Christian Pulisic became an American soccer icon Tuesday when his first-half goal against Iran helped lead the US into the World Cup knockout stage; but it came with a brutal price.
Pulisic suffered an injury on the play when he collided directly with goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand. He was not on the field for the second half of the game and was taken to hospital with what was called an abdominal injury at the time.
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The United States Soccer Federation said Pulisic was diagnosed with a pelvic concussion and was back at the team hotel. A video posted to social media showed him arriving at the team hotel and celebrating with the rest of the team.
He appeared on the day-to-day list as the US prepares to face the Netherlands in the Round of 16. A SnapChat image appeared to show Pulisic in a hospital bed with a message of commitment for Saturday’s game.
“So fucking proud of my boys,” the message read. “I’ll be ready on Saturday, don’t worry.”
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Pulisic was part of the unit that failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Now, the 24-year-old is an American football hero. Tim Weah put it simply: “We love you and we thank you.”
“It’s huge. To go back to it without qualifying for the last World Cup, and then to be here and qualify, that’s just a work of God. God bless him.” Weah added. “I love him and he is very important to this team. He is a key player and a leader, someone we definitely need.”
Iran had several chances to tie the game, and a draw would have eliminated the US and sent Iran to the next round.
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“I think in the first half we showed what we can do in terms of football. We had a very good first half. In the second half, we showed what we can do in terms of determination,” said coach Gregg Berhalter. “The guys ground and gave every ounce of energy, and we’re unbeaten going into the next round.”
Ryan Morik of Fox News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.