DOHA, Qatar (AP) — United States midfielder Tyler Adams is more frightened of spiders than he is of England.
Adams, who plays in the Premier League with Leeds, accepts Gregg Berhalter’s team is the underdog, but says the game holds no fear for him.
“England are still a big team at the end of the day, but the intimidation factor? I wouldn’t say there’s many things out there that intimidate me, other than spiders,” he said. “So it’s fine for me, but obviously I’ve got to play against all those big players, so I’ve done it before.
“But we also want to show what we’re capable of and that U.S. soccer is developing and growing in the right way.”
England reached the semifinals of the 2018 World Cup, and made it to the final of last year’s European Championship but lost to Italy in a penalty shootout.
The 1966 World Cup champion is among the teams tipped to challenge for the trophy in Qatar and provided a demonstration of its strength in the rout of Iran.
A win for the U.S. would be seen as a major upset.
“I think that in a lot of games people would probably say we are the underdogs, but we carry that with pride,” said Adams. “It doesn’t mean anything to us to be underdogs, to be favorites.
“It’s obviously a huge opportunity to fast track the impact that we can have. These are the games — high pressure, a privileged moment to step on the field against some of these guys. We respect them and there’s probably mutual respect between both teams and when you get a result in a game like this, people start to respect Americans a little bit more.”