After a disappointing 1-1 draw against Wales, this World Cup isn’t about to get any easier for the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT).
Gareth Bale’s late penalty canceled out a late Timothy Weah goal on Monday as the young USMNT were denied a win at the start of their campaign in Qatar.
Next up is England, favorites to top Group B after beating Iran 6-2 earlier this week – an ominous sign for Wales and the USMNT in their bids to qualify for the knockout stages.
But US coach Greg Burhalter will know that a win or a draw against England could put his side in the next round in a game against Iran.
It will be the biggest test the USMNT’s so-called “Golden Generation” has faced under Berhalter and could be an era-defining game for a team that has struggled for form throughout the qualifying rounds.
“We know how much quality England has. But again, we think we match up well with them,” U.S. captain Tyler Adams said earlier this week, according to ESPN.
“We have an athletic team. We think we’re really dominant on the ball at times. You saw it [against Wales] Our counter-pressing and how we are able to create a lot of transition opportunities.
Friday’s match will be played at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor City and kicks off at 2pm ET.
The last time the USMNT beat a European opponent at the World Cup goes back to 2002, though they were held to a 1-1 draw against England in South Africa in 2010.
Otherwise, the results have tended to favor England, winning eight of the 11 sides, and another win would ensure the 1966 World Cup winners progress to the knockout stages.
The good news for manager Gareth Southgate is that captain Harry Kane is fit to play after undergoing a scan on his ankle earlier this week, while Berhalter may look to 20-year-old Giovani Reina to sharpen his side’s attack.
Reyna was an unused substitute against Wales and said his fitness was “really good” after injuries in recent months.
Wales and Iran meet in the other Group B match at the Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium on Friday.
Rob Page’s Wales will be confident of victory after England exposed Iran’s defensive frailties on Monday, despite being side by side in the FIFA rankings. For both teams, it feels like a must-win game to qualify for the knockout stages.
Hosts Qatar are also back in action on Friday against Senegal, two nations who lost their opening matches in both countries. Qatar lost 2-0 to Ecuador and Senegal lost to Holland by the same margin.
The two winning teams will look to make it two wins from two when they meet at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Wales vs Iran – 5am ET
Qatar vs Senegal – 10am 8 ET
Netherlands vs. Ecuador – 1:00 a.m. 11 ET
England vs. USA – 7 p.m. 2. ET
United States: Fox Sports
UK: BBC or ITV
Germany: ARD, ZDF, Deutsche Telekom
Canada: Bell Media
South Africa: SABC