England and the United States played out a 0-0 draw in Friday’s final World Cup match, with three Chelsea players involved. Christian Pulisic was voted Player of the Match...
Gareth Southgate named an unchanged England side from their big opening game win over Iran.
That meant Mason Mount made his 34th England appearance and Raheem Sterling his 81st, with this his 21st for the Three Lions at a major tournament, the joint second highest total behind Ashley Cole.
Christian Pulisic was winning his 54th international cap and he and his USA team-mates gave England a whole lot more tough a match than Iran had.
In a cagey first half, Pulisic came closer than anyone to scoring with a rising shot against the crossbar. Had that gone in, the Three Lions would have been cursing falling behind after dominating the ball but without creating good chances.
In contrast, the United States finished those 45 minutes strongly but it ended with England’s best effort, a low shot from Mount, fed by Sterling, which was saved.
Hopes of that leading to England asserting themselves more after the break proved unfounded with neither side going very close to breaking the deadlock.
With Wales losing to Iran earlier in the day, England lead the group with four points, one more than Iran with the States on two and Wales with a single point.
The final games in this group when England take on the Welsh and the USA play Iran are on Tuesday evening. All four teams can still make the knockout stage.
A slow start to tonight’s game was punctuated by England captain Harry Kane having a shot blocked and deflected wide. Following the corner, Mount shot well over.
The USA at that stage were content to defend en masse and look for quick counter-attacks, but from a period of possession they fashioned a very good chance with 25 minutes played, wasted by Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie when he volleyed a cross over.
Not long after Pulisic hit the bar at that end of the pitch. It was the Chelsea man’s first significant moment in the match and he did well to work just enough space outside of Kieran Trippier to unleash a powerful strike.
Then a cross deflected off Pulisic’s shoulder and wide of the England goal as half-time approached with the Americans looking dangerous, but then Bukayo Saka turned a near-post chance over and Mount forced the best save from the USA goalkeeper with a crisp low shot.
After the interval, the game progressed with the USA looking the team more likely. England had to see off a succession of Pulisic corners.
Sterling came off midway through the sterile second half which ended with neither side looking especially desperate to avoid the draw, although there was a chance for Kane in added time but he headed a free-kick wide.
The result leaves England still without a World Cup win against the Americans after three meetings.