England, which made a magnificent start to its FIFA World Cup campaign with a 6-2 win over Iran, was held to a goalless draw by the USA, ranked 16th in the FIFA rankings. It did not make the thousands of England fans at the Al Bayt Stadium happy. They jeered the Three Lions for failing to return home with a win.
MATCH HIGHLIGHTS: ENGLAND vs USA
Gareth Southgate, the England manager, however, said fans booing his side will not affect his players. He is determined not to let his players be influenced by “external noise” as England looks to end its 56-year-long wait for World Cup glory.
“People are going to react how they are going to react. I cannot let that affect how I feel about the team or how the team feels. I’m sure there will be a lot of noise. This is the tournament of external noise. We are on track with a bit to do,” said the 52-year-old coach at the post-match press conference.
“Of course I want our fans to go home happy and I want our fans at home to have a smile on their faces. We have not quite managed to achieve that. I am sure there will be a lot of noise about the performance but not a lot of teams go through with nine points,” he added.
Southgate, however, admitted that England lacked sharpness and agility against the USA. After such an empathic victory in the opening game against Iran, this dismal performance surprised the fans.
“The players were very down and disappointed after the game but I told them that’s not how it’s going to be. They showed another side to their game and that will be important going forward,” said Southgate.
“We were coming off the emotional high of the first game. To find that same energy was always going to be a challenge. The US front six make it so difficult to get at their defence,” explained the coach.
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It was a frustrating night for England in which it lost possession to the USA for most of the game and struggled to create any chance for goals against a pumped-up USA side.
England captain Harry Kane said, “It was not the best performance for sure. Good spells with the ball, but we didn’t quite have the final product. Clean sheet puts us in a great position in the group.”
England is currently on top of the Group B with four points in two matches.