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England-USA 0-0: the match –

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England-USA 0-0: the match –

Goalless game: better the stars and stripes national team with Adams and Musah dominant in the middle of the field. In recovery, the Tottenham striker missed a great opportunity

No qualification with one round to spare. England, which still has a foot and a half in the round of 16, was stopped by the United States, never beaten by the English at the World Cup. Tradition also respected in Qatar 2022 with the USA which, on the whole, have made themselves more dangerous and have created the greatest number of goal chances. On points they would have deserved success, but this draw also leaves them in the running for the next round: to get it they will have to beat Iran on the last day, while Kane and his teammates, sparkling on their debut, took a step back under all points of view. The “derby” against Wales will be anything but a walk in the park, but being able to win the round of 16 even in the event of a 4-0 defeat is a nice… pillow to sleep on.

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In the first half, the USA did better than England, slower and more predictable. Southgate fielded the same eleven that had overwhelmed Iran, while Berhalter switched just one man, centre-forward Sargent, to make way for Wright. The English controlled the pace with a rather predictable low dribble that had the aim of freeing up the insertions of Bellingham or Saka on the left; the Americans waited, defending themselves in order and trying to leave as soon as possible. The stars and stripes national team had a few more fears and, knowing that they were inferior at least in terms of international experience, first of all they thought above all about not taking them: Pulisic is often backwards, transforming the 4-3-3 into the non-possession phase in 4-4-2, but England did not exploit the territorial advantage granted. The only really dangerous conclusion was from Kane, on Saka’s assist, but Zimmerman blocked saving a goal already scored. As the minutes passed, the US found the right spacing between the departments and understood that the opponents could be put in difficulty if pressed and attacked with speed in the spaces. Youngsters Adam and Musah started to dominate in the midfield and built one chance after another: McKennie missed a… penalty in the move following Weah’s cross, Musah tried from outside with no luck, while Pulisic struck with a big hit the crossbar. England was on the ropes because, after the timid Iran debut, they were facing a tough formation, which had no awe. Before the break Pulisic’s header went just wide, while Mouth praised Turner’s reflexes.

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The second half started again with the United States in the center of the ring and England forced to close with difficulty. Berhalter’s men overturned the data on possession and continued to play the game, without however creating major dangers at the goal defended by Pickford. Southgate understood that he had to change something and halfway through the second half introduced Grealish for Sterling and Henderson for Bellingham, switching from 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-3. Playing mirror on their opponents, but above all taking advantage of a little tiredness from their opponents, England rebalanced the match and made the higher quality of their substitutions weigh, above all when Rashford was also thrown into the fray. At that point, the USA thought about checking, settling for a draw, and ran only one real risk with a header from Kane wide, in full stoppage time.

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