The US streak above their World Cup weight against England once again

There is a saying in fashion that two is a coincidence but three is a trend. Say what you will about the United States still never losing to England in a World Cup and the abbreviated sample size behind it, but there's definitely something about the habit of Americans stepping up their game when they meet England in soccer's biggest game. stage.

They played for the first time in 1950, when an American amateur team including the famous mailman, dishwasher and hearse driver battled the odds and ruined England's tournament debut 1-0 in Belo Horizonte. Then came the 1-1 draw six decades later in South Africa, when goalkeeper Rob Green's mistake canceled out Steven Gerrard's early strike.

And now it was a goalless draw on a muggy Friday night along Qatar's northeast coast that left American youngster Gregg Berhalter with a clear path to the knockout rounds and feeling very good about themselves after exchanging blows with one of the tournament's favourites. and got the better of the exchange for most of the night.

Their other nine meetings outside of the World Cup, all since the second world war, have been largely one-way traffic: England won eight, never drew and lost once, in something called the US Cup, in 1993. But for some reason inexplicably, the Americans have managed to bat above their weight against the Three Lions when the lights were brightest.

"I don't think we were completely disappointed [with the result]," said Weston McKennie, who squandered the best chance of the night for both teams in the 26th minute when he darted into the box unmarked and fired a volley over. . bar. "We felt like we were all involved. We controlled the ball really well, it was a shame we couldn't put the ball in the back of the net."

This was not the US team we saw in qualifying, who battled hard for a third-place finish at Concacaf to end their eight-year absence at the World Cup. Nor is it a man who has performed reasonably well against so many smaller teams over the last year but has often struggled helplessly against tougher opponents, failing to score in six of their last seven matches against the nations that qualified for Qatar. Neither have looked so lethargic in their recent friendlies against Saudi Arabia and Japan – although they have aged quite well considering the result in Qatar over the past week.

After a shaky opening 15 minutes on Friday, the Americans grew into the game and began to take control of the midfield, where McKennie, Yunus Musah, Christian Pulisic and US captain Tyler Adams dominated their more illustrious counterparts. They defended with discipline and composure beyond their level of experience, denying England any chance to turn their lead in possession into moments of legitimate danger. The US is fearless in transition and sometimes relentless in attack.

It was a step forward even from Monday, when the entire first-team squad and three substitutes made their World Cup debut met with the intensity of a moment against Wales and controlled the ball for long, but couldn't keep up the pressure after halftime and finished it off. Description. Said Matt Turner, Arsenal's second choice keeper and one of five US starters on Friday to play in the Premier League: "We refocused in the second half much better than we did in the first game and it's a sign of growth and a positive sign. .”

Since he was appointed manager after the United States' disastrous failure to qualify for the World Cup four years ago, Berhalter has spoken of changing the way the world views American football. But a blockbuster clash with England offers a unique chance to change perceptions back home.

World Cup game against England the day after Thanksgiving? Those are the things that get regular people under the hood. It's not hard to imagine more people in the US watching Friday's game than in the previous four years of qualifiers and the Concacaf friendly and tournament. Beyond an immediate gamble to reach the knockout stages, this was a unique opportunity to elbow their way into the congested American sports landscape: a night when rubber would hit the streets, or not, with a group breathlessly hailed as the golden generation.

They are a very likeable group. So young and ambitious, unscathed by failure, produced a harmonious blend of self-confidence and humility, a diverse and multicultural collective that reflects the nation they represent like never before. Whether that will change the masses in a sports culture where crazy numbers are prized and the draw is anathema remains to be seen. But saving a point against the European Championship runners-up – and avoiding the heavy defeat that the pessimists had feared after England thrashed six games against Iran earlier this week – gives them valuable time to pursue their case.

"We've talked about how seriously teams take this responsibility to gain momentum in sports in America," said Berhalter. “A good performance will do that. We want to attract public attention. We want to perform at a high level, we want to give them something to be proud of. Nights like tonight help, but there must be more to come.

Calculus is now simple. Wins on Tuesday night against Iran and the US go into the last 16, where a date with the Netherlands, Ecuador or Senegal will follow. From there, only bigger games and bigger prizes await.

"This set up our first knockout game of the World Cup," said Berhalter. “Overall pleased with the performance of the group. The most important thing is group belief, because it never shakes. What I saw before the game was a team that was very focused on getting a result tonight and that's what they did." This article was written by EDUKASI CAMPUS. 

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