As the USA national team bid to reach the last eight at the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 20 years, Christian Pulisic has been discussing the strong bond within the dressing room and his desire to create more special memories in Qatar.
The Chelsea forward netted a match-winning goal for his side in their group finale against Iran but sustained a heavy knock in the process which has risked him being unavailable for today’s last-16 clash with the Netherlands.
However, USA manager Gregg Berhalter has reported that the situation is ‘looking pretty good’ and Pulisic himself stated his determination to be on the pitch before taking part in team training on Friday.
The pelvic injury even required a visit to hospital so the 24-year-old missed the final stages of the game and had to watch on a phone as USA’s place in the knockout stage was confirmed.
‘It was a crazy experience for me,’ he explained. ‘Obviously the emotions were running so high so I was doing everything I could to continue playing.
‘It’s a bit of a blur but once I was told I was being taken to the hospital to get looked at, I was able to follow the game with the guy who was with me on his phone.
‘It was the hardest thing. They were checking my blood sugar levels and stuff, which were going through the roof but it wasn’t because of anything other than me being stressed watching the game! Once I got through that and the final whistle blew, I was obviously very happy.’
Pulisic’s first World Cup goal was a significant one for the team and a special moment for him personally, setting up a last-16 tie against the Netherlands which will be played at the Khalifa International Stadium and kick off the knockout round.
There is no doubt that the USA will need another inspired performance from their talisman to down the Dutch but Pulisic believes there is plenty of quality and togetherness in the squad.
‘I’m really happy with the team spirit, what this team has shown and the way we’ve fought through all the challenges that we’ve seen,’ he added. ‘To get out of the group is an unbelievable accomplishment.
‘As far as myself, I’m happy with the performances. To score a goal and help the team in any way I can is what I’m here to do. I want to make big plays and do what I can to help this team but by no means do I want that to be the only thing that I look back on from this tournament.
‘There’s still a lot ahead of this team and myself. It feels great to score in a World Cup and it feels great to be where we’re at right now but there’s still more to come.’