Yunus Musah has World Cup moment, outduels England star Jude Bellingham

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AL KHOR, Qatar – England midfielder Jude Bellingham is expected to be the target of a transfer bid in excess of $100 million from Real Madrid, according to reports from multiple countries.

Before the 19-year-old phenom moves to La Liga from Germany’s Borussia Dortmund, he might want to think twice.

Because Yunus Musah plays it.

Well, that’s a bit cheeky, and there’s little realistic chance that Bellingham will give up the chance to play for one of the best clubs in the world after a bad night.

But a bad night, a really bad night, that was it for him on Friday against the United States, no doubt. And Musah was the main reason.

England vs. United States

England vs. United States

A tight match ended in a 0-0 draw at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Social media is never the best barometer of these things, but the airspace was abuzz with Musah’s personal triumph in the head-to-head with Bellingham in the hours following the 0-0 Group B draw of the United States with England, meaning the Americans must beat Iran on Tuesday to advance (2 p.m. ET on the FOX App and FOX Sports).

Slowly, or maybe not so slowly, the American football public is starting to realize that they have a special player on their hands. Musah, born in New York, raised in England and now, at 19, playing for Valencia in La Liga, was not worried about the biggest game of his career, but was spurred on to produce an outstanding and inspired performance .

“(Musah) is a very talented player,” England midfielder Jordan Henderson said. “Of course I’ve seen him play. All over the pitch the USA has good players, there are good young players in the front three and in midfield.”

On paper, the USA seemed to match up quite well with England, despite the latter’s obvious pedigree and status as one of the tournament favorites. One area that looked like a potential mismatch was how the Americans might deal with Bellingham, with all that height and size and skill and drive.

Musah not only survived. He prospered.

Bellingham made only one real contribution of genuine threat, finding space to send Bukayo Saka free early in the first half. After that, it was controlled and contained by Musah, with captain Tyler Adams sometimes crossing but mostly doing a job of simulcasting Declan Rice, also expert.

On the half hour, Musah realized he could get deep into the offense and still guard Bellingham. He had a fierce shot saved by Jordan Pickford, then just after that he won the ball back with excellent timing.

Linking up with Christian Pulisic and Haji Wright and running non-stop to cover when needed, Musah had a frantic evening. Pulisic won the Man of the Match award, but Musah can’t have been far behind.

Christian Pulisic shows appreciation for American support after the England game and confidence for the upcoming match

Christian Pulisic shows appreciation for American support after the England game and confidence for the upcoming match

Christian Pulisic shares a post-match reflection with Jenny Taft, acknowledging the chances his team created against England and how grateful he is for the fans who drive the USMNT on.

It came as a shock to anyone who had seen Bellingham operate at an extraordinarily high level against Iran in England’s 6-2 win on Monday. Here, Bellingham were rated 4.70 out of 10 by BBC viewers, the seventh best of the England team.

“We played really well and showed how good we are,” Musah said. “Most of the England players play in big teams at a high level. I need to reflect on the game and look at it. We had chances but they had chances and the result was fair.”

The result must have been deeply satisfying for Musah, who represented England at Under-15 to Under-18 level before making the switch last year. England manager Gareth Southgate did not speak to Musah before his decision, while Berhalter established a positive relationship and touted the positives of being able to get good game time and extensive international experience in a young age

“He’s just another piece of that puzzle and another really good, quality talent that you can add to the mix,” Alexi Lalas of FOX Sports said when Musah first opted for the USA last year.

Well, now it’s in the mix. Collaborate with Adams with aplomb and confidence. Settling into the American team and becoming indispensable.

And on Friday, face one of the best, and be the one who stood the highest.

Read more from the World Cup:

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX i subscribe to the daily newsletter.

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