DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Their head-to-head record at the World Cup, England coach Gareth Southgate duly noted, is in favor of the United States.
It’s true. The Americans beat England 1-0 in the 1950 World Cup and the teams drew 1-1 in 2010.
Their next game is on Friday in Qatar, and Southgate has told its players to get out and finally get one.
“Have we ever beaten the United States in a major tournament? Southgate asked during their pre-match press conference. “No, I didn’t think so. So tomorrow we have to try to write history.
Southgate has also mocked England’s reputation for raising expectations as they seek their first World Cup title since their only tournament victory in 1966.
“We’re good at it,” Southgate said. “We are good at speaking highly of ourselves as a nation based on very little evidence. So what we have to do is perform on the pitch. We know that we will face a very motivated team.
“But we have huge respect for our opponent. We know a lot of players in our league. We have to be at our best. The risk is that we think that because we played well the other day, we can just move on to the next game.
The England squad are set to benefit from the availability of striker Harry Kane for the Group B match. Kane, who was the top scorer at the 2018 World Cup, failed to score in the first 6- 2 of the team against Iran, but he injured his left ankle.
“Harry is good,” Southgate said. “It would be a brave move to leave him out of the starting lineup.”
England are also set to bring back Harry Maguire after the defender left the opener with blurred vision.
For now, he’s trying to keep his eyes focused on the World Cup and not the upheavals at Manchester United.
“I’m here with England,” said the defender. “I play at a World Cup – the biggest tournament in the world. So for me, keeping distractions away was easy. I am fully focused on winning every game I play for my country.”
A lot has happened at his club since Maguire flew to Qatar with the rest of the England squad. His team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo had his contract terminated following an explosive interview in which he criticized manager Erik ten Hag, club owners and some players. This was quickly followed by news that the Glazer family are ready to put United up for sale as they seek outside investment.
“Yes, obviously there’s been a lot of talk in the club at the moment,” Maguire said, “but I’ve focused entirely on England and that’s my priority.”
Maguire, whose poor form with United led to him being dropped by Ten Hag, has been a key figure in England’s success in their last two tournaments – reaching the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and the last year’s European Championship final, which they lost in a penalty shootout to Italy.
“Obviously to be chosen for your country is a huge privilege,” said Maguire, who is set to make his 50th appearance for the national team against the United States. “It is the pinnacle of anyone’s footballing career to play in major tournaments for their country, especially World Cups. It is the biggest tournament in the world.”
James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson
AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
. southgate recalls england what not beat the united states world cup