Gareth Southgate had seen it coming.

"I know there will be a lot of background noise," said England's team manager after the dull zero number against the USA - and was right.

The World Cup euphoria of the rousing goal gala at the start against Iran (6: 2) was followed by a little atmosphere killer.

In any case, no one spoke of the title on the island at the weekend.

"The performance was more like cooling off on the beach than the second game of a World Cup," wrote the Daily Telegraph on Saturday, calling the Three Lions' uninspired performance "a ghastly return to the old lamentations of the English group stage".

The Daily Mail commented: "The Round of 16 was supposed to be a done deal but that was a hugely disappointing performance." And the Guardian saw "an England side bravely challenging the very idea of ​​this World Cup as an entertainment product".

However, Southgate and his team remained fairly relaxed - and had every reason to be.

England lead Group B by four points, with Gracenote's stats gurus putting their chances of progressing at 99.6 per cent.

In the "Battle of Britain" against Wales, the eleven around captain Harry Kane can even afford a defeat with three goals and would be in the round of 16.

Wales are currently on one point, while the USA (two points) take on Iran (three) on Tuesday.

"We're still in a good situation and have the chance to win the group," said Southgate with a view to the group final on Tuesday (8 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the World Cup, on ARD and MagentaTV) and calmed the mood .

After all, this World Cup is “the tournament of external background noise”.

But we have to stay calm.

We're on track."

Kane also stressed that a draw against the USA was "not bad": "We're looking forward to the next game."

Chief critic Gary Lineker called England's appearance against the US boys a "poor performance" and focused fully on Southgate.

"The big question will be, especially with such a talented side, whether the manager can turn things around with his tactics and substitutions when things aren't going well," Lineker wrote on Twitter.

"We know we can play better," said Kane.

After the first game, people would have thought "we're going to beat every team by a thrashing, but that's not the case."

Sometimes you have to be “satisfied with a draw”.