World Cup Tuesday recap: USMNT reaches knockout stage with gutsy win vs. Iran

The United States men's national team moved on to the knockout stage of the 2022 World Cup with a 1-0 victory over Iran on Tuesday in Qatar.

Christian Pulisic scored in the 38th minute for the Americans, who bunkered down in the second half and defended furiously as Iran pushed for a tying goal.

The U.S., which finished runner-up in Group B with five points, will face the Netherlands in the Round of 16 on Saturday. Group winner England, which defeated Wales 3-0, will play Senegal in the knockout round.

Earlier in the day, the Netherlands defeated Qatar, who was already eliminated, to take the top spot in Group A . Ecuador equalized in the second half against Senegal, needing only a draw to advance, but Senegal captain Kalidou Koulibaly quickly recaptured the lead. Senegal advances as the first African nation to make it to the Round of 16 this year.

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Christian Pulisic scores the opening goal against Iran.
Christian Pulisic scores the opening goal against Iran.

FINAL: USMNT advances to World Cup knockout stage with 1-0 win vs. Iran

The United States defended furiously in the second half to hang on for a 1-0 victory on Tuesday, securing passage to the next round of the 2022 World Cup.Christian Pulisic’s 38th-minute goal was the difference, but the U.S. star was subbed off at halftime after suffering an abdominal injury on the play.

The Americans advance by finishing runner-up in Group B and will play the Netherlands on Saturday in the Round of 16.

England defeated Wales 3-0  to finish atop the group and will face Senegal in the knockout round.

USMNT holding on in second half vs. Iran

Through 70 minutes, the United States still holds a 1-0 lead over Iran, a result that would put the Americans through to the knockout stage in this World Cup.

Kellyn Acosta replaced Weston McKennie as a substitute in the 65th minute. Yunus Musah went for goal on a free kick from a dangerous position, but his shot went well over.

England is up 3-0 on Wales with Marcus Rashford scoring his second of the night. They'll face Senegal in the Round of 16 on Saturday.

Christian Pulisic subbed off as second half starts; England up 2-0 on Wales

Gregg Berhalter said that Christian Pulisic suffered an abdominal injury and the USMNT manager made a change at halftime, replacing Pulisic with Brenden Aaronson.

In the other Group B game, Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden scored in a span of two minutes to give England a 2-0 lead over Wales. If that result holds, a draw would be enough for Iran to advance.

HALFTIME: USMNT 1, Iran 0 – Americans halfway to the knockout stage

Christian Pulisic’s goal in the 38th minute gave the United States the lead in their must-win game vs. Iran and the team is 45 minutes from advancing to the World Cup knockout stage.

Pulisic was shaken up after his collision with Iran’s goalkeeper on the play and the American star was sidelined for several minutes as he regrouped. He settled back into the game, but the halftime break comes at the perfect time.

Tim Weah had a goal called off with the offsides flag up in first-half stoppage time, a call that was upheld by video review.

In the other Group B game, England and Wales are tied 0-0, a result that would see England through to the next round.

Goal! Christian Pulisic gives 1-0 lead

Needing a win to advance, the USMNT's main man Christian Pulisic scored in the 38th minute, tapping home a bouncing cross from Sergino Dest to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead.

In the process of scoring, Pulisic collided with Iran's goalkeeper and remained on the ground in the goal for several minutes to receive treatment. He was helped off the field and stayed with trainers on the sideline with the U.S. playing down a man, but Pulisic came back on the field a few minutes after that.

USMNT gets early chances against Iran, scoreless through 15 

The USMNT looked dangerous in attack throughout the first 15 minutes with Christian Pulisic having a header saved by Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand. Yunus Musah also had a good look at goal for the Americans, but skied a left-footed shot way over the bar.

USMNT vs. Iran starting lineups

Forward Josh Sargent returns to the starting lineup. Meanwhile Cameron Carter-Vickers gets his first start of the tournament, pairing with center back Tim Ream.

Protests, not politics, are center stage for this Iran-US game at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar — The sides were clear the last time Iran and the United States played in a World Cup.

It was 1998, 20 years after the overthrow of the U.S.-backed government in Iran, and America was still the “Great Satan.” To beat the USMNT was to strike a blow for national pride, and if there were any conflicted feelings over whether Team Melli represented the people of Iran or was a tool of its theocratic government, they could be left for another day.

Now the United States is almost a bystander in the political overtones surrounding Tuesday’s game, the protests that have inflamed Iran engulfing the team at the World Cup.

“It’s going to be a lot less about US-Iran tensions and more about Iran-Iran tensions,” said Kristin Diwan, a senior scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, D.C.

— Nancy Armour 

The other Group B matchup

England and Wales face off in the other Group B matchup. Wales is not technically eliminated from the knockout round just yet, but they will need a win and help from the USA-Iran game.

Scenes from Al Thumama Stadium for USMNT vs. Iran

DOHA, Qatar — Despite the heavy security presence, the atmosphere outside Al Thumama before the game was jovial. U.S. and Iranian fans posed for photos together, people carried flags of both teams and some fans had shirts featuring both flags. A few Iran fans had shirts from 1998, when Team Melli beat the United States at the World Cup in France.

Inside the stadium, with an hour still before the game, Iranian fans were blowing horns and singing. Their team has never advanced past the group stage, and they're hoping that changes tonight.

— Nancy Armour 

How USMNT can advance at 2022 World Cup?

After two games at the World Cup, the USMNT hasn’t lost, and as such has kept themselves in the frame to advance from Group B. Sure, it feels like they left points on the board against both Wales and England, but by not losing, the door is still wide open for the USMNT to get into the knockout stage, which is an altogether pretty good scenario.

FINAL: Netherlands tops Group A, Senegal takes second after beating Ecuador

By advancing, the Netherlands will face the runner-up from Group B, which may well be the U.S. men’s national team or Iran (who play later on Tuesday). Senegal, meanwhile, will face Group A’s top side, which could technically be any of the four teams in the quartet.

Jason Anderson, Pro Soccer Wire

Senegal advances to Round of 16, wins 2-1 over Ecuador

Without star Sadio Mane during the group stage, the winning goal came from captain Koulibaly with his first international tally. The match came down to the wire as Ecuador only needed a tie to advance.

Senegal is the first African nation to advance this year. No country from the continent did so in 2018. Final Group A standings:

  • Netherlands: 7 pts, 4 GD

  • Senegal: 6 pts, 1 GD

  • Ecuador: 4 pts, 1 GD

  • Qatar (eliminated): 0 pts, -6 GD

Netherlands win Group A, defeats Qatar 2-0

GOAL(S)! Ecuador scores, Senegal quickly regains lead, 2-1

Things got a little more interesting. Ecuador had just equalized on a corner from Felix Torres, hit in by Moises Caicedo, but Senegal quickly countered. Captain Kalidou Koulibaly redirects an attempted clearance from Ecuador to regain Senegal's lead. It's Koulibaly's first international goal.

Netherlands runaway slowed

The Dutch thought they had netted a third goal, extending their lead in Group A, but video review disallowed the goal citing a handball on Gakpo in the build-up

GOAL! Netherlands doubles its lead

Five minutes into the second half, Frenkie de Jong cleans up a blocked shot for his first World Cup goal.

HALFTIME: Ecuador needs a comeback to advance 

Winner of Group A faces runner-up of Group B. Runner-up in Group A faces winner of Group B. Group A as it stands at halftime:

  • Netherlands: 7 pts, 3 GD

  • Senegal: 6 pts, 1 GD

  • Ecuador: 4 pts, 1 GD

  • Qatar (eliminated): 0 pts, -5 GD

GOAL! Senegal converts penalty to take lead

Ismaila Sarr earned the penalty in the box, fouled by Piero Hincapie. Sarr converts the spot kick, improving Senegal's chances to advance in Group A. Ecuador, who could have advanced with a 0-0 draw, will need to adjust tactics.

Netherlands takes the lead vs. Qatar

It's the man of the hour, Cody Gakpo's goal gives Netherlands the 1-0 lead. He split two Qatari defenders to slot a low ball into the right corner. The 23-year-old has scored three goals in three games this World Cup.

Protestor waving rainbow flag interrupts Portugal vs. Uruguay match

For the first time during the 2022 World Cup, a person ran onto the pitch during a match, displaying various political stands on their shirt.

A spectator ran onto the field carrying a rainbow flag and wearing a blue shirt that read "SAVE UKRAINE" on the front and "RESPECT FOR IRANIAN WOMAN" on the back during the second half of Monday's match between Portugal and Uruguay in Lusail Stadium in Qatar.

Security officials chased the spectator, who eventually dropped the flag onto the field. The flag laid there for a few moments before a stadium staffer came by to collect it. The spectator was ushered off the field and through a tunnel. It wasn’t immediately clear if the person faced any charges or had been detained by police.

A pitch invader runs across the field with a rainbow flag during the World Cup group H soccer match between Portugal and Uruguay, at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A pitch invader runs across the field with a rainbow flag during the World Cup group H soccer match between Portugal and Uruguay, at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Senegal fans bring the vibes

Senegal had an early chance. Pape Gueye crossed a ball into the box. Idrissa Gueye got on the end of it, but the ball went wide.

In the stands, Senegal fans continue to bring the energetic vibes to their team.

Ecuador vs. Senegal lineups

After leaving the previous game against Netherlands with a knee injury, Ecuador's captain Enner Valencia returns, starting for his nation.

Netherlands vs. Qatar lineups

Memphis Depay makes his first starting appearance of the tournament. Netherlands needs a point to advance while Qatar is playing for pride with no chance of advancing to the knockout round.

Migrant workers were deceived and died for Qatar's World Cup. Thousands want compensation.

A Qatari official said Monday 400 to 500 migrant workers died while working on World Cup projects — a number significantly higher than the government’s previously stated three work-related deaths. But that estimate was quickly walked back, with World Cup organizers saying in a statement there were 414 work-related fatalities "covering all sectors and nationalities" nationwide between 2014-2020.

Even that is likely a fraction of the toll. Data compiled by The Guardian from workers’ home countries shows more than 6,500 workers died to make this tournament possible.

USA TODAY reporter Grace Hauck goes in-depth with stories from those who worked on the World Cup project in Qatar.

Activists protest against the World Cup, and called for a boycott in a demonstration outside the Qatar Embassy in Paris on Nov. 15, 2022. The protesters honored migrant workers who died during construction work for the tournament, and decried rights violations in Qatar. Qatar denies abuses.
Activists protest against the World Cup, and called for a boycott in a demonstration outside the Qatar Embassy in Paris on Nov. 15, 2022. The protesters honored migrant workers who died during construction work for the tournament, and decried rights violations in Qatar. Qatar denies abuses.

Don't miss a moment of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar!

Want to watch the U.S. men's national team's return, see what's likely Lionel Messi's last go with Argentina and Cristiano Ronaldo with Portugal or witness France's title-defense run? Add matches to your calendar and keep up to date with the latest tournament news.

Three keys to the USMNT defeating Iran 

The U.S. men know exactly what they have to do against Iran on Tuesday to advance to the knockout rounds of the World Cup.


The question is how. Iran coach Carlos Queiroz called the Americans “the most consistent” team in Group B, and “probably even the team that made the best two performances in the tournament in our group.” It’s a nice compliment, but it hasn’t gotten the USMNT much.

So how does the USMNT get the three points it will take to reach the round of 16? Here are three keys. 

  • Score goals

  • Be wary of Iran late

  • Don't fall for the gamesmanship

— Nancy Armour, Doha, Qatar

Netherlands vs. Qatar — 10 a.m.

The Netherlands is looking to secure a place to the knockout rounds against a team already eliminated. The Dutch won its first game against Senegal, but tied the following against Ecuador, preventing them from punching a ticket to the Round of 16 early.

The Netherlands are unbeaten in 17 matches and now face host-nation Qatar, playing for pride after scoring its first World Cup goal in a 3-1 loss to Senegal.

Time: Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 10 a.m. ET

Stadium: Al Bayt Stadium

How to watch: FOX and Telemundo or stream on fuboTV and Peacock (Spanish)

Ecuador vs. Senegal — 10 a.m.

Ecuador can win or tie against Senegal and advance, which is a positive for the team with star forward Enner Valencia's health in question.

Valencia scored all three of Ecuador's goals this tournament. The captain will need to overcome a knee injury that took him out of the game against the Netherlands.

Senegal, though, if a formidable opponent and must win to put themselves in the best position to advance. A draw would mean Senegal would rely on the Netherlands vs. Qatar result.

Time: Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 10 a.m. ET

Stadium: Khalifa International Stadium

How to watch: FS1 and Telemundo or stream on fuboTV and Peacock (Spanish)

England vs. Wales — 2 p.m.

While there's still a slim chance Wales could advance, England will be focused on securing the No. 1 spot in the group against a familiar foe.

"It's like any two countries whose borders are next to each other. There's a competitive rivalry," England coach Gareth Southgate said before the match. "For me, a great sporting rivalry. No more than that. That feeling might not be mutual."

England haven't lost to Wales since 1984, and Wales is competing in its first world cup in roughly 60 years. In order to move on the country, led by Gareth Bale, will need to beat England and hope for a USA-Iran draw.

Time: Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 1 p.m. ET

Stadium: Ahmed bin Ali Stadium

How to watch: FS1 and Telemundo or stream on fuboTV and Peacock (Spanish)

United States vs. Iran — 2 p.m.

The objective is simple. Win and you're in for the USMNT. But things aren't always as easy as they seem. Iran only needs a draw to advance to its first Round of 16, while anything less for the U.S. means the players will pack their bags.

Plenty has been said off the pitch ahead of this match about the squads, geopolitical issues and history between these teams, but it all comes down to the 22 players on the pitch.

Time: Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 2 p.m. ET

Stadium: Al Thumama Stadium

How to watch: FOX and Telemundo or stream on fuboTV and Peacock (Spanish)

THREE KEYS: How the USMNT can defeat Iran and advancing to the 2022 World Cup knockout stage

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: World Cup recap: USMNT advances to knockout stage with win vs. Iran