It was undeniably timid and, unfortunately for El Tri, this wasn’t just a one-off. In their previous qualifier against the United States, Mexico struggled to a 0-0 draw at home. Against Panama last month, a lone goal from a penalty in the 80th minute pushed them to a narrow 1-0 win. Prior to that, Mexico only had one shot on target in a 0-0 draw with Costa Rica.
The only other defeat in the last 20 years was to Northern Ireland at Windsor Park in September 2005. It means England’s record in qualifiers reads: played 47, won 35, drawn eight, lost two. With Hungary, Albania and San Marino to come this autumn, it will be a huge shock if an addition is made to the final column.
His performance, though, was not just about saves, with the 29-year-old also proving a commanding presence when dealing with crosses while showing great awareness and positioning to cut off through-balls into the path of the onrushing Ivan Toney.
There will be staunch opposition to the take that James is the best right-back in the world on current form from Liverpool supporters who back Trent Alexander-Arnold, and there are certainly arguments that can be made for both players.
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