Pulisic sends fiery USA to last 16 of simmering contest with Iran


Christian Pulisic brought the ball home in a cacophonous Al Thumama stadium as the United States broke into the last 16 of the World Cup on Tuesday by beating Iran 1-0 in a Group B game surrounded by decades of enmity between the two nations.

Pulisic’s 38th-minute goal proved enough to send the Americans ahead at the expense of their geopolitical rivals.

Sergino Dest headed the ball past sprinter Pulisic, who swept it into the net to momentarily silence the raucous Iran fans in front of him, but it crashed into a strained Alireza Beiranvand in the process.

Pulisic was back on his feet after being treated for a few minutes but didn’t look comfortable and he was substituted for Brenden Aaronson at the break after sustaining an abdominal injury in a kick tough for the Americans’ knockout stage hopefuls.

The United States finished two points behind Group B winners England to reach the round of 16 for the fifth time since 1994. Iran finished third with three points, with Wales bottom with one point.

Gregg Berhalter’s USA team, the second-youngest in this year’s final, may lack experience on the big stage, but they stepped up and delivered an impressive performance as their World Cup place was at stake. stakes.

Knowing that only a win would keep them in the tournament, they pressed with great intensity from the first whistle – their full-backs playing almost like wingers – and the odds flowed for their fluid attack.

Tim Weah, who repelled two glorious chances before Pulisic gave the Americans the lead, had the ball in the net late in the first half but his shot was ruled offside.

Iran, who only needed a point to advance, were largely restricted to counterplay and unable to muster a credible attempt to score before the second half.

Substitute Saman Ghoddos, who came on for Sardar Azmoun at half-time, nearly leveled Iran after encountering a superb cross from Ramin Rezaeian in Team Melli’s best chance of the game, but they never really troubled a dominant American team.



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