Chelsea stars Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount will face each other at this year’s World Cup in Qatar after England and USA were drawn in the same group on Friday evening
Both Chelsea players are expected to play at the tournament in Qatar and it will be the first time they’ve faced each other on the international stage. Pulisic featured the time USA played England in November 2018, but Mount was not involved.
The Three Lions have an awful World Cup record against their American counterparts, losing to an amateur team in 1950 and failing to beat them in South Africa 12 years ago. The latter game, a 1-1 draw, is remembered for Rob Green’s goalkeeping howler.
“Of course, playing against England is exciting,” Pulisic told Sky Sports News shortly after Friday’s draw was conducted in Doha. “It was funny… the first call I got was from Mason – on my team – and we’re already talking, excited, looking forward to the game.
“It’s obviously a big team [England] and I know a lot of these guys. I think it’s going to be a really nice match-up and something that we’re definitely excited about.”
USA will compete in their first World Cup in eight years after failing to qualify for the last tournament in Russia. They’ve never won the competition – finishing third in 1950 – but will be confident of progressing out of their group in Qatar, despite England’s strength.
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The other teams in Group B are Iran and one of Wales, Scotland or Ukraine. The winners of Scotland’s play-off with Ukraine – delayed due to Russia’s invasion of the sovereign European nation – will play Wales in June for a place at the World Cup.
USA boss Gregg Berhalter is relishing the chance to face England after describing Gareth Southgate as a mentor. “We go way back,” said Berhalter. “He’s a guy I look up to. He’s always been there for me, given me advice and I‘ve looked to him as a mentor.
“I have a lot of respect for what he’s doing and looking forward to competing. I reached out to him when I got the job, asked him if he could tell me a bit about international football, since then we’ve stayed in touch.”
Reacting to the draw, England boss Southgate said: “The first two in our group [USA and Iran] are teams we’ve not played for quite a while, the third [Wales, Scotland or Ukraine] is a total unknown, a potential British derby, we’ve had plenty of them.”
Southgate added: “There are some really highly ranked teams in Pot 2, the USA are an interesting one. I’ve got to know Gregg Berhalter quite well, we were smiling at the end. They’ve got some good players and we know what they’re capable of as a nation.”
England are aiming to win their first major trophy since lifting the World Cup in 1996. They reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2018, finished third in the Nations League in 2019 and reached the final of Euro 2020 last summer, losing to Italy on penalties.