Gareth Southgate urged England to exorcise the ghosts of their World Cup embarrassments against the United States when they clash in Doha on Friday.
The US handed England two of the more chastening results in their World Cup history and their Group B showdown at the Al Bayt Stadium offers an opportunity to finally get revenge.
In 1950, the US, then comprised largely of amateur players, won 1-0 against an England side, featuring the great Tom Finney and Billy Wright in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
The result was so stunning that a film titled ‘The Game of their Lives’ was made about it.
Sixty years later, a horrendous mistake by England goalkeeper Rob Green allowed Clint Dempsey’s shot to squirm into the net for the equaliser in a 1-1 draw in South Africa in 2010.
Those painful memories have clearly made a dent in English football’s usually cast-iron psyche.
Southgate, speaking to reporters on the eve of the match, made it clear England had no right to feel superior to the US even though they go into the game as heavy favourites.
“Have we ever beaten the US at a World Cup? No. Tomorrow we have to try and make history,” Southgate said on Thursday.
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