Gareth Southgate urges England to think big ahead of USA game

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Gareth Southgate has challenged England to keep dreaming big as they seek to secure a place in the last 16 of the World Cup with a victory over the United States.

England captain Harry Kane shrugged off an ankle problem to be fit for Friday’s clash at Al Bayt Stadium.

Victory would secure qualification for the knockout stage and seal progression as Group B winners should Iran and Wales draw earlier on Friday.

Southgate are looking to do better than at the Euros last summer, where England lost the final on penalties to Italy, three years after reaching the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia .

The England manager believes such progress shows his players are firmly putting the nation back on the footballing map.

“We believe we can be competitive for years to come and that really has to be the goal, to have a sustained challenge in the later stages of major competitions, we haven’t done that for years and years,” he said. said Southgate.

“These players really put our country on the map. They are regaining our respectability on the world stage and we have to keep doing that.

Having Kane available could be crucial for England, who cruised to a 6-2 win over Iran to start their tournament in impressive style.

Tottenham striker Kane suffered a foot scan after a heavy challenge in England’s first World Cup win against Iran on Monday.

Kane played for 25 minutes before being replaced by Callum Wilson, but then underwent precautionary scans after leaving the stadium with a light foot bandage.

The Tottenham striker trained at England’s Al Wakrah training base on Wednesday and Thursday and Southgate has revealed he is fit to start against the Americans.

When asked if Kane would be in the team, Southgate replied: “Harry is good.

“He’s been training without a problem, so yes, it would be a brave decision to leave him out of the starting squad.”

Despite the positive mood after overtaking Iran, England will be all too aware that they have faced the United States twice in previous tournaments and still haven’t won.

The defeat in 1950 remains arguably the biggest World Cup upset of all time and the two countries also played out a 1-1 draw in their 2010 opener in Rustenburg.

Southgate wants its players to make history by changing that record and claimed England often talk about their achievements without any real results to prove it.

“Have we ever beaten the United States in a major tournament? No, I didn’t think so,” he said.

“We have to try to make history, number one. We’re good at that, we’re good at speaking highly of ourselves as a nation based on very little evidence.

“So what we have to do is perform well on the pitch and we know we’ll be up against a very motivated team, but we have huge respect for our opponent.”

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By Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at