England’s chance to improve WC records against USA
Off the back of an emphatic victory in their opening 2022 World Cup fixture against Iran, England will endeavour to better their World Cup records against the USA at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor on Friday, boosting the Three Lions' hopes of securing top spot in Group B in the process.
Following memorable highs of reaching the World Cup semifinals four years ago and then the final of Euro 2020, optimism surrounding Gareth Southgate's squad had dipped heading to Qatar after a disappointing winless UEFA Nations League campaign.
However, the nation's hopes were boosted in scintillating style as the Three Lions roared to a 6-2 victory in their opening group game against Iran, their biggest-ever win in the first match of a major tournament.
England have won eight of their 11 meetings with the USA across all competitions, scoring 39 goals in the process, and they will be keen to increase this tally to nine on Friday as they bid to move one step closer to the last 16.
However, the Stars and Stripes head into Friday's contest unbeaten in their previous two World Cup meetings with England, including a shock 1-0 group-stage triumph back in 1950, and similar heroics will be required if they wish to come away with at least a point from this game. When USA last met England at the World Cup, in the group stage in the 2010 edition, they held the Three Lions to a 1-1 draw.
But the USA, boasting their golden generation of players in the squad, were not as ruthless as they were thought to be against Wales in their 1-1 draw.
USA goalkeeper Matt Turner said: "I think one of the main things for us is we missed some opportunities in transition against Wales in the second half.
"We had chances where we just weren't particularly clean in the final third. Maybe a pass was a little off or the timing was wrong and it took away the small windows that you have in the World Cup, where the margins are so thin to score goals.
"So, I think we know that we're going to have to be better in transition against England if we want to score goals."
Meanwhile, as England look to get their first win against the USA in the World Cup, they were boosted by Harry Kane's clearance to be fit and ready for today's game.
England were sweating on the fitness of their captain after he had suffered an ankle injury against Iran, but Southgate yesterday said that the forward will be fit to face the United States.
"Harry is fine. He has worked slightly separately from the group but all good for Friday night," Southgate told the BBC.
"He had a scan to make sure everything is fine."
Southgate also said Harry Maguire was feeling better after the Manchester United centre-back was substituted having become ill in the closing stages of the Iran match.
"He was feeling ill and that was affecting his vision. You worry about concussion in that instant, but we were going back through all the footage and there is nothing, so he is in a good area," Southgate said.