The USMNT’s return to the World Cup got off to a dream start in the first half of their opening game against Wales. Christian Pulisic found Tim Weah who scored a wonderful goal to put the US into dreamland.
But, when the second half started, it went from a dream to a nightmare. Wales was the much better team for the bulk of the second 45 minutes. Deservedly, Gareth Bale dispatched a penalty past Matt Turner. That came on the back of a shocking challenge from Walker Zimmerman.
The United States earned a point. Therefore, it was not a total disaster. However, the draw puts the Stars and Stripes in a much tougher position. Now, the USA gets ready to play an England side, which has a preview to be a massive match.
US left wanting more from Wales game
It was a classic tale of two halves from the United States on Monday against the Welsh. The US came out in the first half and were the vastly superior team. Berhalter’s side successfully completed nearly 93% percent of its passes. That led to a 1-0 lead at halftime.
Then, things started to go awry. Wales cranked up the pressure. Once again, Gregg Berhalter was slow to respond to his gameplan going awry. Weston McKennie picked up a knock and was clearly laboring but Berhalter waited almost 25 minutes to sub him off. Berhalter’s substitution methods were also questionable. With precious little time remaining for the US to find a winner, he subbed on Jordan Morris.
As a result, Gio Reyna was on the bench. Of course, this led to conflicting reports from Berhalter, not for the first time in his tenure, and Reyna. The manager said this was an injury precaution. The player said he was ready go.
All in all, it as a winnable game that the US squandered two points in. The consequence is an unenviable task. The United States must get all points against a high-flying England side. Or, it can leave it up to fate and the last day of the group stage fixtures.
England looking strong
While the US was left wanting more after their opening game, the same does not apply to England. The Three Lions absolutely ran riot over Iran. The final was 6-2. Yet, that scoreline is even a little kind to Iran. The Iranian’s second goal was the last kick of the game, via a penalty.
Gareth Southgate has done an incredible job as the England manager. England reached the semifinals at the 2018 World Cup. Then, it followed that up with a European Championship Final berth in 2020.
The roster he called up is almost an embarrassment of riches. Yet, if there is one place to focus on for the USMNT, it is the fact that most of the England squad have not scored many goals. Harry Kane, worried about pain in his ankle, is the headliner with 51 goals in 75 caps.
That being said, quality is rife throughout the squad. Nineteen-year-old Jude Bellingham is the favorite to win the award for best young player of the tournament. He got his campaign off to a strong start with a goal against Iran. Bukayo Saka, another of the promising youngsters for England, got two goals on Monday. Raheem Sterling finally got his World Cup goal after a very poor showing four years ago in Russia. Then, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish rounded out the scoring.
Preview of the USA game against England
This is the third meeting between the United States and England at the World Cup. Despite the Three Lions securing the overall record against the Americans with eight wins, two losses and a draw, the United States has some World Cup success.
In 2010, the two teams tied in their World Cup opener. Both advanced from that group. In 1950, the United States stunned England with a famous 1-0 win.
The last time these two faced one another was in November of 2018. England convincingly won that friendly, 3-0, at Wembley.
Entering the game, England leads the group as the only team with a win.
This game is live from Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar. Kickoff is at 2 p.m. ET on FOX, with pregame coverage starting an hour beforehand. John Strong and Stu Holden are on the call.
The USA plays Iran in the final matchday, while England has a battle against fellow British side Wales. Both of those games are Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 2 p.m. ET.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Matthias Koch
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