World Cup 2022: what you need to know about the US game against England

The first time USA men’s team faced England in the 1950 World Cup, a miracle happened. The hastily assembled US team, which was partly made up of amateur players who worked during the day, including teachers, dishwashers and postmen, knew that England was stronger. “Of course, we didn’t have any ideas that we would beat them,” said former US quarterback Harry Keogh. reflection decades later. “But we figured we could give them a fight for it.”

The battle came to a head 37 minutes into the first half, when Haitian-born US striker Joe Gatjens managed to hit the ball just long enough to hit the English goal. England never recovered and the match ended in a 1–0 victory for the United States. The result was so unthinkable that many news outlets, including The newspaper “New York Timessuggested that the said estimate was a typo.

US striker Joe Gaethjens is carried away by cheering fans after the US team beat England 1-0 in a World Cup football game in Belo Horizonte, Brazil on June 28, 1950.  (AP)

US striker Joe Gaethjens is carried away by cheering fans after the US team beat England 1-0 in a World Cup football match in Belo Horizonte, Brazil on June 28, 1950.

AP

Last surviving member of the 1950 US squad. died in 2018, and few people living today will remember that match. However, his legacy towers over the football rivalry between the US and England, whose teams are set to face off on Friday at Al-Bayt Stadium in Doha. The last time these two countries faced each other was at the Men’s World Cup more than 10 years ago in South Africa. It ended in a 1:1 draw. Although England favorite to win this match In Qatar, American fans are hoping that their team can perform a miracle again.

Read more: Meet the 22-year-old star who could make Team USA a World Cup contender

More recent history does not bode well for the US. The team entered this World Cup after didn’t do it four years ago in what was seen as a major setback in efforts to promote the world’s most popular game in the American sports arena – success despite being the US women’s team. Against England in particular, the U.S. men’s team lost the vast majority of their matches—everything, in fact, except a 1950 World Cup group stage win in Brazil and a 2-0 win in the 1993 U.S. Cup. The US team is noticeably younger and less experienced than the Three Lions (as the English team is called) who came to Qatar after impressive performances last year. European Football Championship as well as the 2018 World Cup.

But based on the past, neither side should be making any assumptions about how Friday’s game will play out. England manager Gareth Southgate warned against complacency at Monday’s post-match press conference, noting that the US team “will come for us at full speed.” US national team midfielder Christian Pulisic warned about this a few days before the tournament. “We don’t look at the odds and we didn’t come to the World Cup just to count the numbers,” he told the British publication. Daily Mirror. “We go, we do our best in every game we play, we make America proud. Wherever this leads us, we must wait and see.”

Here’s everything you need to know before playing.

When is the game and how can it be watched in the US?

The match is scheduled to kick off at 2:00 pm ET on Friday, November 25th. Viewers in the US can watch the match live on FOX or with various streaming options.

How did both teams perform in the tournament?

Both teams will enter Al Bayt Stadium unbeaten on Friday. England kicked off their 2022 World Cup on Monday with a convincing 6-2 win over Iran. Although the US secured the lead over Wales later that day with a stunning goal from striker Timothy Weah, the match ended in a draw after a penalty kick from Welsh captain Gareth Bale.

Striker Timothy Weah hugs teammates after scoring the first US goal of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar against Wales at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on November 21, 2022.  (Juel Samad - AFP/Getty Images)

Striker Timothy Weah hugs teammates after scoring the first US goal of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar against Wales at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on November 21, 2022.

Jewel Samad – AFP/Getty Images

Read more: Team USA draws 1-1 against Wales in World Cup opening match

In terms of points, which will ultimately determine which two teams in Group B advance to the play-offs, England top the leaderboard with three points, followed by the US and Wales with one point and Iran with zero. Assuming next week’s victory over Iran is the easiest (though not guaranteed) matchup for the US at this stage of the tournament, a win or draw against England on Friday would put the US in a strong position to win. in the 1/8 finals. If Team USA advances, they will face one of the top two teams in Group A, which includes the Netherlands, Ecuador, Senegal and host country Qatar. But a defeat against England could put those hopes in the balance.

How much does history inform about this match?

The United States and England have developed a healthy, and at times even worthy of memes– football rivalry over the years. Although US players call themselves “Losers“At this World Cup, American fans know that the team is capable of defeating the giants of the sport by beating Brazil in the 1998 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Portugal at the 2002 World Cup.and, of course, 1950s England.

According to Geoffrey Douglas, author of a 1996 book, when the US defeated the Three Lions in Brazil 72 years ago, little news was recorded at home. The game of their life, which tells the story of the match and those involved. When the players returned home after being knocked out of the competition, they found “no one knew anything about it,” Douglas tells TIME, noting that as a sport, football “just wasn’t on the radar” in the sense that which is more popular games such as baseball and football. Only decades later, when the importance of football increased and the history of the 1950 World Cup began to be perpetuated in popular culture, including in 2005 film based on Douglas’s book – Americans have become more aware of the historical upheavals of their country.

Read more: Your Complete Guide to the US Men’s National Team at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

While the US team will feel they have something to prove, the England team will equally look to this match as the decisive one to win their quest for World Cup glory. After all, the Three Lions have suffered several heartbreaking defeats in their recent international competitions, including a penalty shoot-out loss to Italy in last year’s European Championship final and a semi-final loss to Croatia in the 2018 World Cup. Pressure to finally make sure football is coming homeas the English fans say popular battle cryhint at the invention of the country of sports Americans call footballwill be a heavy burden on the Southgate team.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of both teams?

The England squad under manager Southgate often criticized for being too defensive and too cautious, Monday’s 6-2 result against Iran may help dispel that sentiment. Team USA has the opposite problem, lack of reliable protection on his back line.

But England are the favorites for this game, and for good reason. England have experienced a resurgence at Southgate, helped in part by a young but internationally proven team that includes a number of rising stars such as the 21-year-old striker Bukayo Saka.

Englishman Bukayo Saka rejoices after the final whistle after scoring two of the Three Lions' six goals against Iran.  Coach Gareth Southgate walks in the background at the Chalifa International Stadium in Qatar on November 21, 2022. (Robert Michael—picture-alliance/dpa/AP)

Englishman Bukayo Saka rejoices after the final whistle after scoring two of the Three Lions’ six goals against Iran. Coach Gareth Southgate walks in the background at the Chalifa International Stadium in Qatar on November 21, 2022.

Robert Michael—picture-alliance/dpa/AP

Even with their younger players, England field one of the most internationally aged squads at this tournament – its captain Harry Kane became the top scorer of the 2018 World Cup. The US, on the other hand, claims to be one of the youngest teams, second only to Ghana, with an average age of 25. While the youth of the US players can be seen as an advantage when it comes to the energy and intensity they can For matches, it can also be seen as a disadvantage: Team USA’s absence from the 2018 competition means the team has little to no World Cup experience, except for the veteran 2014 DeAndre Yedlin.

Read more: Tyler Adams is the US soccer captain he desperately needs

However, the players in the current US roster have been drawn from the best professional teams in the world, including some that compete in Europe’s toughest leagues. “We’ve never had a team that had so many players playing at such a high level on their club teams,” says Jorn Buchholz, executive director of the National Football Hall of Fame in Texas, “and not only sitting on the bench, but starting “.

How important is this World Cup for the USA?

While the US team is busy with the upcoming World Cup, they will no doubt also be thinking about 2026, when the US should take part in the competition along with neighboring Mexico and Canada.

“As long as they can stay healthy and continue to play at a high level, you will see them in 2026 when they have the World Cup behind them,” says Buchholz. “And I think it will be incredibly beneficial for us in 2026.”

The older, more experienced US team, backed up by a domestic advantage, could be a serious contender four years from now, capable of taking on not only England but any national team. At least that’s what fans like Buchholz are hoping for. Because miracles can happen.

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