The United States men’s national team advanced to the knockout stage of the 2022 World Cup, beating Iran 1-0 at Al Thumama Stadium on Tuesday to finish second in Group B and book a last-16 matchup against the Netherlands.
Christian Pulisic turned in Sergino Dest‘s headed cross in the 38th minute to get the crucial breakthrough, putting his body on the line and suffering an abdominal injury after subsequently clashing with Iran‘s goalkeeper.
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The injury led Pulisic to be replaced at half-time by Brenden Aaronson, but for the US it was surely a price worth paying as Gregg Berhalter’s side hung on to its lead in the second half to advance at the expense of Iran.
England, which beat Wales 3-0 in the other final-round group game, top the group on seven points, ahead of the US on five. Iran, which would have advanced with a tie, finish third ahead of bottom-placed Wales.
The US will now take on Group A winners Netherlands on Saturday as it looks to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002.
While a place in the knockout rounds was at stake, the buildup to the game had been dominated by off-the-field news, including US Soccer’s decision to scrub the Islamic Republic symbol from Iran’s flag in a prematch tweet on Sunday. US Soccer later restored the image of Iran’s flag in its entirety on social media, but not before drawing the ire of the country’s government and its federation.
Iran’s government reacted by accusing US Soccer of removing the name of God from their national flag, and the Iranian football federation said their country will lodge a complaint with FIFA over the scrubbing of the Islamic Republic emblem.
Iran vs. United States – Football Match Report – November 29, 2022