The USMNT Make It to the Knockout Stages of World Cup 2022
By Space Coast Daily // December 1, 2022
In news that will make every soccer fan ecstatic, not only here on the Space Coast, but across the entire country, is that the USMNT managed to get out of their group and advance into the knockout stages of World Cup 2022.
Head coach Gregg Berhalter managed to steer his youthful squad to second-place in Group B, which was one of the trickiest groups in the tournament, as it was full of strong opponents.
Their first game was against Wales, and even though this British nation is one of the smallest countries at this World Cup, they still have decent players like the winger Gareth Bale, who now plays for MLS side Los Angeles FC.
Thanks to a beautifully crafted bit of attacking play, which was expertly finished off by 22-year-old forward Timothy Weah, the US were 1-0 up at half-time. Unfortunately, the team waned badly in the second period, and Bale scored an 82nd minute penalty to earn a draw.
Berhalter didn’t let the side get disheartened by this late equalizer though, as next up was the toughest opponent in the group, England.
The pre-match hype that built up before the showdown between the two old enemies was stratospheric, and come kick-off, it felt like the entire sporting world’s eyes were on the Al Bayt Stadium. Gareth Southgate’s side are expected to go deep into the tournament, and could even be eventual winners, so it was a real test for the stars and stripes to go toe-to-toe with them.
This is backed up by the online bookmakers, who have England priced as one of the top five favourites to win the whole tournament.
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Thankfully, it was an occasion that the USMNT rose to brilliantly, and they looked every bit England’s equal.
This was perfectly encapsulated by the result, with the game ending in a 0-0 draw, and though neither side could find the breakthrough, it was definitely the US that looked the more likely.
Especially when Christian Pulisic rattled the crossbar with a vicious left-footed shot in the 33rd minute, which had the goalkeeper well beaten.
The attacking-midfielder currently plays for the Premier League club Chelsea, and with the London side being one of the biggest franchises in the whole of soccer, it showcases just how talented Pulisic is.
That’s why the 24-year-old has been dubbed ‘Captain America’, due to his ability to be the saviour of his country, and in the last group game that the USMNT played, the nation hoped that he’d be there again to save the day.
They were facing off against Iran, in a match where anything other than a win would have resulted in them having to pack their bags, and get a plane home from Qatar.
That’s because Iran only needed a draw to progress out of the group, as England were expected to capture first-place with a win over Wales. This turned out to be the case, as they thumped their British rivals 3-0.
The match was immensely tense, with Iran employing a low-block from the kick-off, ensuring all their players were defending deep to try and stop the USMNT from scoring.
Fortunately, the midfield of the US flicked into creative overdrive, passing the ball around quickly and slickly. The pressure began to tell, despite Iran’s best defensive efforts, and on the 38th minute, the crucial moment came.
An exquisite cross-field pass by Weston McKennie was then deftly headed across goal by Sergino Dest, and who was there rushing into the six-yard box to meet the ball?
Captain America of course, who had perfectly timed his run to guide the ball into the net, to put his side a goal up, and they successfully saw out the remainder of the game.
The goal came at a slight cost though, as Pulisic injured himself when scoring, and had to be sent to hospital for scans after the final whistle.
Fingers crossed though, that the star man will be fit enough to start against the Netherlands on Saturday, in the round-of-16 clash against the European giants. Make sure to read up on where to find free World Cup live streams to catch all the action.