The US Men’s National Team’s dramatic 1-0 victory over Iran on Tuesday will likely go down as one of the most memorable victories in their history. , relief.
The big picture of what this victory means for the World Cup here in Qatar and for a team that is meant to grow together before playing mainly on home ground before the 2026 World Cup. I’ve seen
There were so many factors in Iran’s victory that, in retrospect, were key to how the game played out. Walker Zimmerman’s outstanding substitute performance, Cameron Carter-Vickers’ solid first start to the entire World Cup campaign, which included qualifying at centre-back, Sergino Dest’s continued good play and, once again, an attacking streak. America’s inability to make the most of the moment.
There were also some controversial decisions from head coach Greg Berhalter that dropped the United States into a more defensive posture in the second half. But the coach has had a very good tournament overall…
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Burhalter made a drastic change to his starting line-up on Tuesday, dropping Zimmermann and bringing in Carter Vickers alongside Tim Ream at centre-back.
Zimmerman has been one of the most consistent players in the United States since October when he was called up to the squad and inserted into the lineup after Ream and fellow centre-back John Brooks withdrew from the qualifying window. .
He captained the United States in the final qualifiers in March and also in the penultimate game before the World Cup in September. As expected, he started his first two matches here in Qatar.
For the most part he played well, but there were some shaky moments, including expensive penalties he gave up against Wales, and several errant passes and freebies against England.
It was still amazing to see Zimmermann on the bench for such an important game. He said he felt his extensive experience would help the United States distribute to an Iranian team that was considering sitting deep. he was right Carter-Vickers had solid shifts and looked comfortable with the ball, and out of 65 attempted passes he completed 58 and committed no dangerous turnovers.
Burhalter said it was difficult to let Zimmerman know he was on the bench, but they talked about the important role he could play in the closing stages.
“We talked to him beforehand about our plans to go into the five-back,” said Berhalter. He did just that.”
Indeed he did. Zimmermann played his eighth of his 90th, becoming a huge presence in the middle of the fifth back, and goalkeeper Matt he scored the ball following his 98th-minute challenge between Turner and the Iranian striker. Dominated in the air, decisively clearing the ball from the line after sprinting towards goal. Medhi Taremi.
Zimmermann said after the game that he was understandably sad when Verhalter told him he would not start on Monday, but he quickly approached himself to be the best teammate he could be while focusing on what he had to do. said to have changed Get off the bench to help the US close out the game.
That kind of thinking is important in a tournament setting. It’s natural to be disappointed when a player isn’t on the field, especially someone like Zimmermann who’s been such a big part of a team for so long, but being able to contribute positively from a reserve role is still a good thing. You can make a difference. His performance didn’t go unnoticed by his colleagues.
Left-back Anthony Robinson said: “Obviously he played well in the first game, but then he gave up a penalty and then England got back on their feet and played a really good game and kept a clean sheet.
“After that he would have been disappointed that he didn’t start, but when he came back and saw him jump up and win three or four headers in a row, he was like, ‘He knows himself. Someone who doesn’t think. It’s someone who puts his or her hand on the table and gives everything for the team.”
“That’s what got us through — the most important feeling that everyone is doing their best for the team.”
Together with Turner, full-backs Robinson and Dest, and midfielders Tyler Adams, Yunus Musser and Weston McKennie, the centre-backs once again delivered top-level defensive performances.
The USA have displayed excellent defense all tournament, keeping two clean sheets and just conceding a Gareth Bale penalty.
According to FBref.com, they only allow 2.3 expected goals in the group stage. This is his third-lowest total among the eight teams he has played in all three group matches as of Wednesday morning. That number is fewer than the 10 teams out of 24 who have played only twice. It was impressive.
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Dest that continues to be dazzling
Coming into the World Cup, there was no doubt about Dest’s talent, but there were questions about whether he would play with enough discipline to make the most of his material talent.
For clubs and countries, Dest tends to freelance. From Barcelona he is on loan at AC Milan. The right-back is a skilled attacker but at times gets too caught up in his side of the game, getting into trouble dribbling or neglecting his defensive responsibilities. and can be detrimental to your team.
None of which have appeared in Qatar. Dest plays a solid defense, maintaining organization, keeping in touch with fellow defenders, and winning important challenges.
“He was unbelievable,” goalkeeper Turner said after the victory over Iran. “He flows freely up and down the field. I am tracking it well.”
Dest has also made a big contribution in attack, being involved in several chances on Tuesday after teaming up with McKennie and Timothy Ware to control the right flank against England.
His most notable involvement came with a goal. Dest had a great run behind the left side of the Iranian defense. McKennie played a nice ball over the top where Dest landed on the edge of the area. Instead of heading the ball towards goal, he smartly angled towards a looming Christian Pulisic at the opposite post and the winger filled in a chance from a few yards out, qualifying for the knockout phase. was the winner who brought
It was brought by a variety of players, but surprisingly, the goal was a carbon copy of what the United States scored in the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Last night the barhalter ball came full circle pic.twitter.com/mKh8hSqaZ9
— Henry Bushnell (@HenryBushnell) November 30, 2022
This was a move that the United States made clear ahead of the Iran match. They drill it repeatedly, pulling Iran to one side of the field, dropping the ball to the midfielder, and having enough time to lift their heads and hit the ball diagonally to the advancing full-back on the other side.
“We talked about it before the game. That exact, just Playing was the way to score,” Ream said. “Thanks to Serg, he was able to hit the ball back,” Christian said before the game. “Crush that back post.” That’s exactly what he did and it happened. Perfect, perfect, perfect setup. ”
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These rotations helped create space for McKennie to find Dest in the build-up to goal.
Despite this, the United States continued to struggle after reaching the final third. It was a common theme throughout the World Cup campaign.
Part of it is understandable. It is difficult for almost any team to score a goal in their World cup. Part of it, however, stems from poor decision-making and execution in the most critical areas of the field. We saw that in the match against Iran.
The misfire started in the 2nd minute when Pulisic missed an opportunity to play Josh Sargent inside the box.
There was another bad decision in the 19th minute when McKennie saw and fumbled a relatively easy through ball to put Pulisic in one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Ware he had a much more dangerous chance in the 28th minute, heading a weak attempt at goal when he had time and space to put the ball down and shoot.
The U.S. made all the right choices five minutes later, but openware missed the target entirely from about 12 yards out. I couldn’t even attempt a shot.
It happened just before the end of a good combination play between Weah, Musah and McKennie, causing Musah to dribble and cause problems.
Excluding Weah’s goal, which was disallowed for offside, there were six different moments in the first half alone, in which the United States were optimally placed to attack, but either a poor choice, a poor execution, or a combination of the two resulted in a I couldn’t take advantage of it.
No team can finish off every solid offensive move, but if they were a little more efficient against Iran, the US could have had a night of less anxiety.
If they want to win by knockout, they need to be more sober.
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(Photo above: Doug Zimmerman/ISI Photos/Getty Images)