World Cup Daily: USA controls its fate after draw vs. England
The U.S. controls its fate entering the final round of group play despite failing to capitalize on its chances against England Friday at Al Bayt Stadium.
Here’s what happened at the World Cup Friday and what to expect Saturday.
Iran got its first win against a European team at the World Cup by scoring two goals in extra time. Iran had been pressuring all game, taking 21 shots to Wales’ 10, but when Dragons goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was sent off in the 86th minute for a poorly timed challenge well outside his box, the floodgates opened. Hennessey is just the third keeper to receive a red card in a World Cup game.
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Iran’s destiny is now in its own hands. A victory over the United States Tuesday (2 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app) would advance Iran past the group stage for the first time ever. Anything less and Iran would be reliant on the England-Wales outcome.
Suffice it to say the U.S. should be prepared for Iran to target three points.
Senegal got back on track after its 2-0 loss to the Netherlands Monday, but it came at the expense of the host nation, which was eliminated from the tournament with Friday’s result and a draw between the Netherlands and Ecuador. Qatar is the first host nation to be knocked out in its second game of a group stage match.
The Netherlands should have no problem getting past Qatar and advancing to the knockout stage based on what we’ve seen in both its matches. The real matchup of consequence is Senegal-Ecuador (10 a.m. ET on FS1 and the FOX Sports app). With Ecuador just one point clear of Senegal it needs a win or a draw to avoid being eliminated.
The United States had England on its heels for most of Friday’s match, but Gregg Berhalter’s side came just a few inches short of pulling off an upset against the mighty Three Lions.
The Americans did get a point, though, which means a win against Iran will put them through to the knockout stage no matter what happens with England-Wales. It truly is “win or go home” for the young Americans.
WORLD CUP 2022: USA FEELING CONFIDENT HEADING INTO PIVOTAL DO-OR-DIE MATCH AFTER DRAW WITH ENGLAND
GOAL OF THE DAY
The dagger in Iran’s win against Wales was an absolute beauty.
SAVE OF THE DAY
England’s Mason Mount sent a powerful shot toward the United States’ goal, but Matt Turner dove to block it out of bounds. It was the difference between a loss and a tie for the U.S.
Before Iran’s late burst, it had the worst luck in front of the goal. Nothing illustrates that more than the sequence in which the ball hit post on back-to-back shot attempts. That’s the type of stuff you typically only see in video games.
Iran kept its confidence and found the back of the net not once, but twice in the final 10 minutes of the game.
Tunisia vs. Australia, 5 a.m. ET on FS1
Australia is the only team in Group D without a point. The good news for the Socceroos is everyone in the group but France has one point, so a win would put Australia back in the mix for a spot in the knockout round. Alternatively, a loss would knock them out of the tournament, even in the event of a massive upset against France.
Poland vs. Saudi Arabia, 8 a.m. ET on FS1
Saudi Arabia shocked the world when it beat Lionel Messi‘s Argentina 2-1 in its group stage opener Tuesday. A win against Robert Lewandowski’s Poland Saturday wouldn’t be as big of an upset, but it would secure its place in the knockout stage, which no one could have predicted going into the tournament.
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France vs. Denmark, 11 a.m. ET on FS1
Denmark can reestablish itself as one of the dark horses to go far in the tournament with a positive result against one of the favorites to win it all, France. It would also put it in a good position going into its final group stage match against Australia Wednesday (10 a.m. ET on FS1 and the FOX Sports app).
Argentina vs. Mexico, 2 p.m. ET on FS1
Argentina’s path to the knockout stage goes through Mexico. No matter what happens in Poland vs. Saudi Arabia earlier in the day — or Saudi Arabia vs. Mexico on Wednesday — it needs a positive result vs. Mexico. From here on, the only results that matter to Argentina are the games it plays in.