In this analysis piece by Rob Styles we analyse how the USA took on England to stop them progressing the ball through the pitch so easily and were unfortunate not to pick up the 3 points. Heading into the final group games, all four teams can still qualify for the last 16 knockout stages.

USA Defensive Shape 

The US played with an impressive level of compactness, making it difficult to break the team down. The US were comfortable with a narrow front three on the line of Trippier, Rice and Shaw. Wright, as the central attacker, did well to keep Rice from gaining comfortable possession. With Weah and Pulisic pressing the central defenders, England struggled to get out. The US midfield managed the distance between the lines well, giving Bellingham and Mount very little space to work in. England looked at their best with quick, sharp passes and combinations on the outside, but this was only evident in rare occurrences.

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USA Shape and Movements 

USA relied heavily on Christian Pulisic once again, and he didn’t disappoint. Both he and Robinson were a thorn in England’s side throughout the game, with Saka and Trippier failing the find the balance between protecting the flank and preparing for the counter, with Saka arguably too high and lacking connection with his fullback. The combinations from the USA caused issues for England’s central defenders, who looked immobile at times. Another excellent aspect to the US attack was their rest defence, positioning themselves to prepare for the transition, ensuring they dominated the turnover and could restart the attack.

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England Tempo

England struggled to raise the tempo of the game despite showing moments of incisive passing. One of the key points from the game against Iran was the line breaking passing, particularly from central defence into midfield, creating forward momentum and speeding the game up at will. The USA did well to prevent this in midfield, and England couldn’t gain that momentum elsewhere on the pitch. At time, the short, sharp combinations in wide areas looked to add pace to the game, but often it. The ball was stuck between the 2 central defenders and struggling to pick out their more attacking players.

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England Substitutions

One of the reasons England were one of the pre-tournament favourites is the strength in depth of the squad. It is littered with Premier League and Champions League winners and is doubtless the envy of many other nations. While it is certainly not an easy job to fit these players into a starting 11, the substitutions and squad management will likely be questioned. A team struggling to break down a compact defence seemed to be crying out for Phil Foden and Trent Alexander-Arnold, 2 of the best in the business at creating chances out of nothing. Grealish and Henderson added some experience and forward momentum, but neither added the spark England needed. Not winning this game could cause issues as the tournament goes on, robbing England of the chance to rest players in what could have been a pointless game against Wales.

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Tyler Adams

The US captain personified what his team were looking to do. Out of possession, he managed the distances between the lines well, although was caught once by jumping too quickly to press Rice, leaving a space which Ream needed to step into. On transition, he showed his athleticism, covering ground and winning his challenges. Neat and tidy in possession, he looks to be growing into his role more and more.

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