Today at the World Cup: England stumble, Wales wilt and hosts crash out

But the Three Lions have their destiny in their own hands and face the Welsh on Tuesday.

Pa Sport Staff
Friday 25 November 2022 21:36 GMT
England were brought back down to earth with a flat performance against the United States (Mike Egerton/PA)
England were brought back down to earth with a flat performance against the United States (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


England once again failed to beat the United States in a World Cup on Friday as Gareth Southgate’s side were held to a goalless draw in their second Group B fixture.

However, the path to the knockout stage is still clear for England after Wales suffered a damaging 2-0 loss to Iran and had goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey sent off.

Wales must now beat England in their final group game to have any hope of avoiding an early elimination, a fate already suffered by hosts Qatar just two games into their World Cup campaign earlier in the day.

Felix Sanchez’s side were beaten 3-1 by Senegal, and when Holland drew 1-1 with Ecuador in the following match, their exit was confirmed.

Here, the PA news agency keeps on top of events in Qatar.

Disappointing England

The optimism that came with an opening 6-2 win over Iran was quickly tempered by a flat England performance as the United States looked the more dangerous team, certainly in the first half when Christian Pulisic rattled a shot off the crossbar.

The final whistle was greeted with boos, with many fans frustrated not only by the performance but also by Southgate’s decision to keep Phil Foden on the bench while Mason Mount struggled to make an impact.

Victory would have seen England wrap up qualification early and allow Southgate more selection options against the Welsh on Tuesday night, but they nevertheless remain top of the group.

Harry Kane missed a late chance to win it as he headed wide from a free-kick, but in truth England did not deserve three points.

“(It was) the complete contrast to the game against Iran when we took our chances really well,” captain Kane said on ITV. “Today we had two or three opportunities and didn’t quite put it away. We played a tough team and we move on.”

Wales down and almost out

Gareth Bale was “gutted”. Robert Page called it “a hard one to take”.

Wales’ hopes of escaping from Group B are hanging by a thread after a shock defeat by Iran, who scored both of their goals during 10 minutes of time added on after Hennessey saw red in the 86th minute.

Iran had hit both posts and had a goal disallowed before Roozbeh Cheshmi’s strike in the eighth minute of time added on broke the deadlock, with Ramin Rezaeian rubbing it in moments later.

“We want to finish the competition on a high,” boss Page said. “It’s out of our hands for going through, but we want to finish with a good performance and a win. We’re low at the moment, but we’ll get them back up tomorrow for a tough game to finish with.”

Hosts Qatar first to be knocked out

Hosts Qatar became the first nation to be eliminated from this World Cup after a losing to Senegal, a second consecutive defeat to start the tournament.

Holland’s draw with Ecuador later in the day confirmed an early exit for Qatar, who at least got a first World Cup goal through Mohammed Muntari’s powerful header.

That came after Boulaye Dia and Famara Diedhiou had already put Senegal in control, with Bamba Dieng having the final say.

Qatar coach Sanchez said: “Our goal was to be competitive. We have been working for so many months to be able to give a good performance. We are aware of how tough this competition is. We wanted to go far but we know we had limitations as a country.”

Argentina look to Maradona

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni summoned the spirit of Diego Maradona as his side look to bounce back from their shock opening defeat by Saudi Arabia.

Argentina need to beat Mexico on Saturday to get their World Cup back on track, and as the nation marked the two-year anniversary of The Golden Boy’s death, Scaloni paid tribute to the man who captained his country to World Cup glory in 1986.

“Tomorrow we hope to bring some joy for Maradona, who will be looking down at us from the sky,” he said. “That will be the most important thing for us.

“Every time we see images of him it is unbelievable that he is not here with us. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a happy day for all of us.”

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Who’s up next

Tunisia v Australia, 10am, BBC1Poland v Saudi Arabia, 1pm, ITV1France v Denmark, 4pm, ITV1Argentina v Mexico, 7pm, ITV1

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