Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams believe the United States have every chance of beating England, with their confidence having not taken a hit in Monday’s draw with Wales.
Pulisic supplied the assist for Timothy Weah’s deserved opener at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium but the USA were unable to hold on in their opening World Cup game.
Walker Zimmerman’s clumsy tackle on Gareth Bale handed Wales’ talisman a chance he duly took, lashing home from 12 yards to send the large Welsh contingent behind the goal into raptures.
While Wales were able to celebrate snatching a point from what was their first World Cup game since 1958, the USA were left to lament not making the most of a bright first half.
The USA’s expected goals (xG) of 0.66 far exceeded Wales’ 0.17 in the first half, albeit they only had three attempts, despite having 66.7 per cent possession.
Pulisic, however, is confident that the USA can match England, who beat Iran 6-2 earlier on Monday, in their next Group B game on Friday.
“Absolutely. I think we have a good enough team to make it out of this group,” he told reporters.
“England is our next test, we’ve got to be aggressive and go to win the game.”
We earn a point to open the World Cup.x
— U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team (@USMNT)
It was a sentiment echoed by captain Adams, who said: “Yeah, I think we match up well against them.
“football is a game of inches, it comes down to mistakes or minimal details. We’re obviously going to try and execute our game plan.
“We trust in the coach’s ability to set us up well, but they’re very flexible as well. At the end of the day it comes down to certain moments.”
Head coach Gregg Berhalter fielded the USA’s youngest team in a World Cup match since 1990, and Pulisic acknowledged there were nerves among the squad, with the nation having failed to qualify for the 2018 tournament in Russia.
“The nerves were there, we were all excited, but now we have to take this experience into the next one,” Pulisic said.
“There’s a lot of positives from the game in general. The team looks good. Now we have to figure out how to put that together for 90 minutes.
“A point in the first game is better than none. We have to move on, learn from this, it’s a lot from our first game.
“I want to win. I’m very competitive. I love this team so much, I’m honoured to play in a World Cup for my country so the least I can do is give it all that I have.”