USMNT: ‘We’re not finished yet,’ says Walker Zimmerman ahead of knockout stages


After a 1-0 win against Iran earned the US Men’s National Team (USMNT) a place in the knockout stages of the World Cup, the players insist their campaign is far from over.

After failing to qualify for the last World Cup, the tournament in Qatar marks the first time since 2014 that the USMNT has reached the last 16, thanks to tough draws against Wales and England before Tuesday’s win against Iran.

The team is now driving higher ambitions.

“We’re not done yet,” defensive end Walker Zimmerman told CNN’s This Morning on Wednesday. “I think the narrative continues, we’re still going to try to do this and achieve our goal of winning the World Cup.

“I think if we’re able to do that, we’re going to inspire a lot of young players, a lot of young Americans to follow the sport and hopefully make them proud.”

The USMNT’s best World Cup performance in recent memory was reaching the quarterfinals in 2002 before losing to Germany.

Gregg Berhalter’s side go into Saturday’s qualifier against the Netherlands as underdogs, eight places below their opponents in the FIFA world rankings.

But this is unlikely to shake the team’s confidence.

“It’s nice to go to the next round, but we want to keep going,” Berhalter told This Morning.

“We had two tournaments that we are looking at: the group stage tournament and the knockout tournament. And now, we’re here in the knockout stages, we just want to keep this thing moving.”

Against Iran, star striker Christian Pulisic scored the only goal of the game before leaving the field with an abdominal injury.

Pulisic was injured after scoring the USA's only goal against Iran.

Berhalter said Pulisic “hopefully” will be fit to play against the Netherlands and praised the Chelsea man’s talent and work ethic.

Speaking on ABC’s Good Morning America, USMNT captain Tyler Adams said Pulisic had “put it all on the line”.

“He’s doing well, he’s in good spirits,” Adams added. “I feel a lot better now, but what a great player for us, who shows up in the biggest moments. We rely on him a lot for the big moments.”

Much of the build-up to Tuesday’s game between the US and Iran focused on political tensions between the two nations.

Iranian state media called for the US to be kicked out of the tournament after US Soccer changed Iran’s flag on its social media accounts to show support for protesters in Iran.

The governing body told CNN it wanted to change the official flag for 24 hours to show “support for women in Iran fighting for basic human rights,” but always planned to return to the original flag.

Iran appeared at the World Cup under the shadow of internal turmoil following widespread protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died after being arrested by Iran’s morality police, allegedly for disobeying its conservative code of conduct. the dress of the country. . Iranian security forces have since unleashed a violent response to the protests.

Josh Sargent and Ramin Rezaeian embrace after Tuesday's game.

There are concerns about the safety of Iranian players returning home after the team initially refused to sing Iran’s national anthem before its first game in a show of solidarity with demonstrators. The team’s families were also threatened with imprisonment and torture before the match, a source involved in games security said.

At the end of Tuesday’s game, players from both teams embraced in an apparent show of solidarity.

American defender Antonee Robinson was seen hugging a visibly distraught Ramin Rezaeian, who cried as he was embraced by the Fulham player, and comforting Abolfazl Jalali, who knelt on the pitch after the match.

Josh Sargent consoles a distraught Saeid Ezatolahi after Iran's World Cup elimination.

Meanwhile, Josh Sargent, DeAndre Yedlin and Timothy Weah bent down to comfort Saeid Ezatolahi, who buried his head in his hands as he sat on the pitch and processed his team’s defeat.

“We know firsthand as competitors what it’s like to lose,” Zimmerman said. “We also know the stakes of a World Cup, and then everything that they involve emotionally.

“We just congratulated them for their effort and felt bad for them and let them know we’re proud of the way they competed on the field last night.”


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