1966 World Cup winners progress to the knockout stages after beating eight of 11 teams.
The good news for manager Gareth Southgate is that captain Harry Kane is fit to play after undergoing a scan on his ankle earlier this week, while Berhelter could look to 20-year-old Giovani Reina to bolster his squad’s attack.
Reina was an unused substitute against Wales and says his fitness is “really good” after an injury in recent months.
Wales and Iran will contest the other Group B game on Friday when they meet at the Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium.
Despite being side by side in the FIFA rankings, Rob Page’s Wales side will be confident of victory after England exposed Iran’s defensive frailty on Monday. It looks like a must-win game for both teams to advance to the playoffs.
Hosts Qatar will return to action on Friday after Senegal lost their opening matches. Qatar beat Ecuador 2-0 while Senegal lost to Holland by the same scoreline.
Those two winning teams will look to make it two when they meet at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Wales vs Iran – 5pm ET
Qatar vs Senegal – 8 am ET
Netherlands vs Ecuador – 11:00 ET
England vs. America – 2 pm in Ethiopia
USA: Fox Sports
UK: BBC or ITV
Brazil: Sport TV
Germany: ARD, ZDF, Deutsche Telekom
Canada: Bell Media
South Africa: SABC