England labored to a dull draw with America, missing the opportunity to lock up qualification for the World Cup knockout round.
For lengthy stretches, Gareth Southgate’s team underperformed. England hoped to advance to the round of 16, but they needed to match their enthusiasm and commitment.
Christian Pulisic hit the crossbar in the first half, and Weston McKennie squandered a simple opportunity. Just before halftime, Mason Mount forced a fine save from USA goalkeeper Matt Turner.
But this was an unremarkable performance that lacked the attacking ferocity that helped the Three Lions thrash Iran in their opening match, leaving them with an uncertain future going into their game against Wales.
England is still the clear favorite to go to the knockout round since they only need to avoid losing to Wales by four goals.
??????? Football 0️⃣➖0️⃣ Soccer ?? pic.twitter.com/91D62VaqMr
— 433 (@433) November 25, 2022
Dismal England do just enough to earn a draw
England’s performance was completely different from the innovation and threat that helped them defeat Iran only a few days prior.
Instead, this was a mediocre attempt met with raucous jeers from fans at the final whistle.
They were fortunate that the USA, led by the outstanding Pulisic, did not take advantage since they lacked vigor and zip and consistently appeared tired.
England’s only real threat to the USA in the second half came from captain Harry Kane’s late header that went wide.
Jordan Henderson eventually took the position of Jude Bellingham. Since he could not provide the highlight-reel drive that gave Iran the victory.
Given the Manchester United captain’s dismal performance over an extended period at the club level, Southgate’s choice to stick with Maguire has come under many well-deserved scrutinies.
The management had bet on Maguire continuing his strong track record at important events. Maguire was undoubtedly a rare shining light on a very dark night for England.
Although England is still very likely to qualify, this was a sobering reality check.
When the stakes are heightened later in the tournament, they will need to do much better than this.
Poor performance from @England, but that happens at a World Cup at some stage. The big question, even with such a talented bunch, is whether the manager can change things positively with his tactics and substitutions when it’s not working.
— Gary Lineker ?? (@GaryLineker) November 25, 2022
Southgate plays down boos as he highlights positives from the draw
Despite the boos that greeted the end of a tedious 0-0 draw with the United States, which the England manager knows would add to this “tournament of external noise,” Gareth Southgate remained happy.
“But, were we booed off? The England manager remarked, “I’m not sure if that was directed at us or… I don’t know.”
“Look, I’m incredibly impressed with the players’ effort. They were a formidable opponent to defend against. It was always going to take a lot of work to recover from the high performance the other day and maintain the same energy and level of quality.”
“We controlled the game exceptionally well. Yes, we could have opened up and generated more quality opportunities, but we needed more zip and quality in the final third.”
“Their front six made it challenging to go through and get at their defense. Our two center-backs were exceptional on the ball players. It is challenging to play with such poise when facing the pressure and angles that the USA team applies.”
“Only when you have two participants, as we do, can you truly understand the burden the game may place on them. We’re in an excellent position, yet, there is still work to be done before we can qualify.”
?️ "Were we booed off? I'm not sure that was aimed at us"
Gareth Southgate reacts to England's 0-0 draw against USA. pic.twitter.com/BHVba5VrGx
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) November 25, 2022
Carragher: Get Phil Foden On
On Friday night, Jamie Carragher and many others questioned why Phil Foden did not come on for England against the United States.
“You could almost hear a nation screaming at the TV: “Get Phil Foden on!” as England struggled to generate a chance against a well-organized USA team.”
“I was one of the people who hoped Gareth Southgate would choose the Manchester City player.”
“Ask any football fan following the Premier League over the past three years. Who is the most naturally talented English footballer playing right now? and 80% would respond with Foden. The other 20% need to pay more attention.”
“It seemed odd for Southgate to choose his City teammate Jack Grealish ahead of him when he turned to his substitutes. If Pep Guardiola needed a game-winning goal, would he look to Grealish before Foden? extremely unlikely.”
“To be fair to Southgate, it must be said Foden hasn’t yet displayed his Manchester City form while wearing the England jersey.”
“He has a place at this stage, ideally during this competition. Why and how that may be rectified sooner rather than later must be the bigger question.”
Phil Foden created as many chances against the USA as Raheem Sterling, Mason Mount and Harry Kane.
Phil Foden did not play…#FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/IvIOzRq63G
— Squawka (@Squawka) November 25, 2022