(MENAFN- The Peninsula)
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Doha: After their 6-2 demolition act of Iran, England are firm favourites against the United States when both teams' second tie of World Cup Group B kicks off at Al Bayt Stadium tonight.
The USA could not hold on to a 1-0 lead against Wales in their opening fixture on Monday as a late Gareth Bale penalty made them share the points.
Manager Gareth Southgate on the eve of the match said England will meet a motivated team in the USA.
“Have we ever beaten the US at a World Cup? No. Tomorrow we have to try and make history,” Southgate said yesterday.
“We are good at talking highly of ourselves as a nation on very little evidence. We know we will face a very highly motivated team. I don't think we will be underestimating the US at all.”
The Americans can draw inspirations from their famous 1-0 victory in 1950 and 1-1 draw in 2010.
If England fans had any qualms over the fitness of the team captain Harry Kane who suffered a knock to his right ankle in the second half and played on for 25 minutes before being substituted in the match against Iran, Southgate put them to rest yesterday.
Spurs striker had scans on Wednesday but Southgate said Kane was fit to face the Americans.
“He's good. He's worked a little bit more individually today, but he'll be back in with the team tomorrow and all good for the game,” Southgate told ITV in an interview.
“We just checked him out just to see. I think, sometimes, when you're treating things, it's important to know exactly what is there and that was all good.”
Kane played a key role against Iran claiming two assists to set up goals for both Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford. Kane has scored 51 goals for England and needs just two more to equal Wayne Rooney's all-time record.
After their electrifying performances against Iran England's young guns Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka, along with experienced Sterling must be raring to go against the Americans. One worry for Southgate though after the opening victory was England's defence which let Iran score two late goals in the game.
One defender in England colours is approaching a milestone in his career.
Harry Maguire who went off after 70 minutes of the opening win over Iran after feeling ill, will win his 50th cap for his country today.
Southgate was all praise for Maguire yesterday although the 29-year-old defender has lost his starting place for the Manchester United and had been clearly off-color for England.
“It's not for me, it's for us, because he is important for England,” Southgate said of Maguire.
“We wanted to build our team to have the capability to play from the back and Harry and John Stones, who have played the majority of the matches across the last five years, have provided an incredible platform to build on.
“We won't appreciate what stability that's given us in possession until they're not there. And that's the start point, as they also defend well and fight for each other. It's great for Harry to get this 50th cap, it's well deserved. He's played a major part of us getting two big tournament performances and we all want this to be the third.”
The US team featuring several Premier League players, including Chelsea's Christian Pulisic and Leeds duo Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson, will not be pushovers.
“Tomorrow's game will be very different to the first match. They press the ball well and have players with experience in top European leagues,” Southgate said.
The Gregg Berhalter-coached side's teen midfielder Yunus Musah said although stakes are high against England the experience they gained in Monday's draw against Wales will stand in good stead for the youth looking team.
“We've got that first game out of the way and we have a feel for the atmosphere and we know what we are here for and it's going to be easier to control those nerves,” he said.
Born to Ghanaian parents in New York's Bronx, and having spent his early years near Venice and moved to London with his family in 2012 before coming through the ranks at Arsenal's academy, 19-year-old central midfielder Musah could have built a career for himself in England.
He even represented England from under-15 to under-18 level but opted for a move away from Arsenal to Valencia in 2019 and made his debut for the United States a year later against Wales.
“It was a difficult decision because I had a great time with England and the country did a lot for me,” Musah told reporters at the United States team base.
“This is going to be a special game for sure because I've played on both sides,” he said.
When: Today at 10:00pm
Where: Al Bayt Stadium
England have a predictably excellent record against the USA and have won eight of the 11 matches played between the two teams, as opposed to the USA's two victories.
The USA are winless in their last five matches against England in all competitions, with their previous victory against the Three Lions coming by a 1-0 margin in 1993.
England have failed to defeat the USA at the FIFA World Cup so far and have suffered one defeat and one draw in their two games so far.