United States talisman Christian Pulisic has said he is still haunted by the memory of a chance he missed against Netherlands in their World Cup round-of-16 clash.
Gregg Berhalter’s side crashed out of the tournament in Qatar after a 3-1 loss to the Dutch, but Pulisic had an opportunity to put them ahead in the third minute.
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The Chelsea forward’s shot was saved by Andries Noppert when he was one-on-one with the Netherlands keeper, and he has now opened up for the first time about the lasting effects of that miss.
« Had I finished that chance, the game goes differently, » Pulisic said on US teammate Tim Ream’s « Indirect » podcast.
« I would love that back. I still think about it. It’s a learning experience. I think there’s a reason why it didn’t go in, things happened the way it did. It all happens for a reason. »
Memphis Depay opened the scoring for Netherlands in the 10th minute before Daley Blind added a second just before half-time. Haji Wright pulled one back for the US late on but Denzel Dumfries’ 81st-minute finish sent them home.
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Pulisic, 24, scored in a 1-0 win against Iran in the group stage which secured the US team’s qualification for the knockout rounds, while they also held Wales and England to 1-1 and 0-0 draws in Qatar.
Pulisic said this year’s World Cup would prove to be a formative experience for the side ahead of the 2026 tournament, which will be hosted by the US, Mexico and Canada.
« I think my most significant takeaway would just be the experience that a lot of this team now has under their belt, » Pulisic added.
« Coming back here with my Chelsea teammates, for example, they’re all talking about like, ‘You guys actually have a good team. We didn’t know. You guys looked good, you guys looked good against England, you guys have a strong team.’
« I knew we had a strong team, and once everyone kind of came together, you could see that. And also now with the World Cup in the States next time around, I think these experiences are so important. »