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 in a Group B contest shrouded by decades of enmity between the two nations.
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.
England manager Gareth Southgate thanks the fans after the match. England won 3-0.
England's Jude Bellingham celebrated as his side qualified for the Round of 16 as the Group B topper.
Wales' Harry Wilson, third right, shoots in an attempt to score but in vain.
Marcus Rashford scored a brace to move to the top of the Golden Boot leaderboard with three goals. Rashford’s first goal in Qatar 2022 came against Iran. With that goal, Rashford also became the first Manchester United player to score three goals at a major tournament for England since Bobby Charlton at the 1966 World Cup.
51’ Phil Foden makes it two for England within a minute of Marcus Rashford finding the back of the net.
England's Marcus Rashford scores this World Cup’s first free-kick goal.
Wales' Gareth Bale was subbed off at half-time.
Phil Foden of England reacts after a missed chance. It is 0-0 at half time!
Marcus Rashford of England controls the ball.
England coach Gareth Southgate speaks to Jordan Henderson during an injury interruption.
Neco Williams of Wales lies on the pitch as he receives medical attention. He was hit on the face as Marcus Rashford unleashed a shot on target from the edge of the box.
10’ Welsh goalkeeper Daniel Ward triumphs over English forward Marcus Rashford in a one-on-one situation. This was the closest England came to breaking the deadlock in the first half.
A sea of red! Wales needs a win against England and Iran vs USA to enter the Round of 16.
Time for the national anthems!
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 U.S. finished two points behind Group B winners England to reach the last 16 for the fifth time since 1994. Iran finished third with three points, with Wales bottom with one point.
Gregg Berhalter’s U.S. team, the second youngest at this year’s finals, may lack experience on the big stage, but it stepped up and delivered a commanding performance when its spot at the World Cup was on the line.
Knowing that only a win would keep it in the tournament, it pressed with high intensity from the first whistle - its fullbacks almost playing as wingers - and chances flowed for its free-flowing attack.
Tim Weah, who spurned two glorious opportunities before Pulisic put the Americans ahead, had the ball in the net late in the first half, but his strike was ruled offside.
Iran, which only needed a point to advance, was largely restricted to playing on the counter and unable to muster a credible attempt at scoring until the second half.
Substitute Saman Ghoddos, who replaced Sardar Azmoun at half time, almost pulled Iran level after meeting a superb cross from Ramin Rezaeian in Team Melli’s best chance of the match but it never really troubled a dominant U.S. side.
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