DOHA ( Associated Press) – Soccer hopes to continue its rise to challenge football, baseball and basketball in the battle for the American market.
The qualification for the World Cup’s round of 16, secured by the United States team with a 1-0 win over Iran on Tuesday, represents another step forward for a team whose success is not only measured in the final score, but Also measured in numbers. In the commotion of the audience.
“I don’t know the final numbers, but I’m sure a lot of people were watching,” said US coach Greg Berhalter. “You see how resilient and cohesive this group is, as well as how much energy they put into every game. And along the way, some good football. It’s the American spirit, the way this team plays, and I think That people would appreciate it, especially in our country.”
The Americans began the World Cup with a 1–1 draw with Wales, which was watched by 11.7 million people in the United States via broadcasts in English and Spanish. Then, the team drew 0–0 against England, a duel watched by 19.98 million spectators on Black Friday, when classes and many offices were closed.
President Joe Biden, speaking from Bay City, Michigan, focused on the victory over Iran.
“He did it!” Biden said.
A win against the Netherlands on Saturday would move the United States into the quarterfinals, a stage they last reached in 2002. Kristina Pulisic’s status for the match is unknown after she injured her pelvis in a collision with the goalkeeper. In which he scored.
The US Soccer Federation did not offer an interview with Pulisic on Wednesday but released footage of him handling a ball.
Brendan Aaronson, who replaced Pulisic in the second half, said, “We’re not going to be the favorites.” “The Dutch are a world power and have been for many tournaments. I think the important thing for us is to play without fear, as we have done throughout the tournament. And I think good things will come out of that.”
Matt Turner, the first American goalkeeper since 1930 to dismiss opponents in back-to-back World Cup appearances, moved after the final whistle. He recalled how the United States’ performance in 2010 made him fall in love with soccer.
He was then a high school baseball player who occasionally played football. Then the emphasis shifted from one sport to another.
Turner made his MLS debut in 2018, transferred to Arsenal last summer and now plays in world soccer’s top tournament.
“It’s just an incredible experience for me, given my history,” he said. “Almost everything is a carbon copy of the feelings I had as a fan in 2010. Very emotional for me for many reasons.
The US lineup against Iran was the youngest of any team in this year’s tournament. It is the youngest team since 1990 with an average of 24 years and 321 days.
Iran’s Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz, a former consultant to the US federation, praised the Americans’ speed and admitted it forced them to make adjustments.
“When we play with a Ferrari team that needs space to accelerate, the best way to deal with them is to close the motorway so they can’t catch up,” he said.
But the Netherlands presents quite a challenge. The United States has five losses and six draws in 11 matches against European opponents since shocking Portugal in 2002 with a 3–2 win.
“It’s a great opportunity, but it’s not something we think is an honor. We deserve to be in the position we’re in and we want to move forward,” Berhalter said. “For us, the important thing is how we recover from this game and be ready to play against a very good Dutch team, excellently managed with a lot of quality on the pitch. And we have to figure out how to beat them.