England 0-0 USA: Gareth Southgate’s flat Three lions held to World Cup draw as last-16 qualification goes to the wire


Goalless draws have been a feature of this World Cup so far, and England and the USA played out another stalemate at the Al Bayt Stadium.

The United States had the better of the first half, with Winston McKennie missing a good chance shortly before Christian Pulisic rattled a shot off the bar. As the half drew to a close, Mason Mount forced a smart save from Matt Turner.

The second half petered out with neither side able to create an open look at goal. The United States won a succession of corners, but Harry Maguire dealt with the incoming crosses.

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England will now play Wales in their final group game, while the USA face Iran. All four teams can still qualify from Group B.

TALKING POINT

Reality bites for England? After the hyperbole that followed England’s 6-2 win over Iran four days ago, the criticism they will now receive after a tepid and empty draw tonight will feel like a bucket of cold water for Southgate’s players.

The USA were more than capable opposition, with their midfield of McKennie, Tyler Adams and Yunus Musah controlling the match as England toiled around them. England were pinned back by a vibrant American side, and this might now prompt Southgate to switch to the back three he prefers.

If you can’t win it don’t lose it, as the saying goes. A World Cup is two tournaments and England are most of the way through the first one. It will be what they do in the second that defines Southgate’s team; a switch to three at the back, releasing the players in the full-back and wide forward areas where England are so strong, might soon be necessary.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH – Christian Pulisic (USA)

It’s been a taxing time for Pulisic at Chelsea in recent weeks, but he carried the fight for his team tonight. His quick distribution and linking with a lively midfield behind him kept driving the USA forwards, and he came closest to breaking the deadlock with a shot that rattled off the bar.

PLAYER RATINGS

England: Pickford 6; Trippier 6, Stones 6, Maguire 7, Shaw 5; Rice 6, Bellingham 6, Mount 5; Saka 6, Kane 6, Sterling 5

Subs: Henderson 7, Grealish 6, Rashford 6

USA: Turner 6; Dest 7, Zimmerman 6, Ream 6, Robinson 6; McKennie 7, Adams 7, Musah 7; Weah 6, Wright 6, Pulisic 8

Subs: Aaronson 6, Moore 6, Reyna 6, Sargent 6

Matchcast: full match stats and commentary

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

26’ BIG CHANCE! Musah, McKennie and Adams are a tidy, compact three, and work a nice move in the England half. It leads to Musah crossing into the box from the right; it’s low, but it finds McKennie near the penalty spot and he half-volleys the best chance of the night over the bar.

33’ OFF THE BAR! McKennie goes on a rapid surge down the right, and finds Musah on the edge. Musah lays it off to Pulisic, who shifts the ball onto his left and crashes the ball off the bar and away! The US are really on top at the minute.

45+1’ EXCELLENT SAVE! Sterling cushions a lay-off to Mount on the edge, who wallops a drive at goal. It’s low and to the bottom corner, but Turner gets down superbly to turn it around the post.

49’ SLICK BREAK The US glide forward through Pulisic, who feeds Wright on the left of the box. Wright cuts onto his right but his shot his blocked, before McKennie wildly slashes the rebound over the bar from 20 yards out.

90+3’ CHANCE! It’s a great ball from Shaw, and Kane meets it on the run, 10 yards out. It’s a free header, but he doesn’t connect properly and it flies yards wide of goal.

KEY STAT

The USA have never lost to England at the World Cup. They beat England in 1950, drew with them in 2010 and earned another draw tonight in Qatar.

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