Day one of the second round of group stage matches kicks off on Friday with England and the United States returning to the field. The Americans will be looking to surprise after drawing Wales in the first game.
That game is late start Friday. Prior to that, Wales and Iran meet in Group B action. Additionally, the hosts take on Senegal and the Netherlands take on Ecuador in Group A.
Wales vs. Iran
Wales (0-1-0, 1 point), Iran (0-0-1, 0 points)
Start time: 5am ET/10am GMT
Event: Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Rayyan
Both teams put in dismal first half performances in their opening matches, but showed more in the second half. Getting a result, and probably a win, is a must for both parties.
Iran were completely outplayed by England in a 6-2 defeat, trailing 3-0 at half time. The Iranians scored a couple of goals in the second half, which will give them something positive to take on in this one.
Meanwhile, the United States completely dominated Wales for 45 minutes, but turned it around in the second half to finish with a 1-1 draw. kieffer mooreA 6ft 5in striker, he was a game changer for his team and put Wales in a decent position to advance. Will Moore play from the start against an Iran team that didn’t show much defensiveness in their first game?
Wales are favored in this one, but not significantly. After drawing in the opener and with England firmly at the top of the group after one game, goal difference could be a target for Wales if they take the lead.
Both teams started defensively in the first games. Wales are more likely to advance in this one, but both teams are more likely to play more open games than Monday.
Iran would be eliminated with a loss.
Qatar vs. Senegal
Qatar (0-0-1, 0 points), Senegal (0-0-1, 0 points)
Start time: 8am ET/1pm GMT
Event: Al Thumama Stadium, Doha
Both Senegal and Qatar lost their first matches, but Senegal was the much more impressive team. The African champions pushed the Netherlands until the end of the match, while Qatar were a disaster from the start.
Senegal are without Sadio Mane and his ability near goal was lost against the Dutch, but Senegal showed quality. The game was goalless at minute 80 and the development of the game was mostly even. That bodes well for Senegal given how poor Qatar looked against Ecuador.
Qatar became the first host nation to lose their opening game and the score could have been worse than 2-0. Can Qataris look respectable in this one? Senegal are heavy favorites and might be thinking of adding a big number to increase their goal difference, but playing against a defensive-minded opponent will be very different from what the Africans saw on Monday.
Holland against Ecuador
Netherlands (1-0-0, 3 points), Ecuador (1-0-0, 3 points)
Start time: 11am ET/4pm GMT
Event: Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
This is the only game of the day with two teams that won their first games. The Netherlands were the group favorites going into the tournament and a 2-0 win against Senegal wasn’t always pretty, but the result was.
The Dutch were outplayed by Senegal for stretches of that match, but ultimately showed enough quality to earn a win. Can Ecuador push the Dutch in the same way? This match will show if the Netherlands have legitimate questions about their team or if Senegal’s quality was real.
Ecuador may feel like they are playing with house money after picking up a win and seeing Senegal lose to the Dutch. Any result in this match will mean the South Americans only need a draw against Senegal in the final to advance.
England vs. USA
England (1-0-0, 3 points), USA (0-1-0, 1 point)
Start time: 14:00 ET / 19:00 GMT
Event: Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
England World Cup debut was as good as it gets on the attacking side. Six goals, many chances and an easy win against Iran. The defensive side is a bit in question after conceding two goals, but that was after the result had already been clearly decided.
These two teams have met twice in the World Cup before and the English won neither. In 1950 the United States won 1-0 and in 2010 it was a 1-1 draw. The Americans would be delighted to get either result again, but that is not expected. The Three Lions are the biggest favorites of the day. England are also heavy favorites (-650) to win the group after the first two games were perfect from their perspective.
The English came with a lot of questions based on recent matches. Iran are not the level of opponent that will determine how successful this World Cup is for England, but scoring six goals is always good for confidence.
The USA may be feeling down after blowing a lead against Wales in the opening game, but they remain slightly favorites to advance ahead of Wales (-125 for USA to advance; +120 for Wales). There is a clear path for the US to move forward even if they lose this game. If England end up taking the group, goal difference will be crucial. After being in the forefront against Wales, the US is likely to be ready to counter-attack in this one.
England can secure a place in the knockout round with a win, regardless of what happens in the Wales-Iran match.
One other thing to note: Four Americans picked up yellow cards against Wales (tim rows, destiny sergino, Kelly Acosta, weston mckennie). If any of those players receive a yellow against England, he will be suspended for the final against Iran.
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(Picture of tyler adams: Danielle Parhizkaran / USA Today)