On Tuesday, the United States advanced to the round of 16 after beating Iran 1-0 thanks to a goal from Christian Pulisic in a highly charged grudge match. Chelsea star Pulisic bundled home the do-or-die Group B game’s only goal in 38 minutes to set up a second-round clash with Group A winners the Netherlands on Saturday.
Christian Pulisic sent the U.S. to the World Cup quarterfinals
After the victory, US coach Gregg Berhalter said, “The first half we showed what we can do, soccer-wise, and the second half we showed what we could do determination-wise.”
“The boys grinded, gave every single ounce and we are undefeated moving into the next round.”
Pulisic exited the field at half-time after receiving a hard knock while scoring his match-winning goal. I can’t sing Christian’s praises enough, Berhalter stated.
“With this new injury it’s tough. I believe there is now less hair on my head than there was before. We accept this and will go to fight Holland.”
The victory was hardly less than Berhalter’s inexperienced squad deserved in only the third international football battle between the bitter ideological enemies. Tensions had been building for a while, culminating on Sunday when the Iranian Football Federation demanded that FIFA punish US Soccer for sharing a digitally altered picture of the Iranian flag on social media.
The United States eliminated Iran from the World Cup after avenging a 1998 loss to the Asian qualifiers in front of a raucous crowd at Doha’s Al Thumama Stadium. Iran’s fans shouted their team onto the field at the game’s opening amid a loud cacophony of air horns and cheers from the crowd of 42,127.
American soldiers were more at ease than their British counterparts despite the latter’s threatening welcome. US captain Tyler Adams and Juventus’ Weston McKennie controlled proceedings in midfield to leave Iran trying to gain a foothold.