The casual soccer fan probably watched Friday’s 0-0 draw between the United States and England and immediately thought there was no way it could be called a success.
But the immediate reaction from the Americans after Friday’s game was the opposite, and with good reason.
The USMNT entered Friday’s game a heavy underdog, but a far less superior US team went toe-to-toe with the clear favorite in Pool B.
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“I think both teams worked hard, both teams struggled at times, and overall I’m pleased with the effort. Anytime you can get a World Cup shutout, it’s a good thing,” the head coach said. Gregg Berhalter said after the game.
The USA outscored the English 7-3 and outshot them 10-8, although three of England’s shots were on target, compared to just one for the Americans.
“I think there were definitely a lot of positives. We had stretches even in the first half where we looked dominant and created some chances.” Christian Pulisic said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t finish off some of them, but we managed the game pretty well. And finishing with a draw against them is obviously a pretty good result, but we feel like we could have even won the game.”
“That was the only thing missing, just putting the ball in the back of the net.” Weston McKennie added. “The final passes were there, but with bad luck. We took away the point, and the most important thing is that it is in our hands how we want to continue in this group.”
Yes, it is in your hands.
Going into the match, the United States controlled its own destiny, but a loss would have put the United States in the ditch of Group B, needing a miracle to advance to the knockout stage.
However, with the draw, Americans control their own destiny.
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However, when Tuesday rolls around, they can’t afford their third draw of the tournament. They need a win and they must win to advance. With an upset victory on Friday, they could have secured a draw in the final group game.
But if the match against England was a sign of things to come, the USMNT has something positive to build on.
“It’s all about winning the game,” Pulisic said. “So we have to come out very aggressive and win the game to go to the next round, and I’m very confident that we can do that.”
“I would like to see goals. We are proud, but our work is not done,” Berhalter said. “We have to win on Tuesday, and we know that five points get us through. We have to focus on five points.”
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The start of Tuesday is at 2 pm ET. Iran is 1-0-1 with three points in the tournament.