USA Defeats Iran, Advances Into World Cup Knockout Rounds
SALT LAKE CITY – The USA has defeated Iran 1-0 in the final Group B fixture of the World Cup and advances into the Round of 16.
The USA will now prepare to play the Netherlands on Saturday, December 3, with kickoff scheduled for 8 a.m.
Christian Pulisic Delivers, Finally
It was the United States main man, Christian Pulisic, who proved to be the difference as his 38th-minute goal was good enough to secure all three points for the Red, White, and Blue. Pulisic ran onto a headered cross from Dutch-born USMNT star Sergiño Dest. But the goal came at a cost as Pulisic clattered into Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand immediately after putting the ball into the back of the net.
Pulisic puts it away! 😤
— U.S. Men's National Soccer Team (@USMNT) November 29, 2022
Pulisic did not celebrate, instead, he remained with his face in the grass wincing in pain. He did not move for multiple minutes as the US training staff attended to its star forward.
When Pulisic eventually returned to his feet, he was required to rely on the athletic trainers to help support his weight. He was visibly in a lot of pain.
While Pulisic was being tended to on the sideline, the USA was forced to play with 10 men, but that didn’t stop the avalanche of attacks from the USA. Tim Weah came within inches of scoring the game’s second goal just minutes after Pulisic’s opener but the run Weah made in and behind the Iranian backline was deemed offside.
Pulisic failed to return for the second half and was replaced by Leeds United striker Brenden Aaronson. Fox Soccer sideline analysts Jenny Taft confirmed that Pulisic had suffered an abdominal injury. The extent of the injury is currently unknown.
Tense Second Half
Iran, as expected, pushed the tempo in the second half and began taking added risks. Iran needed only a draw to advance in the tournament.
However, USA manager Gregg Berhalter adjusted impressively to the strategic changes from Iran and the United States saw out the remainder of the game. It was tense and tight. The USA shifted to play five players across the backline, and Iran dominated the possession the longer the game went on. The USA slowly dropped deeper and deeper into its own half. But with how many United States players were behind the ball, the Iranian attempts to build any attacking opportunity were denied.
The closest Iran came was in the 93rd minute when a headered attempt from a wide free-kick flew past the near post of Turner. With one minute remaining Iran pleaded for a penalty after center-back Cameron Carter-Vickers looked to have dragged down Iranian striker Mehdi Taremi but it was not awarded.
The United States survived.
Group B concluded with England winning the group and the United States two points behind in second place.
After missing out on qualifying for the 2018 Russia World Cup, the USA has once again prevailed out of the group stage and into the knockout rounds.