USA qualified for the last 16 of the World Cup as runners-up in Group B after Christian Pulisic’s goal was enough to beat Iran 1-0.
In what was a shootout for qualification, it was the USA that relished the jeopardy, playing with great energy and attacking intent as Pulisic bundled home the crucial goal on 38 minutes.
The Chelsea man suffered an injury to his hip in that brave action and didn’t come out for the second half. It was later reported he had been taken to a local hospital with an abdominal injury.
USA coach Gregg Berhalter said: “No update [on Pulisic’s fitness], but it is a wonderful thing when one of your best players is one of the hardest working. And he is certainly that, I can’t say enough positive things about Christian.”
USA missed his influence as the game wore on but despite enjoying plenty of territory, Iran couldn’t find the quality to find an equaliser that would have been enough to send them through.
USA will now play Netherlands on Saturday at 3pm in the first last-16 game after Louis van Gaal’s side secured their spot as Group A winners with victory over hosts Qatar.