Southgate tells England to ignore the boos after limp World Cup draw with USA

England fans at the Al Bayt Stadium made their feelings known as a vociferous blast of jeers echoed around the stands at the final whistle

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Gareth Southgate has told his England players to block out the noise after they were booed off following an underwhelming 0-0 draw against the USA at the World Cup on Friday.

England could have become the first team to punch their ticket to the last 16 with victory over the United States but instead will count themselves lucky after a lethargic display.

It was in stark contrast to their high-tempo, 6-2 win over Iran in their Group B opener, though Southgate's side remain in control of the group on four points with only Wales to play on Tuesday.

England fans at the Al Bayt Stadium made their feelings known as a vociferous blast of jeers echoed around the stands at the final whistle.

But Southgate insisted his players must ignore the criticism because he had no complaints about their performance.

"Were we booed off? I'm not sure if that was aimed at us. Personally, I'm really pleased with the application of the players against a really tough opponent," Southgate said.

"Of course I want our fans to go home happy and I want our fans at home to have a smile on their faces. We haven't managed to achieve that today. But I can't let that affect the team.

"We have to stay calm in these moments. We've been through tournaments before.

He added: "This is the tournament of external noise. There will be another layer of that I'm sure but we are on track. We can still win the group and that has got to be our target."

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England will qualify for the last 16 as long as they avoid defeat by a four-goal margin to Wales on Tuesday.

Southgate admitted England lacked the verve and quality that blew away Iran, blaming their sluggish showing on an emotional comedown and a tenacious effort from the US.

"The players were very down and disappointed after the game but I told them that's not how it's going to be. They showed another side to their game and that will be important going forward," Southgate said.

"We were coming off the emotional high of the first game. To find that same energy was always going to be a challenge. The US front six make it so difficult to get at their defence.

"We lacked a bit of zip. We weren't able to create many chances. I'm sure there will be a lot of noise about the performance but not a lot of teams go through with nine points."

England forward Raheem Sterling shakes hands with head coach Gareth Southgate as he leaves the pitch. AFP

Southgate played down suggestions that Chelsea winger Raheem Sterling had stormed down the tunnel after being substituted following an anonymous performance.

"Raheem started refuelling straight away. He is one of the players on dope testing. I think he went to the bench first and then went in," Southgate said.

Meanwhile, England captain Harry Kane believes his side remain in a "great position" to reach the knockout stages.

"In the game against Iran we took our chances really well. Today we had two or three good opportunities and we didn't quite put it away," Kane told ITV.

"A draw isn't the end of the world for us, it puts us in a great position in the group and we look forward to the next one.

"After our first performance people thought we were just going to landslide every team we play, but it's not the case."

USA coach Gregg Berhalter speaks with Christian Pulisic after the 0-0 draw with England. Getty Images

United States boss Gregg Berhalter was pleased by his side’s display against England, setting up a make-or-break encounter with Iran who beat Wales 2-0 earlier in the day.

“A disciplined performance by the group,” he said. “The final product could still be better.

“Overall, pleased with the performance of the group and most importantly the belief because that never wavered.

“In the end it sets up our first knockout game of the World Cup basically. We win or we’re out of the World Cup.”

Updated: November 26, 2022, 4:44 AM