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Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham out to make England history in USA clash

Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham out to make England history in USA clash

Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka will both be out to make history for England when they continue their World Cup 2022 Group B campaign against the USA on Friday.

The two youngsters were the stars of the show in Monday’s 6-2 victory over Iran, with Borussia Dortmund teenager Bellingham opening the scoring with a looping header into the back of the net.

Bellingham also caught the eye with a domineering performance in the middle of the park, while Saka marked his World Cup debut with a memorable brace against Team Melli.

The Arsenal man doubled England’s lead on the day with a well-taken half-volley before the break, and he made it four for England with a deflected effort early in the second half.

Nineteen-year-old Bellingham and 21-year-old Saka could now write their names into the record books on Friday, as England aim to make it two for two against the USA.

England's Bukayo Saka celebrates scoring their fourth goal on November 21, 2022© Reuters

Should either player score at the Al Bayt Stadium, they will become the first-ever England man aged 21 or under to score in successive World Cup matches.

Former Liverpool striker and 2001 Ballon d’Or winner Michael Owen did so at the age of 22 at the 2002 tournament, scoring in back-to-back games against Denmark and Brazil in the knockout rounds.

However, no men as young as Bellingham and Saka have achieved the feat at the World Cup, and the duo will be expected to keep their places in the starting lineup versus Gregg Berhalter‘s side as they aim to make history.

England prepare for Friday’s clash knowing that victory would secure their spot in the last 16 with a game to spare, and they could even seal top spot should they win and Wales’ clash with Iran ends level.

Gareth Southgate led England to two wins from their two opening games of the 2018 tournament, which marked only the third time that the Three Lions had begun the World Cup with back-to-back wins.

Harry Kane goes down injured for England on November 21, 2022© Reuters

England also took six points from the first six on offer at the 1982 and 2006 tournaments, and their most recent clash with the USA in 2018 ended in a 3-0 friendly victory.

However, the Three Lions are winless in their previous two meetings with the USA at the World Cup, losing 1-0 in 1950 before playing out a 1-1 stalemate in 2010 following the infamous Robert Green error.

Southgate has been handed numerous fitness boosts ahead of Friday’s contest, with Harry Kane and Harry Maguire set to be available following an ankle scare and illness respectively.

Manchester City right-back Kyle Walker has also declared himself ready for the game, having overcome a groin injury to make the bench for Monday’s win over Iran.

As a result, Leicester City playmaker James Maddison could be England’s only absentee for matchday two, with the 25-year-old yet to fully recover from a knee problem.

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