Harry Kane may be England’s leading striker, the threat that he might miss their second World Cup match against the United States may not have been as concerning as it once had been.
Three Lions captain Kane stumbled out of a dominant 6-2 victory over Iran in the team’s Group B opener.
Kane had provided two assists in that win, but he was off the scoresheet and England were not short of options for goal.
Five different players found the net; only in 2018, when Kane won the Golden Boot and was one of England’s six goalscorers, did they have more in an entire World Cup.
Nine players have been involved in goals, the most for any team in a finals match since Yugoslavia against Zaire in 1974.
Kane is expected to be fit to play against the US, but Callum Wilson made an impact from the bench in the match against Iran, scoring his only international goal to date against England’s next opponents in November 2018.
Jordan Pickford certainly wasn’t worried as he cited Wilson as an example when he supported his teammates to leave.
“I think everyone will take their chance,” he said. “When Harry came out after about 70 minutes, Callum came in and played really well.
“[Wilson] got the assist for Jack [Grealish]was very selfless and gave Jack his goal.
“I think everyone trains very hard, everyone is here for a reason: to play football.”
The United States were not so ruthless, however, as they drew 1-1 against Wales.
Pickford’s opponent Matt Turner said: “I think one of the most important things for us is that we missed some chances in the transition against Wales in the second half.
“We had opportunities where we just weren’t particularly clean in the last third. Maybe a pass was a little wrong or the timing was wrong and it took away the little windows you have in the World Cup where the margins are so thin to score goals.
“So I think we know we’re going to have to be better in the transition against England if we want to score goals.”
England have won eight of their 11 games against the United States, but none of those wins have come in their two World Cup meetings. The United States won 1-0 in 1950 and drew 1-1 in 2010.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
England – Bukayo Saka
Saka was brilliant, scoring twice against Iran, contributing to Jude Bellingham’s opener, making this the first example of two players aged 21 or under scoring in the same World Cup match for England.
Should Saka or Bellingham score again, they would become England’s youngest player to score in consecutive games in the final. Saka certainly seemed able to add to his tally.
United States – Timothy Weah
George Weah never played in a World Cup, but his son Timothy has now and he scored against Wales. That was his second goal in four internationals, as many as in his first 22 appearances in the United States.
Weah Jr is bidding to become only the third American player to score in the first two games of a World Cup campaign – also Bert Patenaude in 1930 and Clint Dempsey in 2014.
With or without Kane, the Stats Perform supercomputer expects England to do just fine. They get a 60.1 percent chance of winning two of two in Group B.
However, the United States has a history of upsetting the Three Lions, even though the model rates them as an 18.8 percent outside shot. A repeat of the 2010 draw is estimated at 21.1 percent.