By JAMES ROBSON
DOHA, Qatar – England scored six goals in their World Cup opener against Iran, but it was the two they conceded that worried coach Gareth Southgate and gave him some encouragement. hope in the United States.
“At the end, we looked sloppy,” Southgate said of Monday’s 6-2 win over Iran. He also warned that the United States will come “full throttle” in Friday’s Group B game.
The tournament has already produced shocking results, including Saudi Arabia’s win over Argentina and Japan’s upset over Germany.
A United States victory over England would not be on the scale of Saudi Arabia’s victory, but Gregg Berhalter’s side are undoubtedly the underdogs against one of the tournament favourites.
The two goals conceded against Iran allowed Southgate to focus on an otherwise encouraging performance.
His message to the players is clear: they will have to be better against the American side who drew 1-1 with Wales in their first group game.
“It’s a top nation with a lot of top players who have played in the Premier League that we’ve come up against,” said England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. “But it’s about us as a team 100%. It’s about taking the Iran result and approaching the American game in a positive way.
One such Premier League player is Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic, an eye-catcher for the England defence.
“He’s good with both feet, very clinical,” Pickford said. “We have to beware of him.”
A victory for England would see them through to the knockout stages with one game to play – but the fates of Lionel Messi and Argentina are proof that nothing can be taken for granted.
“That’s what World Cup football is all about,” Pickford said. “There are going to be surprises.”
American goalkeeper Matt Turner is planning more at the World Cup.
“You see the world of football stabilizing in many ways,” he said. “Teams have game plans. Teams have been investing in their youth academies for several years.
“I think the message is that when you have a team that’s buying into the same message, you can beat anybody on any given day.”
The United States beat England 1-0 in the 1950 World Cup and the teams drew 1-1 in 2010.
If the United States are to produce the last surprise of this year’s tournament, they will have to contain a ruthless English attack in the match against Iran, scored by two goals from Bukayo Saka.
“I think it’s pretty clear that he’s one of the young stars in world football,” said Arsenal team-mate Turner. “He’s a top player and you don’t need me to tell anyone in our team how much of a threat he is in the game. He scores goals in different ways. He’s really developed , matured.
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