World Cup: Gareth Southgate leaves himself exposed as England’s dire display reopens old wounds | World News
When the final whistle blew, boos boomed among the England fans at Al-Bayt Stadium.
They had enough.
A 0-0 draw against the Americans so turgid that the referee only added on four minutes – the lowest so far at this World Cup of 100-minute matches.
It seemed the 6-2 rout of Iran was just an anomaly on Monday.
This was the type of dire display England supporters have had to get used to in this year of six winless matches going into the World Cup and relegation in the Nations League.
Once again, Gareth Southgate is feeling the heat – despite leading England to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, and Euro 2020 final. The frustrated fans made that clear with the jeering.
The Three Lions manager said: “People are going to react how they react, and I can’t let that affect how I feel about the team or how the team feels.”
‘We had to show another side’
Too defensive and too boring was the snap reaction of fans filtering out of the stadium.
Southgate accepted some concerns: “We lacked a little bit of zip and quality in the final third, and we weren’t able to open up, to create really good chances.
“But we had to show another side of ourselves.”
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‘There’ll be a lot of noise’
A dismal display he hopes, though, won’t be repeated against Wales on Tuesday in the Group B finale.
Wales have to win to reach the last 16. England can lose 4-0 and still go through.
Not that the fans will accept that after the turgid display against the USA.
Southgate said: “I’m sure there’ll be a lot of noise about the performance.
“But not many teams go through World Cups and get nine points in the group.”
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And still no England team can beat the Americans at a World Cup after failing at the third attempt.
The venue furthest north in Qatar is still only 45 minutes set from Doha.
England looked far more lethargic than their journey time suggested.