A promising first-half performance and a fine Timothy Weah goal from a Gareth Bale penalty late on Monday were canceled out as the young USMNT side were denied a win at the start of their campaign in Qatar.
Next up is the England national team, the favorite in Group Two Iran crushed 6-2 Earlier this week – an ominous sign for Wales and the USMNT in their bids to qualify for the knockout stages.
But a win or a draw against England and American coach Greg Berhalter will know that a berth in the next round may be within his reach with a match against Iran coming up.
This would be the biggest test faced by the USMNT’s so-called “golden generation” under Berhalter, and potentially an era-defining game for a team that struggled for form throughout the playoffs.
“We know how good England are going to be. But again, we think we’re playing really well against them,” said US captain Tyler Adams earlier this week, according to ESPN.
“We have a sports team. We think we’re in control of the ball sometimes. You see that [against Wales] With counter pressing and how we can create a lot of transition moments.”
Friday’s match will be held at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor City, and will kick off at 2 pm EST.
You have to go back to 2002 for the last time NAFC defeated a European opponent in a World Cup, although they did manage a 1-1 draw with England in the 2010 edition of the tournament in South Africa.
Otherwise, results tended to favor England, winning eight of their 11 matches, and another win would ensure the 1996 World Cup winners progressed to the knockout stages.
The good news for manager Gareth Southgate is captain Harry Kane is ready to play after undergoing a scan on his ankle earlier this week, while Berhalter could look to 20-year-old Giovanni Reina to hone his side’s attack.
Reyna was an unused substitute against Wales and said his fitness was “really good” after being plagued by injuries in recent months.
Wales and Iran will meet in the other Group B match on Friday, when they meet at Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium.
Despite being side by side in the FIFA rankings, Rob Page’s Wales side will be confident of victory after England exposed Iran’s defensive weaknesses on Monday. For both teams, it feels like a game to be won in order to qualify for the knockout stages.
Hosts Qatar were also back in action on Friday against Senegal, two countries who suffered defeats in their opening matches. Qatar lost 2-0 to Ecuador and Senegal lost by the same score to the Netherlands.
These two winning teams will be looking to go two wins out of two when they meet at Khalifa International Stadium.
Wales vs Iran – 5 am ET
Qatar vs Senegal – 8 am ET
Netherlands vs. Ecuador – 11 a.m. ET
England vs USA – 2pm ET
United States: Fox Sports
United Kingdom: BBC or ITV
Germany: ARD, ZDF, Deutsche Telekom
Canada: Bell Media
South Africa: SABC
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