Gareth Bale’s late penalty canceled out Timothy Weah’s promising first half on Monday as a youthful USMNT side refused to win at the start of its campaign in Qatar.
Next up is England, who top Group B thrashed Iran 6-2 An ominous sign – Wales and USMNT bid to qualify for the knockout stages – earlier this week.
But a win or a draw against England and US coach Greg Berhalter knows a chance at the next round will be in his side’s grasp with a game against Iran.
It will be the biggest test facing the USMNT’s “Golden Generation” under Berhalter and an era-defining game for a side that has struggled for form throughout the qualifiers.
“We know how good England can be. But again, we think we match up well against them,” U.S. captain Tyler Adams said earlier this week. ESPN.
“We have an athletic team. We think we dominate on the ball at times. You saw that [against Wales] How can we create our counter-pressure and multiple transition moments.”
Friday’s match kicks off at 2pm at the Al Bad Stadium in Algor.
You have to go back to 2002 for the last time the USMNT beat a European opponent at the World Cup, despite a 1-1 draw against England in the 2010 tournament in South Africa.
Otherwise, the results went in England’s favor, winning eight of the 11 meetings between the 11 teams, and another win would guarantee the 1996 World Cup winner progress to the knockout stages.
The good news for manager Gareth Southgate is that captain Harry Kane is fit to play after a scan on his ankle earlier this week, while Berhalter could look to 20-year-old Giovani Reina to sharpen his side’s attack.
Raina was an unused substitute against Wales and said his fitness is “really good” after being plagued by injuries in recent months.
Wales and Iran clash in the other Group B game on Friday when they meet at the Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium.
Rob Page’s Wales will be confident of victory after England exposed Iran’s defensive shortcomings on Monday, despite being side by side in FIFA’s rankings. It feels like a must-win game for both teams to qualify for the knockout rounds.
Hosts Qatar return to action on Friday against Senegal, two nations that suffered defeats in their opening games. Ecuador beat Qatar 2-0, while Senegal lost to Holland by the same scoreline.
The two successful teams will be looking to make it two wins from two when they meet at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Wales vs Iran – 5am ET
Qatar vs. Senegal – 8 a.m. 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
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