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England v USA match preview: England to overcome spirited USA

England will be looking to guarantee their place in the last-16 stage of the World Cup when they take on the USA in Group B at the Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor on Friday.

The Three Lions kicked off their quest for a first trophy since 1966 in some style on Monday, as they thrashed Iran 6-2 at the Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan, and a win over the USA would secure their place in the knockout stages of the competition.

What: England v USA, World Cup
Where: Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, Qatar
When: 19:00, Friday 25th November
How to watch: ITV
Odds: England 4/7, USA 9/2, Draw 16/5

Patience the key for England

As comfortable as the scoreline was against Iran, England had to show patience for large parts of the first half and they were made to wait until the 35th minute before opening the scoring through Jude Bellingham.

The floodgates opened after that and two more goals before the break, along with three more strikes in the second period, helped the Three Lions to their first victory since a 3-0 triumph over the Ivory Coast back in March this year.

It is likely to be a much sterner test for Gareth Southgate's side on Friday, as they take on a USA side that performed well in their 1-1 draw with Wales.

The Stars and Stripes were deservedly in front at half-time in that clash thanks to Timothy Weah's neat finish, only for Gareth Bale's penalty in the second half to peg them back.

The American outfit's energy levels dropped in the second 45 minutes, allowing Wales to get back into the match, and it could prove to be a similar story when they take on England, whose strength in depth could prove crucial.

Backing the Draw/England option in the Half-time/Full-time market at 10/3 is worthy of consideration, with the plethora of options from the bench at Southgate's disposal set to make the difference.

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Bellingham is only 19 years of age, but he is already being talked about as being one of England's future greats, due to his rapid rise over the past couple of years.

The former Birmingham City star has gone up a level since joining Borussia Dortmund in 2020 and he has netted three times from 15 Bundesliga appearances this season, already matching his league tally from the 2020/21 campaign.

It all looks so effortless for Bellingham, who is already an integral part for both club and country, and the way he took his goal in the win over Iran showed how clever a player he is.

Still with a bit to do when Luke Shaw's cross came into the box, the BVB maestro looped a header over the keeper and into the far corner.

Priced at 9/2 to score anytime on Friday, Bellingham looks a really good option in this market, especially given the fact he gets into the box so much, while the 12/1 on him to open the scoring again is appealing.

Defensive issues offer USA hope

While England are expected to get the win and continue their charge for a second World Cup, which is priced at 13/2, defence does continue to be an issue for Southgate.

The Three Lions conceded twice against Iran and they have now let in 10 goals over the course of their last four matches, having shipped three in the draw against Germany, one in the defeat to Italy and four in the loss to Hungary.

Although producing a solid enough performance against Iran, there are still question marks over Manchester United defender Harry Maguire's place in the team and he did go off ill in the victory, leaving doubts over his participation.

Defence is certainly the area of the most concern to England and the pace in this youthful USA side could cause some problems, especially if they are allowed to run at the back four.

Along with Weah, the Stars and Stripes have Christian Pulisic to call upon in attack, while Josh Sargent, Jesus Ferreira and Giovanni Reyna also provide options in the final third.

With the Three Lions not looking assured at the back, both teams to score at 19/20 could be worth considering, while the England win and BTTS at 5/2 also appeals.

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