USA beat Iran 1-0 to reach the last 16 of the World Cup

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The USA beat Iran 1-0 to reach the last 16 of the World Cup in an entertaining Group B decider on Tuesday thanks to a strike from Christian Pulisic.

Pulisic was unable to celebrate the goal, injuring himself when he crashed into the Iranian goalkeeper after he scored in the 38th minute.

The US talisman was sprawled on the field and was lying in the goalmouth for about three minutes as he received treatment from US staff. He re-entered the game but was replaced at the start of the second half. After the game, Pulisic was taken to hospital, but coach Gregg Berhalter had no immediate update on his injury.

In stoppage time of the first half, US forward Timothy Weah had a through ball to score but it was disallowed because of an offside call.

“I always say it’s us against the world,” Weah said after the match. “No one believed the US could play good football.”

Iran defender Morteza Pouraliganji had an attempt late in the second half but his header went missed the target on a wasted chance.


Nine minutes of frantic, frenetic second-half injury time saw desperate Iranian attempts inside the US penalty area, including a shout for a penalty as Cameron Carter-Vickers laid a hand on an advancing Iranian attacker who went to ground.

The Americans finished second in Group B with five points, two behind England, and will play the Netherlands on Saturday with the chance to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002.

There was heightened tension surrounding the match because of the strained relations between the United States and Iran’s government. Iran had famously upset the US 2-1 in the 1998 tournament in France, eliminating the Americans.

Raucous Iranian fans with horns and drums in the crowd of 42,127 filled the lower bowl behind one goal at Al Thumama Stadium and were far louder than the red-white-and-blue US supporters at the other end and behind the American bench.

The US outshot Iran 9-0 in the first half but didn’t break through until Pulisic came up with the big moment that a growing and increasingly demanding fan base back home had been pining for.

Weston McKennie lofted a pass from just past the center circle to Sergiño Dest at the edge of the six-yard box. Dest headed the ball in front of the net on a bounce as Pulisic charged up the center of the field past Ramin Rezaeian and Majid Hosseiniand.

Turning his body to let the ball hit his right foot, Pulisic knocked the ball for his 22nd international goal and first in a World Cup. His momentum carried him into goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand, and Pulisic needed to be helped to his feet after receiving treatment.

“Obviously we’re very thankful that he threw his body there,” McKennie said. “At the end, it was a heart-drop sinking moment, but we got it done and we’re excited to still be here.”

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