Verdict: England win
Best Odds: 4/7
Looking to lay down another Group B marker and put one foot in the knockout stage, England will meet the USA on Friday night at the Al Bayt Stadium.
Starting with England, while the Three Lions might have opened this year’s World Cup in the midst of an extended blip, Gareth Southgate’s men laid down a real marker earlier in the week. Putting on a thumping display in Doha as they breezed their way to a 6-2 romp against Iran, the European giants will be desperate to use that as a platform to build on. Tipped as the leading contender to claim top spot in Group B, England will now be hoping to find some stability at the back. Signing off their pre-World Cup preparations with an action-packed 3-3 draw against Germany during September’s international break, Southgate’s side have recorded just a single clean sheet from any of their previous seven appearances across all formats. However, drawing a line under their Nations League nightmare in Doha a few days ago, England will know that another victory here would put one foot in the knockout stage.
Despite undergoing a scan on a potential ankle injury earlier in the week, Harry Kane has been given the green light to feature on Friday night. However, Leicester’s James Maddison is once again set to miss out here.
After breezing their way to a 6-2 romp against Iran on Monday, Southgate could be tempted to name the same starting XI here.
As for the USA, eventually throwing away a late lead against Wales earlier in the week and having to settle for a 1-1 draw in Al Rayyan, Gregg Berhalter’s men will know that they missed out on a golden chance. While the Stars and Stripes might have stunned Mexico last year as they were crowned Gold Cup champions, the former Columbus Crew boss has seen his side show some recent inconsistencies. Without a win from any of their last four appearances across all competitions, the USA will know that they face a huge task on Friday night. Although they might still have their sights set on finding a route out of Group B, Berhalter’s side should be worried by their most recent meeting against the Three Lions. Suffering a 3-0 drumming when they made the trip to Wembley back in 2018 for a friendly showdown, the Whites could be needing a minor miracle here.
Despite both limping off against Wales earlier in the week, USA have confirmed that the midfield duo of Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah are set to feature on Friday night.
Coming off the bench on Monday, Leeds’ Brendan Aaronson will be hoping to make his full World Cup debut here.
Key Factors to Consider
- When the two sides last faced off back in 2018 for a friendly showdown, England picked up a 3-0 victory at Wembley.
- The Three Lions’ 6-2 win against Iran earlier in the week brought an end to their six-match winless run.
- Eventually settling for a 1-1 draw against Wales in their Group B opener, the USA have failed to win any of their last four matchups across all formats.
- Likewise, the Stars and Stripes have managed to win just two of their last eight appearances – a run that stems back to March 27th.
- England have recorded just a single clean sheet from any of their last seven appearances.
While England might have opened this year’s World Cup in the midst of their longest winless run since 1993, Southgate’s men laid down a real marker earlier in the week. Eventually breezing their way to a 6-2 romp against Iran in Doha, the Three Lions will be desperate to lay down another Group B marker on Friday night. Knowing that another victory would put one foot firmly in the knockout stage, the European giants should be smelling a chance. With the USA managing to muster just a pair of wins from any of their last eight appearances across all competitions, England will also be boosted by their most recent meeting against the Stars and Stripes. Landing a 3-0 win when they welcomed Berhalter’s side to Wembley back in 2018, we’re expecting a similar outcome here.
Verdict: England win
Best Odds: 4/7
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