DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The primary time the US confronted England on the World Cup, the unexpectedly assembled American squad was a ragtag group that included a mailman, a grave digger, a dishwasher and a faculty trainer.
Few of the gamers had ever met earlier than they headed to Brazil in 1950 to face powerhouse England, and the 1-0 upset victory by the US is usually likened to the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” win over the Soviet Union on the Lake Placid Olympics as being among the many largest moments in American sports activities historical past.
The disparity between the 2 nationwide soccer groups isn’t practically as extensive 72 years later as England and the US get set to play Friday in Group B. Actually, United States midfielder Tyler Adams stated he’s extra terrified of spiders than he’s of going through England.
The People are the underdogs following their 1-1 draw with Wales, whereas England is coming off a 6-2 opening win over Iran.
“England are nonetheless a giant group on the finish of the day, however the intimidation issue? I wouldn’t say there’s many issues on the market that intimidate me, apart from spiders,” stated Adams, who performs for Premier League membership Leeds.
“It’s high quality for me, however clearly I’ve bought to play towards all these massive gamers, so I’ve carried out it earlier than. However we additionally wish to present what we’re able to and that U.S. soccer is growing and rising in the appropriate method.”
However that 1950 victory for the People was a uncommon win towards England, which has gained eight of its 11 conferences towards the US. The upside? None of these victories have been World Cup matches and the second assembly between the groups on soccer’s largest stage led to a 1-1 attract 2010.
United States midfielder Christian Pulisic doesn’t wish to hear about stats, rankings or predictions. The People did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup and, following the opening draw, are tied with Wales with one level every within the combat to advance to the knockout stage.
England leads the group with three factors. A win or draw on Friday would put the People in respectable place to be one of many two groups to advance.
“We don’t have a look at the percentages and we’re not on the World Cup simply to make up the numbers,” Pulisic stated. “We go, we give it every little thing in each recreation we play, we make America proud. Wherever that takes us we now have to attend and see.”
A win for England would put the Three Lions into the spherical of the 16 with one recreation nonetheless to play, however coach Gareth Southgate has cautioned towards complacency after the opening rout of Iran.
England captain Harry Kane, the highest scorer on the 2018 World Cup, injured his ankle towards Iran and defender Harry Maguire left the sport within the seventieth minute with blurred imaginative and prescient. Kane skilled with the group in latest days and is anticipated to play Friday, whereas Maguire indicated he’ll play in what will likely be his fiftieth look for the nationwide group.
Southgate instructed his group it must be even higher towards the US than it was towards Iran, and he thought the 2 late targets conceded proved England bought sloppy on the finish of that recreation.
“They’re a prime nation with numerous prime gamers who’ve performed within the Premier League and who we’ve come up towards,” England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford stated. “Nevertheless it’s about us as a squad being 100%. It’s about us taking the consequence from Iran and going into the U.S. recreation optimistic.”
BACK ON THE FIELD
Qatar returns to competitors after changing into the primary host nation in World Cup historical past to drop its first match, a 1-0 loss to Ecuador on the opening evening of the match.
Qatar will get one other probability for a victory towards Senegal, which additionally misplaced its opener.
“There may be numerous room for enchancment. Possibly the duty and nerves bought the very best of us,” Qatar coach Felix Sanchez stated. “We didn’t begin nicely. It was a horrible begin.”
Senegal is with out Sadio Mane, the Bayern Munich ahead who was dominated out of the match with a leg harm. Midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate can be anticipated to overlook Friday’s recreation with a hamstring harm.
With out Mane on the World Cup, Senegal misplaced to the Netherlands 2-0 and coach Aliou Cissé is demanding extra from forwards Ismaila Sarr and Krépin Diatta.
“We would have liked to be simpler. Ismaila and Krepin are accountable there, however in fact, the absence of Mane is an issue for us,” Cisse stated. “Our attackers are good and we all know what they’re able to. We have to work on it, with Ismaila and the others. We count on so much from him and Krepin.”
Gareth Bale scored a late aim from a penalty kick to assist Wales draw with the US in its opening match and was thrilled to be given the starring position in his World Cup debut.
The 33-year-old Bale, who performs for the Los Angeles Galaxy within the MLS, had zero hesitation when known as on to take the penalty.
“It was at all times going to be me. No doubts,” Bale stated. “I really feel like I needed to step up and I used to be glad to take action.”
The Asian group will likely be lacking goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand, who’s out with an harm. He was cleared to proceed by Iran’s medical employees after a collision with a teammate within the opening recreation however later collapsed on the sphere and was taken to an area hospital. Hossein Hosseini, the backup, needs to be examined by Bale.
Iran, which certified for the final two World Cups, has by no means ever superior to the knockout spherical.
Ecuador and the Netherlands each gained their opening matches and their recreation Friday will pit striker Enner Valencia towards ahead Memphis Depay.
Valencia scored each of Ecuador’s targets within the 2-0 win over Qatar earlier than leaving with a sore knee however is about to play Friday.
“Enner will play towards the Netherlands, there isn’t a doubt about that,” Ecuador coach Gustavo Alfaro stated.
Depay returned from a hamstring harm to guide the Netherlands in its 2-0 win over Senegal. He got here off the bench in that recreation however desires to start out towards Ecuador.
“He’s a participant who could make the distinction,” Netherlands coach Louis Van Gaal stated. “He’ll wish to play, however I’ve to evaluate his type.”
A win for both group would possible assure development out of Group A. ___
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