The United States men's national team advanced to the round of 16 in the 2022 FIFA World Cup with a 1-0 victory over Iran on Tuesday in Doha, Qatar.
The stakes were pretty straightforward for the USMNT. With two draws to open the tournament, it needed to beat Iran to move on.
When the United States faced the same situation in 2010, fans had to wait until the 91st minute before Landon Donovan scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Algeria. This time around, the U.S. didn't leave it until late.
Christian Pulisic put his team ahead in the 38th minute.
The Chelsea star was subbed off at halftime because of an abdominal injury he suffered while scoring the goal. He made his 45 minutes on the pitch count.
JJ Watt @JJWatt
Sacrificing the crown jewels for a massive goal in the World Cup… that’s dedication <a href="https://twitter.com/cpulisic_10?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@cpulisic_10</a> <br><br>We salute you. <br><br>🇺🇸<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/USAvsIran?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#USAvsIran</a>
Men in Blazers @MenInBlazers
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The United States was unable to add to its advantage, which created an increasingly nervy mood for those watching the match unfold. Coach Gregg Berhalter's pragmatic style meant Iran would have plenty of time on the ball to find an equalizer as well.
Once the referee blew the whistle after nine minutes of stoppage time, the celebrations began.
By finishing second in Group B, the USMNT will meet the Netherlands in the first knockout round. The Dutch won Group A after beating Senegal and Qatar and drawing with Ecuador.
The Netherlands is the best country to have never the World Cup, having reached the final in 1974, 1978 and 2010. The Oranje have also been prone to imploding spectacularly at international tournaments.
Perhaps the United States can hand them another disappointing exit.