DOHA, Qatar – Christian Pulisic scored with a header past the goalkeeper in the 38th minute and the United States advanced to the knockout rounds of the World Cup with a 1-0 win over Iran on Tuesday in a politically charged rematch of their famous meeting a quarter of a century ago.

Pulisic collapsed on the field and lay near the goal for about three minutes while he was treated by US officials. He returned to the game but was substituted early in the second half. The U.S. Soccer Federation later reported that Pulisic was taken to the hospital with an abdominal injury.

Back at the World Cup after missing out on the 2018 tournament, Team USA started play with draws against Wales and England needing a win to advance to the round of 16.

The Americans finished second in Group B with five points, two behind England, and will play the Netherlands on Saturday with a chance to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002.

“I always say it’s us against the world,” forward Tim Weah said. “No one believed that the USA could play good soccer.”

Iran finished third with three points. The team failed to advance in all six World Cup appearances.

There was heightened tension surrounding the match due to strained relations between the United States and Iran’s Islamic government. At the tournament in France in 1998, Iran defeated the USA 2-1, knocking out the Americans.

Pregame protocol was routine, unlike the 1998 game, when the Iranians presented the Americans with white flowers and the teams posed for a photo together.

Furious Iranian fans with bugles and drums in the crowd of 42,127 filled the lower bowl behind one goal at Al-Tumama Stadium and were far louder than the red-white-and-blue USA fans at the other end and behind the Americans’ bench.

The USA outscored Iran 9-0 in the first half, but didn’t break through until Pulisic came up with a highlight reel that a growing and increasingly demanding fan base at home had been waiting for.

Weston McKenney made a pass just outside the center circle to Serginho Desta on the edge of the 6-yard box. Dest headed the ball in front of the net after a rebound as Pulisic flew past Ramin Rezayan and Majid Hosseinind in the center of the pitch.

Turning to allow the ball to hit his right foot, Pulisic slotted home his 22nd international goal and first of the World Cup. His momentum carried him into goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand and Pulisic had to be helped to his feet before returning.

“Obviously, we’re very grateful that he threw his body out there,” McKenney said. “It was a terrible moment in the end, but we did it and we’re very happy to be here.”

Weah, who scored the Americans’ goal in the opening 1-1 draw with Wales, almost doubled the lead in the seventh minute of first-half stoppage time but was ruled offside.

At the beginning of the second half, Pulisic was replaced by Brenden Aaronson.

With England ahead of Wales, Iran knew they only needed a draw to go ahead and finally had their first shot at goalkeeper Matt Turner when Saman Godas headed over the bar in the 52nd minute. In the 70th minute, Saeed Ezatolahi sent an open shot high and wide, Morteza Pouraliganji headed in the third nine minutes into stoppage time and Walker Zimmerman scored from a loose ball in the ninth minute after Cameron Carter in front of an open goal. -Vickers put his hand on Mehdi Toremi.

“I hope our fans and our people in Iran will forgive us. I’m just sorry,” Toremi said.


Cameron Carter-Vickers, son of former NBA player Howard Carter, made his World Cup debut in place of Zimmerman and provided Team USA with an all-European lineup for the first time in World Cup history.


The USA squad averaged 24 years and 321 days, the youngest team in the tournament so far and the youngest World Cup squad for the Americans since 1990. Yunus Musah turned 20, the first American to appear in a World Cup match on his birthday.


The USA is 1-4 against the Netherlands, in all friendlies, overcoming a two-goal deficit to win 4-3 in Amsterdam in 2015.

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