The USMNT just barely held on against Iran to advance to the knockout round of the World Cup. Christian Pulisic scored the deciding goal in the first half.
The United State was able to hold on against Iran in their final group stage game to secure second place to England, and advance to the knockout round.
A controversial move by manager Gregg Berhalter to go to a back five formation late in the match paid dividends on several opportunities from Iran, which continued to play the ball into the box in the final minutes, thus putting pressure on the USMNT back line.
While Christian Pulisic did not play the second half, it was his goal that proved decisive. Pulisic was injured on the goal and was removed at halftime.
USMNT advances to World Cup knockout round
For the United States, surviving the group stage was the expectation entering this World Cup. This USMNT side is one of the youngest in the World Cup, and in United States history. They will grow from this experience, and undoubtedly their match in the knockout round.
Social media was full of enthusiastic United States supporters after the match, as is expected in their home country.
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Next up, the United States will face The Netherlands in the Group of 16. It will not be an easy task to defeat the Dutch side, who are on of the better squads in Europe. Frenkie de Jong, Memphis Depay, Virgil van Dijk and more make for a tough out, and the Dutch will be favored to send the USMNT home unhappy.
Nonetheless, making it out of the group stage has to be considered a victory in itself for this young United State side. The future is bright, and while it was tough to watch at times, they’re through.