DOHA, Qatar — The scenario was simple even if the task at hand was not.
For the United States men’s national team, a win over Iran on Tuesday was needed to advance to the knockout stage of the 2022 World Cup. Anything less than that would result in the elimination of the team from the tournament in Qatar after three Group B matches.
Fans in Chicago were wired and ready to get rowdy ahead of the United States’ match against Iran, fully believing the U.S. would come out triumphant on the other side.
“U.S. seven-nothing,” said Drews Gossel, a U.S. soccer fan at the Globe in Irving Park. “Something easy, no stress.”
“I’m thinking maybe 3-0 U.S.,” said Ber Bertholt, another fan rooting for U.S. soccer.
Perhaps feeling a little bit of the same juice as their fans back home, the USMNT was up for the challenge on Tuesday at Al Thumama Stadium, as they defeated Iran 1-0 to advance to the Round of 16.
Christian Pulisic’s goal in the 38th minute of the first half is all the United States would need as their defense held up under a number of challenges from Iran in the second half as they sought an equalizer.
That goal would not come, as the USMNT advances to the knockout stage of the World Cup after finishing second in Group B. England won it after they finished with a 2-0-1 record in their three matches.
Now the United States will face the Netherlands in the Round of 16 on Saturday at 8 AM central time.
This marks the seventh time that the United States has advanced to the knockout stage of the men’s World Cup, doing so in their last three appearances in the tournament. They advanced out of the group stage in the 2010 and 2014 tournaments but lost in their Round of 16 matches.
Making the knockout round is especially satisfying for the USMNT since they missed the tournament completely in 2018. They finish the group stage with a 1-0-2 record, tying Wales (1-1) and England (0-0) before the critical victory over Iran on Tuesday.