of US Men’s National Team (USMNT) worked hard to earn a place in the World Cup Knockout Stage, coming out with a tough 1-0 win. Iran In group B determinants nerve-wracking Qatar 2022.
A first-half goal from Christian Pulisic was all that separated the two teams as USMNT reached the round of 16 for the first time since 2014.
The pressure was certainly on Greg Verhalter’s Qatari side as the national team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, but the USA got the job done with three tough group performances.
There were certainly some downsides, especially in the final game against Iran, but for this exciting young team, making it through the group stage was the least we could hope for.
However, Pulisic has some concerns going into the knockout stage after suffering an abdominal injury while scoring a winner.
The USMNT hopes its star, dubbed ‘Captain America’, is eligible for Saturday’s Round of 16 match against the Netherlands following news that Pulisic was taken to hospital for a scan. .
It was their second World Cup meeting since France in 1998, and it was a politically tense match in which Iran won a shock 2-1 victory.
It was the first time that Iran and the United States (sometimes officially called “The Great Devil” in Iran) met on a football pitch, making it the biggest sporting occasion between the two countries since the 1979 revolution.
Preparations for this match in Qatar have been equally tense, with Iran even calling for the USMNT to be expelled from the World Cup after the United States Soccer Federation posted an Iranian flag without the Islamic Republic crest on social media platforms. did. Show your support for the Iranian protesters.
USMNT Manager Berhalter and Captain Tyler Adams He also faced some tough questions from Iranian journalists at a heated press conference and dodged accusations of hypocrisy and disrespect.
The commotion surrounding this match only added to the drama of a matchup that was guaranteed to be tense, even in a vacuum away from off-field affairs.
Both teams knew a win would secure their place in the Round of 16, but a draw wasn’t enough for USMNT to secure their place out of their group.
USMNT’s early signs of nervousness weren’t too many. Berhalter’s team decided the early play and enjoyed 65% possession, but it took him 28 minutes to call up the first chance.
Josh Sargent’s long shot deflected the Iranian defender’s trajectory and landed perfectly in the path of Timothy Weah. Perhaps he didn’t realize he was all alone in front of goal and Alireza rushed for a header that his Beiranvand caught in Iran’s goal. simply.
In the 30th minute, Ware again took a great position in the box, but skied well over the crossbar after being set up by Sargent.
USMNT’s pressure was finally delivered seven minutes before half-time to take the lead following a sharp team move.
Weston McKennie’s accurate cross-field ball was headed back over goal by a looting Serginho Dest and bravely homered by Pulisic.
USMNT’s joy quickly turned to worry. It was clear that Pulisic was in severe pain after the crash.
Pulisic was quickly back on the pitch, but the Chelsea player was clearly struggling with the knock.
As USMNT gained confidence, space began to open up in the Iranian defense and Weah thought he had doubled his team’s lead just before the interval. Offside decision.
Iran weathered the storm in the first half happily, but the side’s performance, which caused defensive problems for both England and Wales in the first two games, was surprisingly subdued, especially after Pulisic’s goal. .
Iran started the second half strong, creating two great chances for Saman Godos, but the Brentford forwards were unable to trouble USMNT goalkeeper Matt Turner.
With the clock ticking, Iran had a glorious chance to level the score, but Morteza Poulaliganj’s slouch header just wide of the far post put the American fans in the stands in relief, holding their heads. .
In the second half of the ninth minute of stoppage time, calls for a penalty grew louder from Iranian players, with Mehdi Taremi claiming that Cameron Carter Vickers had pushed Porto forward when he tried to ride on the edge of a cross.
After a short tense check, the VAR ruled it was not a penalty and referee Mateulajos blew the whistle to end the match.
Both teams have been floored for very different reasons, but the USMNT understands that they need to improve their performances if they want any further chances in Qatar.
After the loss, an emotional Saeed Ezatrahi asked the Iranian fans for forgiveness.
Iran were well positioned heading into the final game with a 2-0 victory over Wales, but were able to advance to a draw.
“On behalf of the players, the group, I am truly sorry that we did not get the chance to play in the next round,” said the midfielder.
“Life and football go on and it can be a good lesson for us, at least for young players like me in the future. I hope you will.
Iranian director Carlos Kierros says the dream is over, but he’s already looking to the future.
“The first half was the United States and the second half was Iran,” said Kieros, who led the team from 2011 to 2019, returning for a second time in September after being Iran’s longest-serving coach. rice field.
“difference [was] In the second half, we were unable to score as we had hoped. But the dream is over. Now I’m thinking about Iran’s next steps,” added Quieroz, the only coach to have led the team to back-to-back World Cups.