With likely record TV viewing audience watching, U.S. gets hard-earned point against England – The Denver Post


The ruling on the measuring stick has been given. As of Friday evening, the United States Men’s National Team can compete with England.

For a game that soccer fans across the country had circled on the calendar since the 2022 FIFA World Cup draw was made in April, the third iteration of a USA-England World Cup bout ended scoreless Friday at Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar. The Americans hit England on the counterattack and had large stretches of sustained possession. Even with 10 shots, the U.S. ultimately could not find the back of the net as the second Group B game finished level at 0-0.

With the result, it creates a logjam between four teams — England, Wales, the U.S. and Iran — for the group’s two berths into the knockout stage. The U.S. has still not lost to England in three World cup games (a shocking win in 1950, and now ties in 2010, 2022).

Here are three takeaways from a breathless second game.

Final touch lacked for U.S.

The Americans more than held their own. For a young group lining up against an experienced England team, the first-game jitters seen against Wales evaporated. It resulted in fearless counterattacks in which Weston McKennie, Christian Pulisic, Yunus Musah and Timothy Weah bombed forward.

The U.S. had plenty of good looks on net in the first half, as Pulisic hit the crossbar in the 33rd minute, while McKennie had a shot he probably wishes he could have had back seven minutes earlier in the 26th. McKennie found himself open at the penalty spot but rushed his shot as he leaned back and it sailed over.

It was a consistent theme in the second half, as the USMNT found pockets of space through creative, interweaving runs and passing, but the final shot was never there. While it was disappointing not to see the final product, the U.S. made England’s defense look vulnerable.

Back four look sturdy

The U.S. back line was the biggest question mark heading into the World Cup, particularly at center back. But for the second game in a row, it was a case of bend-not-break defending. The partnership between Tim Ream and Walker Zimmerman looked stout again Friday. On the ball, they looked cool, and when asked to stifled England’s well-known attackers in Harry Kane, Buykayo Saka, Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham.

Their fullbacks closed quickly and when crosses did get into the box, it was effective communication. With the U.S. crowd at goalkeeper Matt Turner’s back, he was not truly tested, though there were a few nervy chances such as Kane’s glancing header in stoppage time which went wide. If the U.S. can keep that up against Iran, they will get through.

Berhalter opts to sub late

Thinking he could catch England with tired legs, U.S. head coach Gregg Berhalter pushed his starting eleven for 75 minutes until making a change. In the 77th and 83rd minutes reinforcements in the attack arrived as Brenden Aaronson, Giovanni Reyna, Josh Sargent and defender Shaq Moore all came on. It gave a shock to the system, but it was ultimately too little time to make an impact. Even with Gareth Southgate blinking first for substitutes near the hour-mark the Americans stayed composed.

Up next

U.S. fans will have flashbacks to 2010 in South Africa, when the Americans needed a late Landon Donovan goal against Algeria to get out of that group, which created memories to last a lifetime.

With Iran beating Wales 2-0 earlier Friday, the opportunity at noon against Iran Tuesday on FOX and Telemundo presents nearly an identical scenario: Win and you’re in. England will face neighbors Wales at the same time. Three points is the bare minimum needed, but leaving it all on the field in late November is the expectation.

A victory will get the U.S. into the last 16. Anything less will lead to the Americans being sent home early. The U.S. has gotten out of the group in each of its last two World Cup appearances, 2014 and 2010, due to gutsy performances and plenty of can-do spirit.

With the hype surrounding the England game passed and the Wales result wanting more, it really will come down to 90 minutes of who wants it the most.


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