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Tradition weighs against England in grudge match with US



Doha, State of Qatar

The English society is generally viewed as being conservative. But if existing traditions are upheld, England may find a hard nut to crack in today’s World Cup Group B encounter with US at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar.

Though England made a strong start by overcoming the Islamic Republic of Iran 6-2 and will guarantee qualification from Group B with another win against the USA, who kicked off their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Wales, England have yet to beat the USA at the World Cup after losing 1-0 to them in 1950 and drawing 1-1 in 2010.

TheThree Lions have won their opening two FIFA World Cup matches three times previously, in 1982, 2006 and 2018.

None of the five England players who found the net against IR Iran had ever previously scored at the FIFA World Cup, Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka and Jack Grealish doing so on their finals debut.

One fact that is established is that both teams rely heavily on the firepower of players of African descent.

Timothy Weah is the son of Liberian president and legend of Agrican football, George Weah.


Bukayo Ayoyinka Saka is of Nigerian descent. He scored a brace for England in their opening match.

Tim Weah put the USA ahead against Wales and thus scored on his FIFA World Cup debut. The eventual 1-1 draw  means they have now drawn five of their last six World Cup group-stage matches against European opposition. 

Is another draw in the offing?

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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