USMNT advances to knockout stage of FIFA World Cup with 1-0 win over Iran
DOHA, Qatar – The U.S. Men’s National Team advanced to the knockout stage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup with a 1-0 victory against IR Iran on an historic night for U.S. Soccer.
With the result, the USA finishes second in Group B with five points and will face Group A winner Netherlands in the Round of 16 on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 10 a.m. ET (FOX, Telemundo). England defeated Wales 3-0 in the other Group B match tonight to finish atop the group with seven points. The victory ensured the USA’s advancement to the knockout round at five of the last seven World Cups in which the USMNT has participated.
It was fitting that Pulisic, the USMNT’s talisman for much of this four-year cycle, provided the difference maker in a crucial win-or-go-home match. Goalkeeper Matt Turner and the U.S. defense held strong against a spirited second half push by Iran to record a second clean sheet of the tournament, marking the first time that the USA has recorded multiple shutouts at the World Cup since 1930.
After putting plenty of pressure on the Iran defense for the majority of the first half, the USA’s breakthrough finally came in the 38th minute. Left back Antonee Robinson ran a ball down on the left wing deep in Iran territory, then played a pass back and centrally to Adams, who played Weston McKennie. The U.S. midfielder spotted Dest making a run behind the defense into the right side of the penalty area. He ran under the perfectly chipped pass and sent a header bouncing through the middle to Pulisic, who put his body on the line to smash home a half-volley from four yards out just before enduring a heavy collision with the Iran goalkeeper, an incident that would cause Pulisic to be replaced at halftime by midfielder Brenden Aaronson, who played a stellar second half. Pulisic has been diagnosed with a pelvic contusion and his status is day-to-day.
Despite a strong effort from Team Melli and a raucous pro-Iran crowd, the USMNT was on the front foot for most of the match, continuing its excellent run of play from its first two games in Qatar. The atmosphere was electric from the opening whistle at Al Thumama Stadium and while Iran, which needed just a tie to advance, opened the game with a menacing spell in the U.S. penalty box, captain Tyler Adams and defender Tim Ream did well to shut down any danger. From there, the U.S. had the better of possession and spent plenty of time in Iranian territory, holding Iran without a shot in the first half and just four on the night compared to USA’s 12 total. The USA also put five shots on goal to Iran’s one.
Midfielder Yunus Musah played a vitally important role in the midfield throughout the night, combining well with Dest and forward Tim Weah on the right wing. The midfielder (who turned 20 years old today) fired the first U.S. shot in the ninth minute and set up another attempt in the 11th, sending a cross in for Pulisic that went straight at Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand. A cross from Dest in the 17th minute also forced a dive from Beiranvand to push the ball out of danger.
Defender Cameron Carter-Vickers, who partnered well with Reem in the center of the defense, shone in his World Cup debut, often winning long balls downfield from the Iranian front line. Ream stood tall as the last man back on several Iranian attacking forays as central defense did well to defuse any threats down the stretch.
The U.S. was patient in possession, holding a slight advantage over the course of the match as it built up from the back, working the ball methodically around the field throughout the evening as individual bits of skill helped open up the Iran defense. Pulisic made a move to make some space in the 28th and play a pass up to forward Josh Sargent. After his shot was deflected upwards, Weah put a header on goal that was swallowed by the ‘keeper. Another chance came from the right wing in the 33rd when a Dest cross led to a shot for Weah, but he skied it over the crossbar.
The U.S. nearly doubled their advantage late in second-half stoppage time as McKennie found Weah on the break and he slotted it home past the ‘keeper, but the goal was disallowed due to offside by the slimmest of margins.
Buoyed by the crowd urging them forward, Iran created a few dangerous looks in the second half. Team Melli’s first shot came in the 52nd minute as Saman Ghoddos muscled his way into the U.S. box but had his header go over the bar. Another opportunity came in the 65th minute when Ali Gholizadeh played a ball into the penalty box and after a swing and a miss from Mehdi Taremi, Ghoddos ripped a shot that skied over the net.
The U.S. defense weathered the storm from Iran down the stretch and during 10-plus minutes of stoppage time, winning numerous powerful headers to clear the ball out of danger, while Turner was also called into action at moments. In the 82nd minute after a booming free kick into the box, midfielder Ali Karimi pushed the ball forward and Turner leapt to grab a high ball close to the goal line.
In the 93rd minute, an Iran free kick service was headed just off target and in the 98th, the ball snuck through Turner’s legs deep inside the penalty box as an Iranian forward crashed into him, but substitute Walker Zimmerman was the man on the spot, sweeping the ball out of danger to preserve the win.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
USA – Christian Pulisic (Sergiño Dest), 38th minute – Midfielder Weston McKennie received the ball just past midfield from Tyler Adams and found Dest on the run into the right side of the box with a perfectly chipped pass over the back line. Dest headed the ball on his first touch across the mouth of the goal to meet the crashing Pulisic, who finished from six yards out to open the scoring. USA 1, IRN 0
- The USMNT is now 1-1-1 all-time against Iran.
- Tonight’s USMNT Starting XI has an average age of 24 years, 321 days. It is the youngest lineup at the 2022 FIFA World Cup thus far and the fourth youngest in USMNT history at the tournament, coming in behind the team’s three Starting XIs at the 1990 World Cup: vs. Italy (24 years, 49 days), vs. Austria (24 years, 53 days), vs. Czechoslovakia (24 years, 78 days)
- The shutouts of Iran and England mark just the second time the USMNT has recorded two clean sheets at the same World Cup. The team last recorded two shutouts during the inaugural 1930 FIFA World Cup with 3-0 wins against Belgium and Paraguay.
- Through Tuesday’s early matches, the USMNT has started the three youngest lineups at the 2022 FIFA World Cup:
- Christian Pulisic recorded his 22nd career international goal and Sergiño Dest registered his third international assist.
- U.S. head coach Gregg Berhalter made two changes to the lineup that faced England in the USA’s second group match, inserting defender Cameron Carter-Vickers for Walker Zimmerman and forward Josh Sargent for Haji Wright. With Carter-Vickers’ inclusion, the USA’s total number of World Cup debuts at Qatar 2022 moves to 18 – a team record for one World Cup.
- Nine players make their third consecutive start while Sargent returned to the lineup after starting the tournament opener against Wales.
- Midfielder Yunus Musah, who turned 20 today, became the first USMNT player to appear in a World Cup match on their birthday. Twenty-seven different USMNT players have appeared in a match on their birthday, covering 28 different instances – Eric Wynalda twice played on his birthday.
- Musah, who debuted for the USA at age 17 in November 2020, set team records with 20 starts and 1,578 minutes played as a teenager and equaled the record of 21 caps that Jozy Altidore and Christian Pulisic achieved during their teenage years.
- Tyler Adams captained the USMNT for the 12th time tonight. The team is now 5-1-6 when he wears the armband.
- For the first time in USMNT World Cup history, all 11 starters featured for European clubs. Club distribution: England (6), Italy (2), France (1), Scotland (1) Spain (1)
- CAUTION WATCH: Kellyn Acosta, Tyler Adams, Sergiño Dest, Weston McKennie and Tim Ream all carry yellow cards into the Round of 16 match against the Netherlands.
- Gregg Berhalter is 37-10-12 in 59 matches as USMNT head coach.
-U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report-
Match: United States Men’s National Team vs. IR Iran
Date: November 29, 2022
Competition: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar; Group B
Venue: Al Thumama Stadium; Doha, Qatar
Kickoff: 2 p.m. ET (10 p.m. local)
Weather: 75 degrees, clear skies
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
IRN 0 0 0
USA – Christian Pulisic (Sergiño Dest) 38th minute
USA: 1-Matt Turner; 2-Sergiño Dest (18-Shaq Moore, 82), 20-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 13-Tim Ream, 5-Antonee Robinson; 6-Yunus Musah, 4-Tyler Adams (Capt.), 8-Weston McKennie (23-Kellyn Acosta, 65); 21-Tim Weah (3-Walker Zimmerman, 82), 24-Josh Sargent (19-Haji Wright, 77), 10-Christian Pulisic (11-Brenden Aaronson, 46)
Substitutes not used: 12-Ethan Horvath, 25-Sean Johnson, 7-Gio Reyna, 9-Jesús Ferreira, 14-Luca de la Torre, 15-Aaron Long, 16-Jordan Morris, 17-Cristian Roldan, 22-DeAndre Yedlin, 26-Joe Scally
Head Coach: Gregg Berhalter
IRN: 1-Alireza Beiranvand; 23-Ramin Rezaeian, 19-Majid Hosseini, 8-Morteza Pouraliganji, 5-Milad Mohammadi (18-Ali Karimi, 45+3); 21-Ahmad Noorollahi (16-Mehdi Torabi, 71), 6-Saeid Ezatolahi, 3-Ehsan Hajisafi (Capt.) (25-Abolfazl Jalali, 72); 17-Ali Gholizadeh (10-Karim Ansarifard, 77), 20-Sardar Azmoun (14-Saman Ghoddos, 46), 9-Mehdi Taremi
Substitutes not used: 12-Payam Niazmand, 22-Amir Abedzadeh, 24-Hossein Hosseini, 2-Sadegh Moharrami, 4-Shoja Khalilzadeh, 11-Vahid Amiri, 13-Hossein Kanani, 15-Rouzbeh Cheshmi
Head Coach: Carlos Queiroz
Stats Summary: USA / IRN
Shots: 12 / 4
Shots on Goal: 5 / 1
Saves: 1 / 4
Corner Kicks: 5 / 1
Fouls: 10 / 14
Offside: 1 / 2
USA – Tyler Adams (Caution) 43rd minute
IRN – Majid Hosseini (Caution) 77
IRN – Hossein Kanani (Caution) 83
IRN – Abolfazl Jalali (Caution) 90+6
Referee: Antonio Mateu (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Pau Cebrian (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Diaz (ESP)
4th Official: Kevin Ortega (PER)
VAR: Juan Martinez (ESP)
Assistant VAR: Ricardo De Burgos (ESP)
Man of the Match: Christian Pulisic