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England: 'Three Lions still on track at World Cup despite turning clock back to dismal summer'

By Amanda Caroline  •  November 26, 2022  •  54

England turned the clock back to the dismal days of summer as their laboured style returned, along with the jeers from supporters, following the undistinguished draw with USA at Al Bayt Stadium.

The attacking verve, creation and goals that illuminated the 6-2 triumph against Iran in their opening World Cup game were replaced by an England side lacking ambition and drive in a performance so devoid tempo and urgency that at times it almost ground to a halt.

And as the final whistle sounded, fans who revelled in the free-flowing style that demolished Iran made their feelings clear by delivering a loud and resounding raspberry in the direction of Gareth Southgate's players.

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Perspective is needed within the context of group games at the World Cup, indeed any major tournament, and England remain in a strong position to go through to last 16 before their final game against Wales.

But this was a chance to secure qualification after two games missed and an element of jeopardy remains.

A quick jog of the memory reminds us that England suffered a similar fate of a goalless draw in their second group game of Euro 2020 against Scotland at Wembley and still went deep into that tournament. Here they at least avoided a defeat they could not have complained about given that USA were the better team.

England are still in a good place within Group B but no-one can seriously kid themselves that this was anything other than a very poor performance that is hardly likely to have the bigger names out here in Qatar having sleepless nights.

This was a grim echo of the England that ended their Uefa Nations League campaign with relegation after a summer when they lost 1-0 away then 4-0 at home to Hungary in June before following it up with defeat in Italy and a draw at home to Germany in September.

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