After a frustrating 1-1 draw against Wales, the World Cup won’t get any easier for the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT).
A promising first-half performance and a well-taken goal from Timothy Weah was canceled out by Gareth Bale’s late penalty on Monday as the youthful USMNT team was denied victory at the start of its campaign in Qatar.
Next up are top Group B favorites England, who thrashed Iran 6-2 earlier this week – an ominous sign for Wales and the USMNT in their bids to qualify for the knockout stages.
But win or draw against England and the US. it. Coach Gregg Berhalter will know a berth in the next round could be within his grasp with a game against Iran to come.
It will be the biggest test the USMNT’s so-called “Golden Generation” has faced under Berhalter and potentially an era-defining game for a side that struggled for form during the qualifying rounds.
“We know how much quality England will have. But again, we think we match up with them,” said captain Taylor Adams earlier this week, according to ESPN.
“We have an athletic team. We think that against the ball we are really dominant at times. You saw that [against Wales] With our counter-urgent and how we can create a lot of transition moments.
Friday’s game will be played at Al Bayt Stadium in the city of Al Khor, kicking off at 2 PM ET.
You have to go all the way back to 2002 for the last time the USMNT defeated a European opponent in the World Cup, although it did manage a 1-1 draw against England in the 2010 edition of the tournament in South Africa.
Otherwise, the results have tended to go in England’s favor, winning eight of the 11 meetings between the sides, and another victory would guarantee the 1996 World Cup winner’s progress to the knockout stages.
The good news for manager Gareth Southgate is that captain Harry Kane is fit to play after undergoing a scan on his ankle earlier this week, while Berhalter could look to 20-year-old Giovanni Reyna to sharpen his side’s attack.
Reyna was an unused substitute against Wales and said his fitness is “really good” as he has been plagued by injuries in recent months.
Wales and Iran contest the other Group B game on Friday when they meet at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.
Despite being side-by-side in FIFA’s ranking list, Rob Page’s Wales side will be confident of victory after England exposed Iran’s defensive frailties on Monday. For both teams, it feels like a must-win game in order to qualify for the knockout stages.
Hosts Qatar are also back in action on Friday against Senegal, two nations who both suffered defeats in their opening matches. Qatar was beaten 2-0 by Ecuador and Senegal lost by the same score to Holland.
The two victorious teams will look to make it two wins from two when they meet at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Wales v Iran – 5pm ET
Qatar vs. Senegal – 8:00 p.m. ET
Netherlands vs. Ecuador – 11:00 a.m. ET
England vs. USA – 2:00 p.m. ET
US: Fox Sports
UK: BBC or ITV
Germany: ARD, ZDF, Deutsche Telekom
Canada: Bell Media
South Africa: SABC