England 0, USA 0 (World Cup Group Stage)
England remained top of their World Cup group despite a poor performance in a goalless draw against USA in Qatar.Embed from Getty Images
Their World Cup group remains open after the USA maintained their record of never having lost to England in the tournament finals.
Gareth Southgate’s men were unchanged from the game against Iran but looked a shadow of the side that swashbuckled their way to a 6-2 win on Monday and both sides were booed off by impatient fans at the end of a tough game to watch.
Southgate was positive about England’s performance against the Americans.
He said: “We controlled the game from the back but were unable to open them up.
But admitted: “We’re not going to sweep through everyone in a tournament without nights like this.
In a tight game, Southgate defended his decision to omit gifted Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden, adding:
“I thought it was the right thing to keep the team from the start.
“I went with Jack [Grealish] and Marcus [Rashford] as wide changes – Jack to keep the ball and Marcus’ speed in the last part of the game.
With England almost assured of qualification, there is a chance for Wales to qualify after the last group game on Tuesday but it would need a draw between USA and Iran and for the Welsh to beat England.
Southgate said: “Wales will be a totally different game, we were up against a difficult side tonight and our centre backs with the ball were excellent.
“A point puts us in a strong position for qualification – if we beat Wales we top the group.
But with Harry Kane’s ankle under the spotlight in the run up to the game he didn’t have any news for fans who will continue to worry about the England captain’s situation.
He said: “I haven’t been able to assess the players post game but Harry’s link play was very important for us.”
Although England edged the game on possession and chances the Americans came close to breaking the deadlock when Christian Pulisic hit the woodwork in the first half although Mason Mount at least tested Matt Turner.
There were even fewer chances in the second half but Manchester United captain Harry Maguire distinguished himself with headed clearances and a strong performance at the back with his partner John Stones as the USA piled on the pressure.
England’s performance was underlined when Harry Kane and to stop a little and headed wide from Luke Shaw’s free kick in injury time as the game meandered to a stalemate.