The U.S. Men’s National Team’s star midfielder Christian Pulisic has been cleared to play in the team’s Round of 16 World Cup match against the Netherlands, officials announced.
Pulisic has been recovering from the pelvic contusion he suffered during the game against Iran on Tuesday. He collided with Iran’s goalkeeper as he scored the only goal of the game.
Initially, Pulisic’s condition was described as an abdominal injury.
Pulisic revealed Thursday that he had suffered a “pelvic contusion” and vowed to do everything he possibly could to be ready to play on Saturday.
“I’m going to go meet now with the team medical staff and make a decision on [training] today, just kind of see how I’m feeling, taking it day by day,” Pulisic said during a Thursday news conference. “Right now, I’m doing everything in my power to be able to be out there on the field on Saturday.”
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Pulisic’s head coach, Gregg Berhalter, told reporters earlier on Friday that Pulisic had a good chance to play in the knockout stage match.
“We’re going to see him on the training field today [Friday]. What I think [is] it looks pretty good, so we’ll have to see him today on the pitch to get confirmation of that,” Berhalter said.
Berhalter mentioned that forward Josh Sargent likely will not be able to play on Saturday. He exited the Iran game in the 77th minute.
Sargent is suffering from right ankle soreness, according to a US Soccer Federation spokesperson.
“He’s another one we’re going to test in training,” Berhalter said during a media session when he spoke about Sargent. “Let’s see where he’s at. I think with Christian, we’re hopeful. I think with [Sargent], a little less so.”
If the USMNT defeats the Netherlands on Saturday, the team will advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002.
Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal admitted that he had not paid the U.S. team much attention prior to the World Cup, but he noted that had seen the USA-Wales match and acknowledged how well the USMNT has played in the tournament.
“USA has demonstrated that it has an excellent team,” said Van Gaal, speaking in Dutch and translated through a FIFA interpreter. “I would even say one of the best teams, a team that is fine-tuned, and it’s going to be a very tough match. But it’s nothing we can’t overcome. I mean, we also have a good team. We’ll have to wait and see in this match which of the two squads is the best.”
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