England refused to hit the panic button after their lackluster performance in the dull World Cup draw against the United States. Captain Harry Kane acknowledged that his team fell well below the standards they set in the opening game against Iran. But Kane is happy with England’s dominant position heading into Tuesday’s final group game against Wales. “It wasn’t our best performance for sure,” he said.
“We had some good spells on the ball, we were in some good positions but we didn’t have the final product. But a great clean sheet puts us in a great position. After our first match, people thought we were going to crush every team, but we weren’t.
“We’re up against an organized team with some quality players, so we have to respect that. The clean sheet is really nice. One point is not what we came here for, but at least we are in a good position.”
Harry Maguire, who was England’s best player against the Americans, agreed with Kane’s assessment. “He wasn’t at our best, but in the end it’s a point and puts us in a strong position in the group,” Maguire said.
ENGLAND PLAYER RATINGS: Disappointing Harry Kane gets a 5 against USA.
“We weren’t ruthless enough in the last third and we didn’t execute the last pass well enough. We have good strikers, so I’m sure we’ll be back next game. We knew the position in the group, we knew we were in control of the group with four points from two games. We wanted to win and finish the job, but we’re looking forward to the game against Wales.”
Mason Mount praised Maguire’s contribution at the back. “He was directing it everywhere, putting the body on the line, that’s what we want to do,” Mount said. “Defensively we stayed strong as a team. We dug in, we defended our box, we defended some corners, we had some question marks in the back and I think we got through it.
“We tried to play our material, but there was a bit of a lack of technical ability in that final third. They have a very physical midfield and they are a team that knows how to play. You look at the big picture: not many teams win every game in the group. The most important thing is to pass and that’s the big focus now.”
USA captain Christian Pulisic, who came closest to finding a winner with his first-half shot that hit the bar, was pleased with his team’s performance in what was the first goalless draw. of the United States in a World Cup, one that holds the qualification in its own hands.
Victory against Iran on Tuesday will see the US advance to the knockout stages. “I think this team has come a long way. We should be proud of the performance. It should build trust,” Pulisic said.
“I thought there were times when we were in control and pushed them back in their half. We were the underdogs, but we went toe to toe with them and had a very good performance.
“We are not where we want to be, we still have a lot to do in this tournament. I hope we’ve made a lot of people proud, but the job isn’t even close to done.” There is a brief change in the decisive round of group stage games, but midfielder Declan Rice thinks England won’t have a problem with that.
“It’s like playing club football like playing the Premier League and then in Europe,” Rice said. “We have been doing everything we can in terms of recovery, maximizing it. We have another difficult one next. We have to stay positive.”
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