Christian Pulisic became an American soccer icon on Tuesday when his first-half goal against Iran helped lift the U.S. to the knockout stage of the World Cup; but it came with a brutal price.
Pulisic suffered an injury on the play when he ran directly into goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand. He was not on the field for the second half of the match and was taken to the hospital with what was called an abdominal injury at the time.
Christian Pulisic, of the United States, clashes with Iran’s goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand after scoring USA’s opening goal during the World Cup Group B soccer match between Iran and the United States at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022.
(AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
The U.S. Soccer Federation said Pulisic was diagnosed with a pelvic contusion and was back at the team hotel. A video posted to social showed him arriving back at the team hotel and celebrating with the rest of the squad.
He was listed as day-to-day as the U.S. gets set to take on the Netherlands in the Round of 16. A picture from SnapChat appeared to show Pulisic in a hospital bed with a message of commitment for Saturday’s match.
“So f—ing proud of my guys,” the message read. “I’ll be ready Saturday don’t worry.”
Pulisic was part of the unit that failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Now, the 24-year-old is an American soccer hero. Tim Weah put it simply, “We love him, and we thank him.”
Christian Pulisic, of the United States, center, collides with Iran’s goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand, left, after scoring USA’s first goal during the World Cup group B soccer match between Iran and the United States at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022.
(AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
“He’s huge. Going back to him not qualifying for the last World Cup, and then being here and qualifying us through, that’s just a work of God. God bless him,” Weah added. “I love him, and he’s so important to this team. He’s a key player and a leader, so someone that we definitely need.”
Iran had several chances to tie the game, and a tie would have knocked the U.S. out and sent Iran to the next round.
Christian Pulisic, of the United States, is helped by team doctors after he scored USA’s opening goal during the World Cup Group B soccer match between Iran and the United States at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022.
(AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
“I think the first half we showed what we can do soccer-wise. Had a really good first half. Second half, we showed what we can do determination-wise,” coach Gregg Berhalter said. “The guys grinded and gave every single ounce of energy, and we’re undefeated going into the next round.”
Fox News’ Ryan Morik and the Associated Press contributed to this report.