The U.S. men’s national soccer team continues its World Cup 2022 campaign with a post-thanksgiving match against England on Friday, Nov. 25.
The second match for both nations in Group B will take place at 10pm local time in Qatar. For viewers in the US, that’s 2pm Eastern Time (EST), 1pm Central Time (CST) and 11am Pacific Time (PST).
England come into it after thrashing Iran 6-2, while the USMNT picked up a point in the 1-1 draw with Wales.
Here are five things to know about the match and a prediction for how it will finish.
England has goals throughout the team
gelditzea Harry Kane is only part of the challenge. The England captain is fit to play despite injuring his ankle in the win against Iran and will be looking to open his scoring account at this World Cup. England, though, have goalscorers throughout the team. Against Iran, there were five different scorers with the impressive Bukayo Saka grabbing two.
The U.S. defense is vulnerable, especially at center back. It is one of the reasons the USMNT will not win the 2022 World Cup. The defenders will need to retain concentration against England and avoid the sorts of rash challenges that handed Wales a penalty in the first match. Kane is a constant threat who will need to be stopped, but he is not the only one.
The USMNT must be patient, not passive
England manager Gareth Southgate believes the U.S. team “are going to be coming for us full-throttle”. This USMNT likes to play a high-energy, possession-based style. Against England, though, it may be wise to take a slightly more cautious approach. Unlike the match against Wales, the U.S. will probably have less possession and will have to remain disciplined in defense, counter-attacking when the opportunity arises.
However, it must not be too passive. Iran, in its match against England, invited pressure from the first whistle by sitting far too deep. The USMNT may not have as much of the ball as it would usually like in this match, but it must be patient, and bold when needed.
Gregg Berhalter has options for the starting 11
The USMNT head coach made some smart calls for his starting 11 for the Wales match and, in the first half, the plan was working. The energy of midfield trio Yunus Musah, Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams will be vital against England, even if they are asked to do more defensive work than against Wales.
A key decision for Berhalter is whether to make any changes to his team. One candidate to start, who came on against Wales, is Brenden Aaronson. The Leeds United player is in good form for his club and adds extra energy and attacking threat. Captain Pulisic and goalscorer Timothy Weah must start so Berhalter could see Aaronson as replacement for striker Josh Sargent, with Weah moved to a central role. Then again, Sargent is good at holding the ball up – something the team will need to relieve pressure against England. If it is the same 11, expect Aaronson and Gio Reyna to appear off the bench.
Pace can hurt the England backline
Southgate called for improved focus after conceding two against Iran in a match England completely dominated. It was a sign the English defense is far from flawless. The back four against Iran – Kieran Trippier, John Stones, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw – is not blessed with pace. If England plays a high defensive line, there will be opportunities for opposition strikers to find space behind them.
For the USMNT’s goal against Wales, Pulisic ran at the defense before playing a neat pass into Weah to finish. Against England, these two should have chances to combine in a similar way, especially on the break.
History favors England, but not in the World Cup
The U.S. men’s national team has played England 11 times, with England winning eight of those matches. In the World Cup finals though, they have played each other twice with a win and a draw for the U.S. The first time, in 1950, was a shock 1-0 win for the Americans. More recently, at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, a Clint Dempsey goal rescued a 1-1 draw.
Wales and Iran play in the morning (local time) so Group B will look a little clearer when the USMNT-England match kicks off. If Wales beats Iran and the USMNT loses to England, the chances of the Americans progressing to the next round aren’t great. But a point (or better), will leave the U.S. in a good position going into the final group match.
A draw would be a great result for the USMNT but I think England is too strong and will win, 2-0.