World Cup 2022: USMNT qualification chances in the balance after tie with England

Al Khor, Qatar - The USMNT will have mixed feelings after a creditable 0-0 draw with England that leaves their hopes for a spot in the World Cup last 16 in the balance.

Antonee Robinson and Shaquell Moore shake hands with England's players at the end of the game.
Antonee Robinson and Shaquell Moore shake hands with England's players at the end of the game.  © REUTERS

The US has now gone three World Cup games unbeaten against their much stronger opponents, but in some ways, this will feel like an opportunity missed.

England sent out the same lineup that smoked Iran 6-2 in the opening Group B game, with Harry Kane fit after a foot problem, but Gareth Southgate's team was strangely mellow from the off against the Americans.

Greg Berhalter's players, on the other hand, were bolder than in the 1-1 draw with Wales and dominated between the opening and closing stages of the match. Haji Wright, the only new name in the starting line-up, headed wide before Weston McKennie fired over and Christian Pulisic struck the bar in the first half.

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Kane had one early effort blocked and Mason Mount had England's best first-half chance saved. The Three Lions had more possession after an hour, with US legs tiring, but still created very little. They had fewer shots at target and will be the happier side with the final result.

Despite showing quality all over the pitch – especially at fullback, where both Sergiño Dest and Antonee Robinson excelled – the USMNT struggled with decision-making in the final third and couldn't maintain the ferocious pressing for the entire 90 minutes.

This was the fifth goalless draw of the tournament, with the all-time record not far away at seven, but it never felt boring. That won't be much of consolation for the Team USA, who will face Iran on Tuesday in the mother of all grudge matches.

Only a win will guarantee qualification to the knockout stages, after Iran's dramatic 2-0 win over Wales on Friday left it in second place in the group.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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