England manager Gareth Southgate is not convinced that his team was booed off the field during Friday evening’s drab 0-0 draw with the USA in World Cup 2022 Group B..
After hitting Iran for six in their first game of the Qatar tournament, the Three Lions faced the Stars and Stripes at the Al Bayt Stadium with high expectations.
Southgate’s men, on the other hand, labored to a point in a flat performance, with the USA holding firm and effectively pressing to stifle the Euro 2020 runners-up on the evening..
Christian Pulisic had the best chance of the game in the first half, but his effort hit the crossbar, as England missed out on clinching qualification for the last 16 with a game to spare..
Boos and jeers were heard at the final whistle, which many assumed were directed at England’s players, but Southgate has questioned whether that cold reception was truly directed at his team.
Were we booed off the stage? I’m not sure if that was intended for us. Personally, I am very pleased with the players’ participation. “A really tough opponent,” Southgate said following the game..
“It was always going to be difficult to come off the high of the previous day and find the same quality. I thought we played the game very well. Our two center backs were outstanding with the ball. Yes, we lacked zip and quality in the last third.
“But, without the ball, we had to show another side of ourselves. To be a successful team in the tournament, you must show a variety of expressions. I’m sure there will be a lot of commotion, but not many teams in the group get nine points. The players were depressed and disappointed, but I assured them that this would not be the case for the foreseeable future..
At the Al Bayt Stadium, England rarely tested USA goalkeeper Matt Turner, with Mason Mount forcing the Arsenal man into a low save down to his right at the end of the first half.
In the third minute of second-half injury time, Harry Kane fizzed a header wide, but despite their lack of creativity, Southgate did not bring on Phil Foden from the bench.
Instead, Jack Grealish, Jordan Henderson, and Marcus Rashford were brought on, and Southgate was inevitably questioned about why he didn’t bring on Manchester City starlet Foden.
In an interview with ITV Sport, the Three Lions manager justified his decision by saying, “We thought it was the right thing to keep Rashford and Grealish.”.
Instead of Phil [Foden], we went with Marcus [Rashford] and Jack [Grealish] as wide players. We expected Jack to keep the ball well and get it up the pitch, and we expected Marcus’ speed to help us get up the pitch.
“It was a completely different game, and I was very pleased with how we played from the back. They make it difficult to build, and I don’t think people realize how good our two center backs are. They ruled the game tonight.”
England is now one point ahead of Iran at the top of Group B and will clinch first place if they win all three points against Wales next Tuesday..
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