After a disappointing 1-1 draw against Wales, this World Cup isn’t going to get any easier for the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT).
A promising first-half display and a well-taken goal from Timothy Weah were canceled out by Gareth Bale’s late penalty on Monday as the young USMNT were denied victory at the start of their campaign in Qatar.
Next up is England, favorites to top Group B after beating Iran 6-2 earlier this week – an ominous sign for Wales and the USMNT in their bid to qualify for the knockout stages.
But win or draw against England and USA coach Gregg Berhalter will know a place in the next round could be within his team’s grasp with a game against Iran to come.
It will be the biggest test the USMNT’s so-called “Golden Era” has faced under Berhalter and potentially an era-defining game for a team that struggled for form throughout the qualifying rounds.
“We know how much quality England will have. But again, we think we go well against them,” US captain Tyler Adams said earlier this week, according to ESPN.
“We have an athletic team. We think against the ball we are really dominant at times. You saw that [against Wales] with our counter-pressing and the way we’re able to create a lot of transition moments.”
Friday’s match will be played at Al Bayt Stadium in the city of Al Khor, starting at 2:00 PM ET.
You have to go all the way back to 2002 for the last time the USMNT beat European opposition at the World Cup, though they did secure a 1-1 draw against England in the 2010 edition of the tournament in South Africa.
Otherwise, results have tended to go in England’s favour, winning eight of the teams’ 11 meetings and another victory would guarantee 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 a scan on his ankle earlier this week, while Berhalter could look to 20-year-old Giovanni Reyna to sharpen his side’s attack his.
Reyna was an unused substitute against Wales and said his fitness is “really good” after being plagued by injuries in recent months.
Wales and Iran contest the other Group B match on Friday when they meet at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.
Despite being neck and neck in the FIFA rankings, Rob Page’s Wales side will be confident of a win after England exposed Iran’s defensive frailties on Monday. For both teams, it feels like a must-win game to qualify for the knockout stage.
Hosts Qatar are also back in action on Friday against Senegal, two nations that both suffered defeats in their opening matches. Qatar were beaten 2-0 by Ecuador and Senegal lost by the same scoreline to the Netherlands.
These two winning teams will be looking to make it two wins from two when they meet at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Wales vs Iran – 05:00 ET
Qatar vs. Senegal – 8 a.m. ET
Netherlands vs. Ecuador – 11:00 a.m. ET
England – USA – 2:00 PM ET
USA: Fox Sports
UK: BBC or ITV
Germany: ARD, ZDF, Deutsche Telekom
Canada: Bell Media
South Africa: SABC