USMNT trains for the last time before win-or-go-home World Cup clash against Iran, as Gregg Berhalter and his young roster search for first win in Qatar
The USMNT has trained for the final time ahead of its Group B decider against Iran on Tuesday that will see the loser head home and the winner advance to the knockout stages of the World Cup.
The Stars and Stripes will be desperate to get a first win in Qatar, following two consecutive draws, first against Wales (1-1) before keeping a clean sheet against old rivals England (0-0).
US head coach Gregg Berhalter, who faced a barrage of politically-charged questions from reporters Monday, described the match as his team’s ‘first knockout game’ of the World Cup and was wary of the threat posed by Iran after their second-half performance against Wales in a 2-0 win.
The US trained one last time as a unit before playing Iran Tuesday in a win-or-go-home game
The team’s attacking players were put through their paces on the eve of the final Group B game
US forward Jordan Morris looked upbeat as he and a member of the coaching staff high five
Captain Tyler Adams, winger Christian Pulisic, No. 1 Matt Turner and right-back Sergino Dest were all fully focused during the team’s last practice on Monday from QSL club Al Gharafa SC’s training base.
As things stand, England leads Group B with four points, followed by Iran with three, the US with two and Wales with one.
‘We know exactly what Iran are going to bring, and we don’t want to make the same mistakes as we did in the past,’ US head coach Gregg Berhalter told reporters on Monday, referring to the 1998 World Cup fixture between the two sides, when Iran won 2-1.
US coach Gregg Berhalter has referred to Tuesday’s fixture as his team’s ‘first knockout game’
USA’s forward Christian Pulisic took part in the team’s last training session at Al Gharrafa SC
USMNT starting goalkeeper Matt Turner will be hoping for another shutout on Tuesday
‘We want to learn from that and be able to put it into performance.’
The Star and Stripes will be counting on its young legs to ensure a longer stay in Qatar with the team being the second-youngest one at the tournament with an average age of 25.2 years old.
Ghana leads the ranking with their players averaging an age of 24.7 years old. Iran, on the other hand, is the oldest team at the World Cup with an average age of 28.9 years old.
US right back Sergino Dest took part in shooting drills on Monday while teammates looked on
Weston McKennie (left) and Brenden Aaronson (right) will both hope to start against Iran
Ahead of Tuesday’s clash, Iran coach Carlos Queiroz praised growth in the US team, saying this World Cup showed ‘they jumped from soccer to football.’
He coached Major League Soccer’s MetroStars in 1996 and served as a USSF adviser in 1998, writing a player development blueprint aimed at winning a World Cup by 2010.
‘When it was time to dress, (there) was a box of in front of us, (Roberto) Donadoni and Tab Ramos, we need to jump on the boxes to choose the best socks and the best trousers and the best shirt because everything was in one pile,’ Queiroz said.
‘I’m sure that these Americans that play tomorrow, they don’t know nothing about that.’