World Cup Spectator’s Guide: US wants to repeat 1950 tragedy

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The United States faced England for the first time at the World Cup, The hastily assembled American squad was a motley group that included a postman, a gravedigger, a dishwasher, and a schoolteacher.

Few of the players had ever met before they traveled to Brazil in 1950 to take on the strongest England, and the United States’ 1-0 upset victory is often compared to the 1980 Miracle on Ice victory over the Soviet Union in Lake Placid. The Olympic Games as one of the greatest moments in the history of American sports.

The disparity between the two national football teams is no longer so great 72 years later, with England and the United States set to play Group B on Friday. In fact, US midfielder Tyler Adams said he was more afraid of spiders than he was of England.

The Americans are outsiders after a 1-1 draw with Wales. while England pulls away from a 6-2 first victory over Iran.

“England is still a big team after all, but the intimidation factor? I wouldn’t say there are many things that scare me besides spiders,” said Adams, who plays for Premier League club Leeds.

“It’s okay for me, but obviously I’m going to have to play against all these big players, so I’ve done it before. But we also want to show what we can do and that American football is evolving and growing in the right direction.”

But that American victory in 1950 was a rare victory over England, who won eight of the 11 games they faced the United States. A plus? None of these victories was a World Cup match, and the second meeting between the teams on the biggest football scene ended in a 1-1 draw in 2010.

US midfielder Christian Pulisic doesn’t want to hear about stats, ratings or predictions. The Americans did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup and, according to the results of the starting draw, they share one point with Wales in the fight for reaching the playoffs.

England lead the group with three points. A win or draw on Friday would put the Americans in a decent position to be one of the two teams to come out ahead.

“We don’t look at the odds and we didn’t come to the World Cup just to count the numbers,” Pulisic said. “We go, we do our best in every game we play, we make America proud. Wherever this leads us, we must wait and see.”


An England win would take the Three Lions to the round of 16 with one game to go, but manager Gareth Southgate warned against complacency after Iran’s first thrashing.

England captain Harry Kane, 2018 World Cup top scorer, injured his ankle against Iran, while defender Harry Maguire left the game with blurred vision in the 70th minute. Kane has been training with the team in recent days and is expected to play on Friday, with Maguire revealing he will play in his 50th appearance for the national team.

Southgate told his team that they should be even better against the United States than they were against Iran, and he thought the two late goals conceded proved that England had been sloppy at the end of that game.

“This is a leading nation with many of the best players that have played in the Premier League and that we have faced,” said England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. “But it concerns us as a team 100%. It is about us taking the result from Iran and positively entering the US game.”


Qatar returns to competition after becoming the first host country in World Cup history to lose its first match, losing 1–0 to Ecuador on the opening night of the tournament.

Qatar gets another chance to win against Senegal, who also lost the first match.

“There is a lot of room for improvement. Maybe responsibility and nerves took over,” said Qatar head coach Felix Sanchez. “We started badly. It was a terrible start.”

Senegal is missing Sadio Mane, the Bayern Munich striker who was out of the tournament with a leg injury. Midfielder Sheihou Kouyate is expected to miss Friday’s game. with a hamstring injury.

Without Mane at the World Cup Senegal lost to the Netherlands 2:0 Coach Aliou Cisse demands more from strikers Ismaila Sarr and Crepin Diatta.

“We needed to be more efficient. Ismaila and Krepin are responsible there, but the absence of Mane is, of course, a problem for us,” Cisse said. “Our strikers are good and we know what they can do. We need to work on this with Ismaila and others. We expect a lot from him and Krepin.”


Gareth Bale scored a late penalty goal to help Wales draw against the United States in the first leg and was overjoyed to get the lead on his World Cup debut.

Bale, 33, who plays for the Los Angeles Galaxy in MLS, didn’t hesitate when he was called on to take a penalty.

“It was always supposed to be me. Without a doubt,” Bale said. “I feel like I should have taken a step forward and I was happy to do so.”

The Asian team will not have goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand, who is out due to injury. Iran’s medical staff allowed him to continue playing after colliding with a teammate in the first match, but he later collapsed on the field and was taken to a local hospital. Hossein Hosseini, stunt double, needs to be checked by Bale.

Iran, which has qualified for the last two World Cups, has never made the playoffs.


Ecuador and the Netherlands have won their opening matches and Friday’s game will see striker Enner Valencia take on striker Memphis Depay.

Valencia scored both of Ecuador’s goals in a 2-0 win over Qatar before walking away with a sore knee but are set to play Friday.

“Enner will play against the Netherlands, there is no doubt about that,” Ecuador coach Gustavo Alfaro said.

Depay returned from a hamstring injury and led the Netherlands in a 2-0 win over Senegal. He came off the bench in that match but wants to start with Ecuador.

“He is a player who can make a difference,” said Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal. “He will want to play, but I have to evaluate his form.”

A win by either team would most likely guarantee promotion from Group A. ___

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