England under fire over 'horrible' scenes in draw with USA at World Cup
England have come under fire over a lifeless performance against USA at the FIFA World Cup after the Poms were held to a 0-0 draw on Friday. England suffered a sobering reality check as they were outplayed for long periods by a youthful United States side.
The Three Lions, famously beaten by America at the World Cup in 1950, could have been the first team through to the last 16 in Qatar with a win on Friday. But instead they will be happy to come away with a draw given the chances that the USA had.
'BROKEN': Fans rocked by awful Neymar scenes at World Cup
'PURE CLASS': Staggering image leaves World Cup fans awestruck
England were unchanged from their 6-2 thrashing of Iran in their opening game, with Harry Kane fit after a foot problem. However they were strangely ponderous from the start against the Americans.
The US were bolder than in the 1-1 draw with Wales and had much the better chances in the first half. Haji Wright, the only new name in the starting line-up, headed wide before Weston McKennie fired over and Christian Pulisic struck the bar.
Kane had an early effort blocked and Mason Mount had England's best first-half chance saved. The Three Lions had more possession after the break but created very little as Qatar saw its fifth 0-0 draw already, with the entire tournament record not far away at seven.
Iran had earlier revived their last 16 hopes with a late 2-0 win over a weary Wales. Qualification from the group now goes to the last round of matches on Tuesday when England meet Wales in a battle of Britain and the US face Iran in a game with political implications.
Kane admitted England were far from their best on Friday, saying: "We had some good spells with the ball, created some good positions, just didn't quite have the final product today, but a clean sheet puts us in a great position in the group.
"(It was) the complete contrast to the game against Iran when we took our chances really well. Today we had two or three opportunities and didn't quite put it away. We played a tough team and we move on.
"We know we can play better than that for sure. No game is easy in a World Cup. After our first performance people thought we were going to landslide every team we play but it's not the case."
Fans and commentators took to social media to slam England's performance in a game many thought they would win easily.
This is crap. Do something, Southgate - fast.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 25, 2022
Poor performance from @England, but that happens at a World Cup at some stage. The big question, even with such a talented bunch, is whether the manager can change things positively with his tactics and substitutions when it’s not working.
— Gary Lineker 💙💛 (@GaryLineker) November 25, 2022
Static, spineless, embarrassing performance. Too afraid to make a mistake, too afraid to concede the first goal, too afraid to lose. Horrible horrible horrible, all I can say is horrible. Figure it out @England. #FIFAWorldCup
— Tyler (@tylermarsh4) November 25, 2022
This performance has been utter garbage. 1st 45mins England were horrible. 2nd half with the subs way better. He left it far too long to make the changes. Not good enough. Too players on the pitch who shouldn't be. #ENGUSA #FIFAWorldCup
— Lee (@SupaSaiyajinLee) November 25, 2022
What a load of shite. @England should be embarrassed by that performance no urgency. So boring. Pathetic. 💩 #FIFAWorldCup
— 🇫🇷 (@frenchbenson21) November 25, 2022
Qatar make unwanted history at World Cup
Earlier on Friday, Qatar broke the record for the fastest a host nation has ever been knocked out of a World Cup. Qatar's campaign is over after just five days, with Ecuador's 1-1 draw with Netherlands sealing their fate.
It marks the shortest amount of time that a host nation has lasted at a World Cup in the event's 92-year history. Qatar can’t qualify for the last 16 no matter what happens in its last game against Netherlands.
South Africa had been the only other home team to fail to make it out of the group stage when it hosted the tournament back in 2010. But on that occasion they at least managed a win and a draw and only missed out on goal difference.
Qatar's flop will leave FIFA facing more scrutiny after their controversial $220 billion decision to stage the World Cup in the Middle East for the first time. Qatar had never qualified for the World Cup before FIFA's highly-contentious decision - giving the team automatic entry. Although the oil-and gas-rich nation spent around $220 billion of its vast riches on building stadiums, roads and even a new city for the World Cup, it couldn't put together a solid defence for the team.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.