By Simon Peach, PA Chief Football Writer, Al Khor
Boos greeted the final whistle as England blew their chance to qualify for the World Cup knockout phase with a match to spare in a turgid 0-0 draw with the United States.
Monday’s 6-2 thumping of Iran represented their best start to a major tournament, but Friday’s loose and lacklustre performance brought Gareth Southgate’s side back down to earth.
The US maintained their unbeaten record against England on the world stage and went close to winning Friday’s Group B clash in Al Khor, where Christian Pulisic rattled the crossbar in an ultimately scoreless encounter.
Progress to the last 16 remains in England’s hands, but this match is a wake-up call that increases the pressure heading into Tuesday’s eagerly-anticipated clash with neighbours Wales.
Southgate publicly warned his side to up their game in the immediate afterglow of the Iran thrashing but did not get the desired response from his unchanged team.
The US should have punished a passive first-half performance at the imposing Al Bayt Stadium, where Pulisic hit the bar with a wicked strike as Gregg Berhalter’s Americans played at full throttle.
Flat, uninspired England created little across the 90 minutes.
Harry Kane, available after an injury scare, saw an early shot blocked and sent a stoppage-time header wide as Southgate’s men floundered under the Friday night lights.