USA is ‘coming full throttle’ at England on Friday, coach Gareth Southgate warns as Americans refocus after ‘disappointing’ draw with Wales in the Group B opener
- England’s Gareth Southgate warned his players not to underestimate the US
- The Americans will be ‘coming full throttle’ after a disappointing draw, he said
- The US tied with Wales, 1-1, after dominating much of the first half of the opener
- England beat Iran, 6-2, but Southgate complained that his players’ focus waned
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The United States was not the only team in Group B to disappoint over the final 45 minutes of Monday’s World Cup openers in Qatar.
The Americans are in a deeper hole after yielding a second-half equalizer and drawing with Wales, but the English also got sloppy in the later stages of their 6-2 win over Iran, according to coach Gareth Southgate.
And if those issues aren’t fixed, he explained Monday, the Three Lions could be in trouble, because the desperate US ‘will be coming full-throttle’ when the teams square off on Friday.
England’s Gareth Southgate warned his players not to underestimate the United States
USA’s forward #19 Haji Wright fights for the ball with Wales’ defender #15 Ethan Ampadu during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between USA and Wales at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on Monday
‘I didn’t like the end of the game,’ Southgate told reporters after watching England yield a pair of second-half goals.
‘To concede two goals the way we did isn’t the level we need. We are going to have to be better than we were today in certain aspects of our game against the USA because they are going to be coming for us full-throttle and we are going to have to reset.’
England was in full control of Monday’s opener against Iran – something Team USA managed for only the first 45 minutes against Wales, before yielding a second-half penalty kick goal to Gareth Bale – but Southgate still thinks his team’s focus waned.
‘I don’t like games that drift as this one did and it was difficult because there was so much added time in both halves,’ Southgate said. ‘I understand the focus drifting a little but that won’t be enough for us to progress in the tournament. So, we’ve still got a lot to do to qualify but of course this is a really good start for us.’
Timothy Weah (L) of USA celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match
The US still has an excellent chance to advance from Group B, but Monday’s draw was undeniably discouraging for a team playing in its first World Cup since 2014.
Following Tim Weah’s brilliant goal off a pass from Christian Pulisic in the 36th minute, the Americans led until the 82nd, when Bale converted a penalty for the equalizer.
‘I think it’s pretty clear — a disappointing result for us,’ US goalkeeper Matt Turner said afterwards.
Interestingly, the US is undefeated against England in World Cup play, thanks to the legendary ‘Miracle on Grass’ upset at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil and a 1-1 draw at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
USA midfielder Kelyn Acosta lunged in to foul Wales star Gareth Bale at the half-way line
A similar result on Friday would give the US an excellent chance at advancing to the knockout stage, given that their Group B finale is against lowly rated Iran. But of course, the US famously lost to the Iranians in France in 1998 and heavy underdog Saudi Arabia stunned Argentina in Group C on Tuesday, so anything remains possible.
‘The nerves were there,’ Pulisic said after Monday’s draw. ‘Now we have to figure out how to put that together for 90 minutes.’
‘You have to change gears, recover as quickly as possible for a big next game,’ captain Tyler Adams said. ‘We think that we match up well against [England]. We have to stay disciplined. We have to stay calm.
‘We have to know that it’s a long tournament.’
For his part, US coach Gregg Berhalter doesn’t see Monday’s draw impacting Friday’s match with England.
And as disappointed as some Americans were over the outcome, Berhalter knows the team still has everything to play for.
It was always going to be a tough game against England — I don’t think that was ever going to change based on what happened [Monday],’ Berhalter said. ‘A point in the first game isn’t the end of the world.’
Goalkeeper Matt Turner (1) of USA in action during FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between USA and Wales at Ahmed bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, Qatar on Monday