World Cup host Qatar was eliminated from the tournament Friday after losing to Senegal in its second match, 3-1, while an anticipated match between England and the United States ended in a 0-0 draw.
Both England and the United States had chances to score but failed to convert their shots into goals. U.S. captain Christian Pulisic hit the crossbar during the first half of the match while his teammate Weston McKennie shot over the goal from about 7 meters out.
English captain Harry Kane had a chance to win the match with a header but sent the ball wide.
England, the favorite to win the match, has met the United States three times at the World Cup but has yet to win against the Americans. Apart from Friday, the teams played in 1950, in which the United States won 1-0 and in 2010 when the teams played to a 1-1 draw.
During Qatar’s match, the host team showed flashes of strong attacking play but struggled to keep pace with the Senegalese team. Qatar was unlucky when it was denied a penalty and the chance to take the lead after Senegal’s player Ismaila Sarr ran into Akram Afif.
The referee did not award a penalty even though replays suggested that contact took place between the players.
Senegalese fans rhythmically drummed throughout the match, while Qatar’s fans broke out into the wave around the stadium.
Following the match, Qatar’s fate in the tournament was sealed when the Netherlands and Ecuador drew 1-1 in another Group A game of the day.
Qatar now has no chance to advance to the round of 16 regardless of the outcome of their next match against the Netherlands on Tuesday. Their elimination from the tournament is the quickest for a host country in World Cup history.
South Africa is the only other host team that did not make it past the group stage of the tournament, but it was able to win one of its matches.
In the match between Ecuador and the Netherlands, Ecuadorian captain Enner Valencia scored his third goal in Qatar, making him the current top scorer at the World Cup.
Ecuador played a strong game against the favored Netherlands, impressing for the second time after their win against Qatar 2-0 in the tournament’s opening match.
Ecuador will next play Senegal on Tuesday and will need just a draw to advance to the next round.
In another match that took place Friday, Iran beat Wales 2-0 with both goals taking place in the last minutes of the game.
Roozbeh Cheshmi scored the first goal in the 98th minute, and Ramin Rezaeian scored the second in the 101st.
Iran and Wales are in Group B along with England and the United States.
Iran lost its first match to England 6-2 while the United States and Wales played to a 1-1 draw.
All four countries are still in contention to advance to the round of 16, but England has the easiest path having already earned four points in the group stage. They are followed by Iran with three points, the United States with two and Wales with one.
The United States must win against Iran when they play on Tuesday to advance.
Games on Saturday include a much-anticipated match between Argentina and Mexico, in which Argentina, who entered the tournament as a favorite, could face early elimination if it loses.
Argentina suffered the biggest upset of the tournament when it lost to Saudi Arabia 2-1 in its first match.
Saudi Arabia faces Poland Saturday when it is again the underdog.
Also Saturday, defending World Cup champion France plays Denmark. A win by France would advance them to the round of 16.
Source: Voice of America