After losing 1-1 against Wales, this World Cup is not easy for the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT).
A promising first-half performance and a fine goal from Timothy Weah were canceled out by Gareth Bale’s late penalty on Monday as the young USMNT side were denied a win at the start of their campaign in Qatar.
Next up is England, the favorites in Group B, who beat Iran 6-2 earlier this week – a bad sign for Wales and the USMNT in their bid to reach the knockout stages.
But win or lose against England and US coach Gregg Berhalter will know that with a game against Iran within reach of the next round.
It will be the biggest test the USMNT’s so-called “Golden Generation” have faced under Berhalter and could be a defining game of the era for a side that has struggled for form throughout the qualifying rounds.
“We know how good England will be. But again, we think we did well against them,” US captain Tyler Adams said earlier this week, according to ESPN.
“We have a sports team. We think that against the ball sometimes we are really dominant. You saw it [against Wales] with our opposing pressures and how we can create a lot of turnovers.”
Friday’s game will start at 14:00 at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor city.
You have to go all the way back to 2002 for the last time the USMNT beat a European opponent at the World Cup, though they did draw 1-1 against England in the 2010 edition of the tournament in South Africa.
Otherwise, the results went in England’s favor, with the sides winning eight of the 11 meetings, and another victory would guarantee successful progress to the knockout stages of the 1966 World Cup.
The good news for manager Gareth Southgate is that captain Harry Kane is fit to play after undergoing a scan on his leg earlier this week, while Berhalter may look to 20-year-old Giovanni Reyna to sharpen his side’s attack. .
Reyna was a perfect substitute against Wales and said his fitness is “really good” having been hampered by injuries in recent months.
Wales and Iran face each other in another Group B match at the Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium on Friday.
Despite being next to each other in the FIFA rankings, Rob Page’s Wales side will be confident of victory after England exposed Iran’s defensive frailty on Monday. For both teams, it is a must-win game to reach the knockout stages.
The visiting Qatar are back in action on Friday against Senegal, two nations that have both lost their opening matches. Qatar beat Ecuador 2-0 and Senegal lost to the Netherlands by the same score.
Those two winning teams will look to make it two out of two when they meet at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Wales vs Iran – 5 am ET
Qatar vs Senegal – 8am ET
Netherlands vs. Ecuador – 11:00 a.m. ET
England vs. USA – 2:00 PM ET
USA: Fox Sports
UK: BBC or ITV
Germany: ARD, ZDF, Deutsche Telekom
Canada: Bell Media
South Africa: SABC