England have their second match of the World Cup on Friday evening against the United States of America. A win for the Three Lions will all but confirm their place in the next round after a very good opening day win over Iran. On paper, this looks to be a tougher game, with USA having a more physical and progressive playing style. A lot of their starting eleven have played in English football, so this could have the feeling of a Premier League game. This will be a better indicator of where Gareth Southgate’s side are.
- Gareth Southgate has now won nine matches at international tournaments. No England manager has won more.
- Despite having 59% possession against Wales, the USA only managed six shots on goal. Only their goal found the target.
The USA international is seen as the golden boy of the current team. Christian Pulisic could develop into the greatest player in their history. That was certainly the hope when he was playing regularly as a teenager for Borussia Dortmund. In the last 12 months, his development has stalled at Chelsea. He hasn’t been able to nail down a regular starting role under Thomas Tuchel or Graham Potter. It will be frustrating for him, as he will believe he should be playing regularly for a top six team. This tournament gives Pulisic a chance to remind the world of his quality and potentially attract interest for the upcoming January transfer window. He remains the key creative force in the USA team. The attacker will know a lot of the English players well and that knowledge could put him in a strong position to impact the game. During their opening game, he got the assist for USA’s goal.
- Harry Kane had a scan on his ankle, but he is expected to be fit. Kieran Trippier and Raheem Sterling are doubts for this game. James Maddison will hope to be available.
- The USA have no major injury concerns heading into this game. They could name an unchanged team to face England.
USA will cause more issues for England than Iran did. However, if the USA press high like they did against Wales, they could play into England’s hands. The England attackers will have plenty of confidence after scoring six in their opener. They should have enough to win their second game of the tournament.