Harry Kane calls USA World Cup performance ‘complete contrast’ to Iran game, insists Three Lions are in ‘great position’

Harry Kane said that England’s draw with the USA was in “complete contrast” to their 6-2 win against Iran, but insisted that the Three Lions are in a “great position” in the group.

USA fought hard to earn a precious point against a disappointing England side as the Three Lions squandered the chance to book their place in the last 16.

Gareth Southgate’s side were rampant against Iran earlier in the week as they got off to a dream start, but were troubled by a resilient USA team that needed a result after a draw with Wales in their opener.

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The game ended 0-0 and England captain and World Cup 2018 golden boot winner Harry Kane – who is yet to find the back of the net after two games – put it down to a lack of quality in the final third.

“Wasn’t our best performance for sure, we had some good spells with the ball, created some good positions, it just didn’t quite happen in the final third today,” he told ITV after the game.

“Just being clinical [on what was missing in attack], I think it’s a complete contrast to the other game against Iran where we took our chances really well, today we had two or three good opportunities and we didn’t really put it away. Overall we played a tough team and we move on.”

England remain in pole position after the second round of matches in Group B, leading Iran by a point after the latter’s victory against Wales earlier on in the day.

Despite the slip-up on Friday evening, Kane isn’t worried about England’s chances of qualifying on Tuesday when they play against Wales.

“Great clean sheet, puts us in a great position in the group,” he insisted.

“They pressed really well, we knew before the game they’d come out and make it really difficult for us, and I thought at times we dealt with it well but they’re a good side and you have to respect them, and a draw isn’t the end of the world for us, it puts us in a great position in the group and yeah we look forward to the next one.

“Absolutely [on avoiding defeat despite not playing well], we know we can play better for sure, but it’s a draw in the World Cup, no game is easy in the World Cup. After our first performance people thought we were just going to landslide every team we play but that’s not the case, a clean sheet is really pleasing, a point isn’t what we came for but it puts us in a good position.”

Harry Maguire did his bit in defence as England earned an important clean sheet, and was also critical of England’s lack of goal threat.

“They’re a good team and we just wasn’t as clinical,” Maguire admitted. “We wasn’t ruthless enough in the final third, we didn’t execute the final pass well enough but we know we have good forwards in this team so I’m sure next game we’ll be fine.

“We weren’t at our best, but I think in the end it’s a point, it puts us in a strong position in the group.”

USA earned a crucial point to keep their qualification hopes intact going into the final round of group stage matches, and Maguire was full of praise for Gregg Berhalter’s side.

“World Cup games are never easy and we knew coming into the game they’re a good team,” he explained. “We watched lots of them in previous matches, they’re a good team and they play at a good tempo, we had to work hard out there and we could have maybe nicked it in the end, I mean they had a couple of chances but we could have been a little more clinical with our chances and we would have probably won the game.

“There were some positive parts and we’ll take those, but we also need to work on the parts we need to improve on.”

England must avoid losing by four goals or more when they face Wales on Tuesday to qualify for the knockout stages.

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