28/02/2024

USMNT captain Tyler Adams stands over England midfielder Jude Bellingham (Image: FIFA World Cup / Twitter)

Team USA were impressive in attack against England but couldn’t break away from the powerhouses, settling for what was yet another 0-0 draw at Al Bayt Stadium.

England were not anywhere near as impressive as they were in the 6-2 thumping of Iran earlier this week. With the USA being beneficiaries of a number of decent chances, it could have easily ended as an enormous upset.

Christian Pulisic was extremely impressive on the wing throughout the contest, exploiting the English defence and finding opportunities to go for goal.

The best of these chances came when he fired at goal with Kieran Trippier and Bukayo Saka standing in front of him, the ball unfortunately rocketing off the bar and out for a goal kick. Not only would it have been a ridiculous finish at the near post, but it was the least that the Chelsea man deserved for his performance.

Speaking of big chances, arguably the biggest of the game was squandered as Timothy Weah sent a long ball to Weston McKennie in the box, who powered it over the bar with no defenders between him and Jordan Pickford.

England also missed a big chance of their own by the end of the first half, with Pulisic’s Chelsea teammate Mason Mount finding some space and sending a powerful shot into the bottom left corner, which was saved by Matt Turner.

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After a second half which saw the USA on top once again throughout, and just three shots from England in a late flurry after a charge which began in the 87th minute, the Three Lions were met with a chorus of boos from their fans who were unimpressed on the final whistle.

It was a result that was clearly unexpected for a team that went deep in the 2018 World Cup, going out in a semi-final, and took Italy to their limits in a penalty shootout loss at the Euro 2020 final.

The goal difference that the Three Lions’ accrued against Iran should be enough to see them through this group, however this poor outing could put a dent in their confidence when it comes to playing the other powerhouses later on.

They will have a chance to regain some of that momentum in their final group stage game against Wales. A win would see them top the group, but any other result could leave that spot for the taking.

Carrying some belief into their final game, the USA will want to claim that elusive victory and send themselves into the knockout stage for the first time since 2014. However, standing in front of them is an Iranian team that avenged their huge England loss by defeating the Welsh and keeping their hopes alive in the process.

Iran can settle for a draw provided Wales don’t upset England, but it truly is win or go home for the Americans, and it is sure to be a fiery affair.

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