Christian Pulisic bundled the ball home at a cacophonous Al Thumama Stadium as the United States stormed into the World Cup last 16 on Tuesday by beating Iran 1-0 while England cruised into the knockout stages after thrashing Wales 3-0.
Pulisic’s 38th minute goal proved enough for the Americans to advance at the expense of their geopolitical rivals.
Sergino Dest headed the ball into the path of the sprinting Pulisic, who swept it into the net to momentarily silence the raucous Iranian supporters in front of him but he crashed into the outstretched Alireza Beiranvand in the process.
Pulisic was back on his feet after receiving treatment for a few minutes but did not look comfortable and he was replaced by Brenden Aaronson at the break after sustaining an abdominal injury, in a major blow for the Americans’ knockout stage hopes.
The US finished two points behind Group B winners England to reach the last 16 for the fifth time since 1994.
England’s Marcus Rashford played a stellar game scoring twice to move into a group of four players level on three goals in the race for the Golden Boot.
“This is what I play football for, the biggest moments, the best moments,” Rashford, who has experienced a huge upturn in form for club and country this season, told the BBC.
“I’m really happy today that we’re going through to the next round. I have massive ambition for this team and think we can play even better than we showed today.”
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS and AFP)