England vs USA Match Preview | Predictions, Stats and Key Players

England vs USA Match Preview | Predictions, Stats and Key Players

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.

It will be interesting to see if Southgate sticks to the 4-3-3 formation that he used in the opening fixture. The performance against Iran was very promising, with the attack creating a lot of chances. The full-backs were stretching the game and causing a lot of problems with their passing. It would be unpopular if Southgate abandoned this approach against the USA. Although it will be a tougher game than Iran, England should still be the dominant team in the game. There is no need to play five at the back.
The result against Wales means that USA need to take a positive approach to the game on Friday. A loss would leave their progression hopes hanging by a thread, especially if Wales beat Iran. By the time the game kicks off, they will know the permutations of Group B and what result they need to be looking for against England. In the last 12 months, England have been vulnerable against teams that look to attack against them. If the US press high like they did against Wales, they could cause a lot of problems for the early group leaders.

Interesting stats

  • 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.

Key men

Saka
 
It is too soon to get too hyped about a single performance. England will hope that they still have a lot of games to play in Qatar. Bukayo Saka has positioned himself as a potential breakout star for the Three Lions at the World Cup. He had a very good European Championships in 2021 prior to his penalty miss. The performances were good and he played a major role in the side’s progression to the final. However, he didn’t show the impact in the final third that we have become accustomed to in the Premier League. On Monday, he was at his free flowing best, with his relationship with Kieran Trippier showing signs of real promise. The distribution of the right-back means that attackers playing ahead of him often do well. Miguel Almiron’s explosive form for Newcastle United is another example of this. Saka could be set to be one of the best players of the tournament if he maintains the level he showed against Iran. He scored twice, with the first one being a fantastic strike. Saka showed why he was selected ahead of Phil Foden and he now has six goals in an England shirt. His directness on the right wing will cause a lot of problems for the USA on Friday.
Pulisic
 

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.

Team news 

  • 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.

Verdict

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.

England 2-1 USA