A disappointing winless UEFA Nations League season caused pessimism surrounding Gareth Southgate’s team to decline heading to Qatar after memorable highs of reaching the World Cup semi-finals four years ago and then the final of Euro 2020.
The Three Lions, however, roared to their biggest-ever win in the opening game of a major tournament, a 6-2 victory over Iran, as the nation’s hopes were boosted in a decisive manner.
Bukayo Saka scored either side of strikes from Jude Bellingham and Raheem Sterling in a dominant first-half showing, before substitutes Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish got their names on the scoresheet after the break.
Southgate was “fed up” after Iran’s Mehdi Taremi scored two consolation goals, despite his team’s performance in a game that featured nearly 30 minutes of stoppage time over the course of the two halves.
In fact, the England coach has urged his team to sharpen their focus on Friday when they face a “full-throttle” USA team.
England will take on the United States looking to win their first two World Cup group games for the fourth time, having previously done so in 1982, 2006, and 2018.
In USA’s first match…
Nine minutes before halftime, Timothy Weah gave the Stars and Stripes a deserving lead. However, as Gregg Berhalter’s team lacked energy in the second half, Wales stepped up their game.
Wales’ star player, Gareth Bale, earned Wales a crucial equaliser from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute after Walker Zimmerman clumsily tackled the LAFC forward inside the box.
At their previous two World Cup finals, the USA managed to advance from the group stage, finishing second to Portugal in 2014 and first to England in 2010.
In fact, the Americans’ memorable 1-1 draw with the Three Lions in their most recent match—during which Robert Green mishandled a Clint Dempsey goal—aided them in surpassing Fabio Capello’s team on goal differential.
The Stars and Stripes enter Friday’s game unbeaten in their previous two World Cup encounters with England, including a shocking 1-0 group-stage victory back in 1950.
Similar feats will be necessary if they hope to leave the Al Bayt Stadium with at least a point.
1×2 Betting Odds
Riding on the euphoria of their big win over Iran, The English are the favourites to win this on with the odds of 1.59.
The US after their fighting draw with Wales, enter this match with the odds of 6.2.
The chances that the spoils will be shared stands at 4.33.
Twelve years have passed since these two nations last locked horns on the international stage, and although England were forced to settle for a score draw against the USA in their last meeting, Southgate and co head into Friday’s fixture in buoyant mood and as firm favourites to claim maximum points.
Total goals over/under
The odds that the total number of goals score will be over 2.5, stands at 1.95.
While the odds that the total number of goals will be under 2.5, stands at 2.02.
So the market thinks that this game has a few goals in it, with England scoring the most of them!