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USA in focus: What awaits England in the World Cup duel on Friday?

England will qualify for the World Cup knockout stages if they defeat the USA on Friday.

Here’s a closer look at the side that stands in the way of Gareth Southgate’s men.

The USA claimed the last automatic spot offered to CONCACAF teams – just barely.

Losses to Canada, Costa Rica and Panama put them in jeopardy of a place in an interconfederation playoff.

However, on goal difference they finished ahead of Costa Rica and joined Canada and Mexico as automatic qualifiers.

Third place in the inaugural tournament in 1930 remains America’s best World Cup achievement.

After a 40-year absence from 1950 to 1990, USA competed in seven consecutive World Cups, reaching the last eight in 2002.

USA also reached the knockout stages in 2010 and 2014 but failed to qualify for Russia four years ago.

Gregg Berhalter has been in charge since December 2018 and led them to CONCACAF Gold Cup success in November 2021, beating Mexico 1-0 in the final.

The 49-year-old from New Jersey played briefly for Crystal Palace during his nomad career across Europe and managed Swedish club Hammarby and MLS club Columbus Crew before taking the job in the United States.

They have many talented young players at some of the biggest clubs across Europe but with that age profile comes an inconsistency that is reflected in their results.

Berhalter prefers a 4-3-3 formation with high threats and a desire to capitalize on switching and launch quick counterattacks.

The USA won seven, drew four and lost three of their 14 games in World Cup qualifiers.

Their form has been patchy since qualifying for Qatar in March. Morocco (3-0) and Grenada (5-0) were blown away, but the latter was their only win in the last five.

The Berhalter team started the World Cup with a 1-1 draw against Wales. Timothy Weah – son of AC Milan star George – opened the scoring, only Gareth Bale, who plays for Los Angeles FC in Major League Soccer, equalized from the penalty spot.

Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic often looks far happier on the international stage than the player who seems strained at club level.

Hampered by injuries and changes in leadership in west London, Pulisic may never reach his potential there.

But the 24-year-old is the leader of a young US side and his 21 goals in 52 caps underline his prowess.

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