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The United States men’s national team fought to a 0-0 draw against England on Friday at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and now the Americans will need to defeat Iran in their third and final match of Group B action to reach the knockout stages.
Star midfielder Christian Pulisic hopes the USMNT’s draw against England, one of the world’s premier national teams, “made a lot of people proud” in the United States, but he admitted the Stars and Stripes will need to dig deep in order to make it to the round of 16, per ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle.
“Everyone back home watching, I hope we made a lot of people proud,” he said. “But the job isn’t even close to done, so we’ve got a lot of work left to do.”
The USMNT opened the World Cup with a 1-1 draw against Wales. Timothy Weah scored the team’s only goal of the tournament against The Dragons in a game that saw the Americans take their foot off the gas in the second half.
Friday’s performance against Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions was far better as the USMNT produced the better chances, including a whistling shot by Pulisic that hit the crossbar in the first half.
FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer
WHAT A SHOT by Pulisic!!!
The USMNT was this close to taking the lead! pic.twitter.com/HTAs0gyshf
Still, those scoring opportunities mean nothing if the ball doesn’t sail into the back of the net, and now the Americans will have their backs against the wall against Iran on Tuesday. A tie or loss would not put the U.S. into the elimination stages, which would be a disappointment for Gregg Berhalter’s side.
“We played with a ton of spirit, but we’re going to have to be up for it [against Iran],” Berhalter said Friday. “We want a chance to advance… We know it’s going to be a difficult game, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”
Iran fell to England 6-2 in its World Cup opener but stunned Wales with a 2-0 win in their second match of the tournament on Friday.
The USMNT reached the round of 16 at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups but did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. If the Stars and Stripes don’t make it past the group stage, it will be the first time they failed to do so in a World Cup they entered since 2006, when they finished 25th.