2022-11-25 07:17:29

Not just another World Cup game: Why England must beware the little brother grown up in USA rivalry

Logo The Independent
The Independent
By Karl Matchett

Football and in-depth statistics are still relatively new neighbours who do not always sit comfortably alongside each other, but sometimes curiosities do not need to be particularly tricky to count or analyse. There is, for instance, the quirk that ahead of their World Cup 2022 meeting on Friday, England are yet to beat their USA counterparts in even a semi-competitive meeting.

Those dont come around all too often, of course: the sum total of them is the 1950 World Cup, the 2010 World Cup and, sandwiched in between but stricken from the minds of many, the 1993 US Cup. The earliest of those was the infamous 1-0 reversal which some outlets reportedly thought must be wrong, and so printed an erroneous scoreline. The most recent saw Steven Gerrard score, before Clint Dempseys equaliser trickled through Rob Greens hands and over the line.

As for the one in between, that was intended as part warm-up, part acclimatising fixture ahead of the USA 94 World Cup which England did not qualify for in the end. Perhaps fans and coaching staff alike should have seen that coming, after a 2-0 defeat at the Foxboro Stadium. The man who netted the second of those goals still remains the last to score for the USA in a mens victory over England, and he also still remains an iconic figure in US mens national team history: Alexi Lalas, then an instantly recognisable bearded centre-back, now an analyst on the USMNT and beyond.

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