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Gareth Southgate has questioned whether England were “booed off” after their uninspiring 0-0 draw with USA at the Qatar World Cup.
England struggled to replicate the fluency of their 6-2 victory over Iran just a few days earlier and were outplayed for large parts of the match at the Al Bayt Stadium.
The point saw Southgate’s side to the verge of the knockout rounds with a final group match against Wales to come on Tuesday and a bumper goal difference to fall back on should things go wrong against their UK neighbours.
And Southgate rejected the notion that fans were booing after the final whistle.
“Were we booed off?” Southgate responded to a question in his post-match press conference. “I’m not sure if that was aimed at us. I don’t know.”
He added: “People are going to react how they’re going to react. I can’t let that affect how I feel. This is the tournament of external noise, and we’ll have another layer of that I’m sure. But we’re still on track.”
Southgate was keen to focus on his side’s “resilience” and retaining control of their World Cup destiny.
“I knew it would be difficult for us after such a high (against Iran) to replicate that type of performance, so I’m really pleased with how the players have applied themselves,” Southgate told ITV.
“Some of our quality in the final third could have been a little bit better, but we’ve shown great resilience to defend against an opponent that kept asking questions and we’ve just not been able to open them up with that really clear-cut chance.
“We didn’t quite have that same zip but this is going to happen with tournament football. We’re not going to roll through a tournament and sweep through everybody without having nights like that where you’ve got to show different qualities to get the result.
“Silver medal today was a point because it puts us in a really strong position in terms of qualification. If we can win our last game (against Wales on Tuesday) we win the group.
“The objective is to get out of the group, you get three games to do it. We’ve done it in two games the last two tournaments, but it’s very unrealistic to expect that every time.”
Additional reporting by PA