The World Cup has gone full circle as we head into matchday two. England faces the USA in one of the most eagerly anticipated and exciting fixtures of the group stages, and it’s anyone’s guess which side will win this. England is the obvious pick due to their experience at this level, the talent at Gareth Southgate’s disposal, and the backing of a passionate and supportive crowd. This USA team will know they are underdogs to win this match, but head in with confidence, understanding that there are still a few question marks hanging over their opponent’s defence.
Which side will come out on top and claim all three points to go top of Group B? We will find out from 19:00 GMT when the pair clash live on television. England started as the pool leaders with a healthy goal difference after battering Iran last Monday. That 6-2 victory sent them into pole position, and the players know that back-to-back wins would see them secure a place in the next round. They may do that as group winners or runners-up, but this is a win-at-all-costs fixture. A defeat for either side would damage their chances of playing knockout football.
The stats sheet shows England and the USA have met 11 times previously, with the current head-to-head stats showing eight wins for England, two for the USA, and one for one draw. Team America hasn’t beaten the Three Lions in almost thirty years, and that will be playing on the minds of their fans. Records are there to be broken, as the old football adage reminds us. Still, the USA comes up against a strong England side that is one of the favourites to win the competition for the second time in its history after securing glory in 1966.
Three Lions roar in their opener
There were worries from fans that England wasn’t ready for this World Cup, and the delay had done Southgate’s team no favours whatsoever. They were poor in the UEFA Nations League earlier this year when suffering the embarrassment of relegation to Group B, leading some critics to call for the head of Southgate and replace him in time to save England’s chances of glory in Qatar. But the team was handed a comfortable opening match against Iran, and they were expected to win with plenty to spare. Anything less than a convincing victory would’ve heaped more pressure on the manager and some of his stars.
England won that match 6-2 thanks to a pair of goals from Saka and added to Bellingham, Sterling, Rashford, and Grealish strikes. Iran hit back twice, with their top man Taremi chipping in with two in an eight-goal thriller. He scored against the run of play on 65 minutes and then netted a late and controversial penalty after 13 minutes of added-on time at the end of the play. England was in complete control of the match from the kick-off to the final whistle, but the fact a small team like Iran found a way to score past them twice will give the backroom staff something to think about ahead of this return to action.
The win was convincing, and there were several positives to take from the match, including the brilliant performance from Saka that was rewarded by his two goals. He has a big future ahead of him, as does Bellingham, who showed a willingness to run at defenders, take players on and either take a shot at goal or provide an assist for a teammate. Surprisingly, Harry Kane wasn’t among the goals, but he must love playing alongside Bellingham with the inch-perfect deliveries he sends into the danger area. The young attacker will be asked to go and do the same again versus the USA.
USA starts with a draw
We aren’t too sure what to expect from the USA at this competition. We know football – or soccer – isn’t the nation’s main sport, positioned behind the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB, but it’s on the rise. A new generation of young boys and girls is taking up the sport on the back of the USA women’s team and its success in major tournaments. Now it’s the men’s shot to fly the stars and stripes at the World Cup and there are a few players in their squad who suggest they could sneak out of this group and into the knockout stages.
They started against Wales and scored the opening goal of that game, with Weah finding the net early. That gave the team confidence and rocked the Welsh, but they were back and eventually got level thanks to a late penalty from Gareth Bale, the ex-Real Madrid and Tottenham player. Fans would have viewed Monday’s match as two points dropped rather than one collected, and that’s a fair review of the match. It was there to be won with the USA in control for almost 90+ minutes, but eventually lost their focus and conceded late.
It’s not the start they would have wanted as they now face a rampant England while Wales line up against Iran, a team they should beat quite easily, especially if Iran sticks with their second-choice goalkeeper who gifted England a few goals in the first match. If Wales does as expected and gets the win, and the USA doesn’t beat England, it will hand the advantage to the Dragons. That’s the worst-case scenario for the USA, but it’s possible and wouldn’t come as a shock.
England v USA prediction
As mentioned earlier, the head-to-head holds no secrets or surprises, with England dominant over the years. There is a generation of American players and fans that have never seen their team beat England, but will that change on Tuesday? On paper, this looks to be a classic 50/50, and a strong case could be made for either side. But England, at their best, should have enough class to win the game.
World Cup odds
If you have an account registered with 22bet or are ready to set one up, you will have access to the online bookmaker’s pre-match betting odds. England is 1.536 to win with the USA 6 and a draw 4.22.
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