‘I’ve got less hair on my head now!’: Gregg Berhalter jokes enduring NINE nervous minutes of added time left him BALD as his USA side held on for a narrow 1-0 win over Iran to make the last-16 of the World Cup in Qatar
Proud USA coach Gregg Berhalter paid tribute to his team after holding on to a slender 1-0 win over Iran to advance in the World Cup – but joked how the agonizing nine minutes of added time had taken its toll.
Chrisitan Pulisic’s first half goal was the difference and sends USA into a last-16 tie against Holland on Saturday in Qatar.
But there were nine minutes of added time at the end of the second time as Iran pushed for an equalizer that would have sent them through and knocked USA out.
‘I have less hair on my head now!’ Berhalter joked. ‘With this new injury time, I was counting every second. It’s stressful. But we’ll take it and battle Holland.
‘I feel proud. Proud. I think that the first half we showed what we can do, soccer-wise. We played a good first half.
‘Second half we showed what we can do determination-wise. The guys grinded, we’re undefeated going into the next round.’
Pulisic was hurt in scoring his 38th minute goal – after treatment he played the rest of the first half but was substituted off at halftime.
‘No update on the status,’ Berhalter said of his star man. ‘But I’ve been saying all along, it is a wonderful thing when one of your best players is one of the hardest working. I can’t say enough positive things about Christian.’
It’s the condition of Pulisic that will likely be the biggest cause of concern for Berhalter in the build-up to Saturday.
The 24-year-old Chelsea attacker was hurt after he sprinted to convert a headed pass across the Iran six-yard area by Sergino Dest,
As he met the ball, he collided with Iran keeper Beiranvand and stayed down for several minutes. He was unable to celebrate his goal – his first ever World Cup goal – and was eventually helped off to the side of the field by two medics from the USMNT.
He returned for the final five minutes of the first half but was unable to make it for the second. Brendan Aaronson replaced him as he went to a nearby hospital.