USMNT reflects on World Cup performance


RAYYAN, Qatar — As American football players took their sadness and hope with them and walked away from this World Cup on Saturday night, they passed through the mixed-use zone, a maze of strange and familiar faces. padded fences and advertising walls at global sporting events where athletes sometimes stop in front of crowds of reporters and share insights or misunderstandings about what just happened .

The Americans stopped, one by one, and inadvertently built up a sort of staccato chorus that told of their pain in the 3-1 loss to the Netherlands, their feeling that they could have done more, and their sense of belonging. feel that they can do more.

They give a little bit of What I’ve learned at the World Cup, like when goalkeeper Matt Turner said, “The most important thing is that the line between success or failure in this tournament is as thin as a piece of paper,” or when the young captain At this World Cup, Tyler Adams, said, “If there’s anything this team is going to take away from it, it’s not worth it,” or as veteran DeAndre Yedlin said, “It’s important. especially the group learned what it feels like to lose in a match. World Cup, and it’s a long way,” or as Christian Pulisic says, “We don’t want to feel like this again.”

USMNT’s hopeful World Cup went up in smoke with a loss to the Netherlands

The first is Turner, 28, who begins: “The silence is jarring [in the locker room]; Everyone is disappointed.” He said the Dutch appeared to have “expectations” for the crosses that destroyed the first two goals, saying it “came from both boxes” where “they took their chances” , said it was an honor and said he hoped boys and girls would watch and yearn to emulate.

“There is huge potential,” he said. “If you don’t see that, I don’t know. … The potential is clear.” He doesn’t want that to “become our MO,” and says, “It’s part of changing fan expectations, changing player expectations in the dressing room, not just It feels like we’ve won a trophy because we’ve made it to the last 16.”

Next up was Adams, 23, who talked about those “margins” – in fact they were everywhere in the 32-team event – and how the centre-backs “did so well” and how he didn’t. was present in 2010 and 2014 when the US also reached a similar point so he doesn’t know, but this feels “special”.

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World Cup standings and knockout fixtures

Right after that is Walker Zimmerman, a 29-year-old midfielder. He analyzed the Dutch conceding the US had passed Group B but could not withstand the crosses in the first half of Denzel Dumfries. “Yes,” he said, “you never know if it’s something they can see on the ice. I mean, I have to go back to the group stage to see if those gaps are still available. Obviously we weren’t hurt by those chances in the group stage. Maybe it was something they saw. Maybe it was just a performance in that moment, but again, certainly that second time, we have to be able to stop that game from happening in mind.

He summarizes. “That’s what makes it the most difficult,” he said, “just to know how special this team is, how hard we’ve worked.” He thinks they came in with the goal of taking it all and “showing that we can compete with anyone” and presented a list of promising attributes, including “the youth team of the team.” , “cohesion”, “the love we have for each other.” He said this World Cup is “something that many American fans can look at and be proud of – the way we play, the way we do our job. So I think we’ll be back hungrier than ever, many of whom we consider to be their leader. We have a lot of people coming up that I think could contribute. So it’s been an exciting time being an American football fan, and I just wish that legacy – it’s what breaks our hearts to think this is a group that can do that. No American team has ever done it.”

USMNT’s Walker Zimmerman is a very good football player. He could be a better teammate.

Andries Noppert appeared. He is not American but Dutch and a goalkeeper, and he asked some questions and added this: “They are going crazy like crazy, like hell. They are working together. They don’t give up.”

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Yunus Musah is, somehow, only 20 years old, succinct but says: “Our team, we could have done much better.”

Brenden Aaronson, 22, was a bit less terse and said: “Sad and a lot of emotions. It is just difficult. And, “I mean, listen – we have as many opportunities as they do.”

The Dutch won the match 3-1 on December 3, knocking the Americans out of the World Cup. (Video: The Washington Post)

Antonee Robinson, just 25, walked over and said of the two early goals: “I don’t know. Can’t tell you. Maybe they split our team up a bit, in terms of positioning.” He said he hopes Coach Gregg Berhalter stays and said: “He has given a lot of boys the opportunity to grow with this team. You look at the entire campaign, and most people played their first World Cup.”

He said he felt “like I gave everything I could” and that “a lot of these players could be together for years to come now.”

Brewer: Don’t take the failure of the USMNT as the end. It is a down payment in the future.

Here’s Weston McKennie, 24, who took the initiative to defend Pulisic for his miss in the third minute: “For anyone who might try in the future, ‘Oh, if Christian had scored like so’, we’ve all seen what he’s done for USA football. We all know it’s a collective here. We all try to support each other.”

He spoke of “a common goal four years ago” after the US missed the previous World Cup and said: “This tournament has really restored a lot of trust, a lot of respect. We have shown that we can be giants. We may not be there yet, but we are definitely on the way.”

“There’s a lot in the tank,” he began with a grumpy question about fatigue.

“It will hurt for a while,” he said of the early miss.

“We’ve definitely come a long way,” he said.

He said that the Netherlands seemed to have two real chances soon but also two real goals. “It felt like we lost 2-0, but it wasn’t. That’s what good teams do. They punish you.”

Yedlin, 29, the only player left from Brazil 2014, stopped and said: “I mean I think we gave a lot of people hope. People see the talent of this team, they are very excited. The close friendship of the group is interesting.”

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“It’s a whole different story now,” he said. “They know what it feels like to lose after putting so much into it.”

Tim Ream, the ‘grandfather’ of USMNT at the age of 35, has never given up on his dream of the World Cup

Finally, Tim Ream, 35-year-old defender. That evening, the World Cup and his American career waned on a night that, as he recounts from a lot of experience: “Sometimes, you know, the good players get ahead of you. . They foresaw. Those two players [Dumfries and Memphis], they were a little faster. It was probably something they were working on.

“Yes,” he said, “I mean, I was trying to convey to everyone: You can never be guaranteed anything in this game. I’ve been on the show for 12 years, never been guaranteed anything. Many of these are guaranteed another World Cup. For me, that’s not going to happen. … I gave it everything, and I hope these people heed that advice. I’ve seen them take that advice in the three weeks we’ve been together, so I hope they continue to do so.”

With that, the mixed zone ends in the night.

Qatar World Cup

Latest: The knockout round continues at the World Cup on Saturday with Argentina beating Australia, 2-1, in the round of 16. Argentina, which features global star Lionel Messi in what is perhaps his last World Cup, is one of the contenders to win the tournament and has secured the top spot of Group C and progress. into the quarterfinals despite a shocking loss to Saudi Arabia in the first match.

USMNT: The United States men’s national team lost to the Netherlands 3-1 on Saturday in the opening match of the round of 16. The Netherlands, the winners of Group A, finished the group stage without losing, conceding only a single goal. Its winning streak continues, while the US run has come to an end.

Schedule for the knockout round: A World Cup group stage full of shocking and dramatic comebacks will now give way to a knockout stage that promises many surprises.

World view today: Ishaan Tharoor, The Post’s foreign desk columnist, chronicles his week at the World Cup in Qatar.


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