It’s what kids playing soccer dreamed of when they were in their backyards: win or go home in the World Cup.
That’s what was at stake for the US Men’s National Team in their final group game. With all the pressure mounting in their biggest game since 2014, the USMNT answered the call.
The United States is on its way to the round of 16 after its 1-0 victory over Iran on Tuesday.
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Over the course of 36 minutes, the US fired seven shots, two of them head-first parries. After all your chances in this one, as well as against England, you were bound to find the net, and you finally did. Late in the 38th minute, Weston McKennie lobbed one to Sergino Dest, who headed towards Christian Pulisic in the middle, and was able to get his right foot into the back of the net.
Pulisic collided with the Iranian keeper and took a long time to get up, and the US played briefly with 10 men while receiving treatment. Although he returned in the first half, he was substituted to start the half with an abdominal injury, ending his game.
In the 45th, the US had another chance, but Weah’s pass to the middle was intercepted. At 45+6, Tim Weah’s third shot finally found the net, but it was declared offside and the lead remained 1-0 at half time. At the halfway point, the US had nine shots, three on target, while Iran had zero. Corners were also 2-0 in favor of the Americans.
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On 47′, Josh Sargent shot on the goal, which was stopped and a corner was taken on 49′. In the 52nd minute, Iran finally fired for the first time, but the header went high. The USA earned their fourth and fifth corners, but still couldn’t deliver on them.
In minute 65, Iran looked again, but their second shot went wide to the right. In the 68th, the USA had a free kick from great scoring position, but Yunus Musah’s shot went high.
In the 82nd minute, Iran wanted the US to be called for a handball in the box, which would have resulted in a penalty kick, but there was no foul. Seven minutes later, Iran took their first corner of the game, but missed everyone and the Americans parried the threat. He also had a free-kick in the 93rd minute from outside the area, but his header went wide to the left,
As time went on, Iran almost leveled the game practically at the last minute. A ball floated towards Turner and went just under his legs near the net, but Walker Zimmerman cleared it out of desperation. Iran wanted a foul, but there was no call. Despite Iran appearing offensively in the second half and many scares, the US defense was able to prevail and exhale.
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The USA now advances to the knockout stage, where they will face the Netherlands in their Round of 16 match on Saturday at 10 am ET. Iran, along with Wales, are knocked out.
From now on, there will be no more raffles. Win and move on, lose and go home. And if the USMNT can win four more games, they will win their first World Cup.