England wary of USA over World Cup excitement

DOHA, Qatar — England scored six goals in their World Cup opener against Iran, but it was the two conceded that worried coach Gareth Southgate and gave hope to the United States.

“We ended up looking sloppy,” said Southgate of Monday’s 6-2 win over Iran. He also warned that the USA would go “full throttle” in Friday’s Group B game.

The tournament has already produced some shocking results, including Saudi Arabia’s win over Argentina and Japan’s excitement over Germany.

A USA win over England wouldn’t be on the same scale as Saudi Arabia – but Gregg Berhalter’s side are undoubtedly the underdog against one of the tournament favourites.

The two goals against Iran gave Southgate something to focus on in an otherwise encouraging performance.

His message to the players was clear: they must do better against the USA team, who drew 1-1 with Wales in the first group game.

“They are a top-flight nation with a lot of top-flight players who have played in the Premier League and who we have played against,” said England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. “But it’s about us being 100 percent there as a team. It’s about taking the result from Iran and going into the US game positively.”

One of those Premier League players is Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic, who is at the heart of England’s defence.

“He’s good with both feet, very clinical,” Pickford said. “We must be careful of him.”

A win for England would see them qualify for the Round of 16 with one game to go – but the fate of Lionel Messi and Argentina is proof that nothing can be taken for granted.

“That’s what World Cup football is about,” Pickford said. “There will be surprises”

US goalkeeper Matt Turner predicts more of them at the World Cup.

“You can see the world of football is leveling off in a lot of ways,” he said. “Teams have game plans. The teams have been investing in their youth academies for a number of years.”

“I think the message is, if you have a team that cares about the same message, you can beat anyone, any day.”

The USA beat England 1-0 at the 1950 World Cup and the teams drew 1-1 in 2010.

If the USA are to produce the latest upset of this year’s tournament, they must stem an England attack that was reckless in the game against Iran with two goals from Bukayo Saka.

Neymar injured, Richarlison scores for Brazil at the World Cup

LUSAIL, Qatar (AP) – While Neymar limped off the field with an ankle injury, Richarlison came through for the “Seleção”.

A spectacular acrobatic kick was followed by a simple close-range shot as Richarlison scored both goals in Brazil’s 2-0 World Cup win over Serbia on Thursday.

After the game, the Tottenham forward found out about the extent of Neymar’s injury.

“The most important thing for us is to have him 100% for the next game,” said Richarlison, whose first goal came after a build-up started by Neymar. “When I get to the hotel I’ll see how he’s doing.”

Brazil team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said Neymar sprained his right ankle. He declined to speculate on whether he would be available for the side’s next game against Switzerland on Monday.

“We put ice on it when he was on the bench and then in physical therapy,” Lasmar said. “There is no test scheduled at the moment but we will schedule it if necessary. He will be under surveillance. We will know more tomorrow.”

Neymar was also injured at the 2014 World Cup.

At his home game in Brazil, his quarter-final tournament against Colombia ended with a back injury when he had to be carried off the field on a stretcher.

Brazil lost 7-1 to Germany in the semifinals.

Neymar was fouled nine times in the game against Serbia, four times more than any other player at this year’s World Cup. But while he was taking care of Neymar, the opposing defense couldn’t stop Richarlison.

He had his back to goal as he sent the ball airborne with a touch near the penalty spot, then turned and bounced off the ground before right-footed the ball into the net in the 73rd minute lap.

“My childhood dream has come true,” said Richarlison, who is playing in his first World Cup.

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