The World Cup couldn’t get any easier for the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) after a frustrating 1-1 draw with Wales.
Timothy Weah’s promising first-half performance and a fine goal were canceled out by Gareth Bale’s late penalty as the young USMNT’s campaign was denied victory at the start of Qatar’s campaign .
Next up is England, who beat Iran 6-2 earlier in the week as favorites to top Group B – an ominous sign for Wales and the USMNT in their battle for knockout qualification.
But with a win or draw against England and the United States, U.S. manager Greg Behalter will know that a next-round berth could be within his side’s grasp when it comes time to play against Iran .
It will be the biggest test for the USMNT’s so-called “golden generation” under Berhalter, and it could be an era-defining game for a team struggling in qualifying.
“We know how much quality England is going to have. But again, we think we have a good game against them,” US captain Tyler Adams said earlier this week, according to ESPN.
“We had a sports team. We thought we were really dominant against the ball at times. You saw that [against Wales] With our fighting back and how we were able to create a lot of transitional moments. ”
Friday’s game will be played at 2:00 pm ET at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor City.
You have to go all the way back to 2002 when the USMNT last beat European opponents at the World Cup, though it did draw 1-1 with England at the 2010 South African Championships.
Otherwise, the result tends to favor England, who have won eight of 11 games between the two sides, while another win would have ensured the 1966 World Cup winners progress to the knockout stages.
The good news for manager Gareth Southgate is that captain Harry Kane is fit to play after undergoing an ankle scan earlier this week, while Berhalter may be counting on 20-year-old Giovanni Reina came to strengthen the team’s offense.
Reyna, who did not feature against Wales, said he was in “extremely good fitness” having been hampered by injuries in recent months.
Wales and Iran meet at the Ahmed Ben Ali Stadium on Friday in their other Group B clash.
Despite being tied at the top of the FIFA rankings, Rob Page’s Wales are confident of victory after exposing Iran’s defensive weaknesses on Monday. It looks like a must-win game for both teams to advance to the knockout stages.
Hosts Qatar are also back on Friday against Senegal, with both nations suffering defeats in their opening games. Ecuador beat Qatar 2-0 and Senegal lost to the Netherlands by the same scoreline.
When they meet at the Khalifa International Stadium, the two winning teams will be looking for two wins and two losses.
Wales vs Iran – 5 a.m. ET
Qatar vs. Senegal – 8 a.m. ET
Netherlands vs. Ecuador – 11 a.m. ET
England vs USA – 2 p.m. ET
US: Fox Sports
UK: BBC or ITV
Germany: ARD, ZDF, Deutsche Telekom
Canada: Bell Media
South Africa: SABC