Time to kick-start the second round of the group stage – and now many teams need a win. With three points against the USA, England can already start charging for the playoffs.
At 18.00: Netherlands-Ecuador, MTV3
At 21.00: England-USA, TV2 and Yle Arena
Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Commentators: Christoffer Herberts and expert commentator Jani Lyyski
The situation in England: Don’t change a winning concept
Gareth Southgate took England to the European Championship final last year by more or less running the same starting eleven all the way, even after promotion from the group was secured.
Expect the same show this time. After an impressive 6-2 against Iran in the opener, England makes no changes at all, at least not in the starting eleven which, according to safe tradition, has already been leaked to the press. Harry Kane was taken in for an extra scan after taking a knock on his ankle, but the medical gave the green light and the captain can continue in his role as striker, where he did very well against Iran despite going off the pitch.
Behind Kane in the lane, Bukayo Saka and Jude Bellingham impressed above all, and the latter increasingly feels like the factor that makes England a stronger team than last year’s silver squad.
The goal celebration in the opening game came at the right time. After a difficult national team year, optimism is suddenly at its peak again in England, and no one at home expects anything but three points against the USA, which would make England ready for the round of 16 already tonight.
US situation: Concerned after gaming collapse
The USA’s first half against Wales was brilliant, without exaggeration among the best the country has ever produced in a World Cup. This is also why the team’s game-like breakthrough after the break was unexpected. The final result 1-1 was as fair as it was logical after a two-sided match and puts pressure on the USA going forward, the cross in the premiere was an American disappointment.
Confederation captain Gregg Berhalter has already been questioned in his quarters before the World Cup, and the team selection in the premiere has received some criticism. Leeds’ in-form midfielder Brenden Aaronson and Dortmund’s talent Gio Reyna were on the bench, and the choice of Teemu Pukki’s club mate Josh Sargent as striker was not a success either.
The tip from the USA is still that the starting eleven looks the same as last time. The hope is that the Americans learned from Monday’s game and now play two good halves.
Whether it is then enough for points against England is another matter, but even a narrow loss can be valuable as goal difference may well decide the fight for the second promotion place from the group.
Keep an eye on: He wears the WC’s biggest price tag
Which player in the WC would cost the most if sold in January? According to the transfer expertise, the answers are Jude Bellingham. The Borussia Dortmund midfielder is improbably only 19 years old but already feels like a complete player. How good can it be in five years? The thought is dizzying.
Also, he is English in a football world where the biggest money is in the Premier League, so Bellingham is worth well over €100m.
The teenager was brilliant in the opener against Iran, and now has even more of the world’s eyes on him ahead of the meeting with the USA. Join the club!
Commentator’s tip: No finish party tonight
Half a dozen English goals in the opener, but don’t count on a similar discharge today. The USA will sell themselves dear and are good enough to frustrate England in a game that was hugely hyped in the States.
One or two to England, zero to the US? We say 1-0.