Christian Pulisic of the United States attends a press conference ahead of a training session at Al-Gharafa SC Stadium, in Doha on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
American Christian Pulisic scores his team’s first goal during the World Cup Group B soccer match between Iran and the United States at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar on Tuesday, November 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Doha, Qatar – After scoring the winning goal for the United States against Iran, Christian Pulisic watched the final minutes from a hospital on a cellphone.
“They were checking my blood sugar and everything and it was flying through the roof,” the American star recalled on Thursday, “but it wasn’t because of anything. It was just me stressing out watching the game. But once I got through that and the final whistle sounded, I was obviously very happy.”
Pulisic is hoping to play against the Netherlands in the round of 16 of the World Cup on Saturday after injuring his pelvic bone when he collided with goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand as he scored in the 38th minute of the Americans’ 1-0 victory on Tuesday.
“I will do everything in my power to work with this medical team and make sure I can play,” he told a press conference, seated next to teammate Tim Weah.
Pulisic said he took a knee to the pelvic bone and not the genitals.
“It was very painful,” he recalls. “That bone is there for a reason, to protect you, I think, I hit it good. It was painful, but like I said, I’m better.”
Pulisic stayed on the pitch for about three minutes before re-entering the game and finishing the first half. He was replaced by Brenden Aaronson at the start of the second half and was taken to Hamad General Hospital accompanied by athletic trainer Harris Patel.
“This team helps me take the pressure off so much,” Pulisic said. “A few years ago there were times when maybe I felt like I needed to do more. But with these guys I don’t feel that way at all, to be honest. I know they have my back.”
If the United States beat the Netherlands, they would reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2002 and face Argentina or Australia. Players realize that each of their games has been seen by 10 to 20 million people on American television.
“I hope they can see the unity and team spirit that we display. I hope that helps us win fans,” Pulisic said.
“You can see all the individual talent – we have guys playing at the best clubs in the world, but without the brotherhood, without that family aspect, we wouldn’t be in this position,” he added.
Pulisic and Tim Weah were asked by a Dutch journalist about the importance of the World Cup for the Americans.
“It’s the most important sport right now,” said Weah, son of former FIFA Player of the Year and current Liberian President George Weah. “We’re on a stage and it’s our job to make sure they know this is the sport we play, and I think everyone at home realizes that the team has talent. “
Pulisic played down comparisons between his goal against Iran and Landon Donovan’s iconic moment, an injury-time goal against Algeria in 2010 that propelled the Americans to the knockout stage.
“I hope I haven’t had that moment yet, to be honest,” Pulisic said. “I hope it’s in front of me.”
Forward Josh Sargent has a sore right ankle after a late second-half challenge against Iran.
A Dutch journalist reminded Pulisic that before signing with Borussia Dortmund in 2015 at the age of 16, he trained at PSV Eindhoven with Cody Gakpo, a striker for the Netherlands national team who scored three World Cup goals.
“Oh, wow. I never put that together,” Pulisic said.
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