Four teams have now qualified for the Round of 16 in the FIFA World Cup. England has earmarked a date with Senegal after topping Group B while the USA fought hard against Iran and ultimately emerged victorious to set up a feisty encounter with Group A toppers, the Netherlands.
The Three Lions registered an easy victory over Wales in their last group-stage encounter, but US’s victory over Iran came at a cost.
This due wasn’t paid by the entire team but by one man, their starting forward, Christian Pulisic.
In the 38th minute, USA’s midfield engine, Weston McKennie, played a long ball from the middle of the pitch into the right flank of the opposition box. The ball was received by the fullback, Serginio Dest, who headed it into the path of Pulisic.
The number 10 outpaced the two defenders on either side and netted the ball past the Iranian goalkeeper to give the USA an indomitable lead.
Every single USA player on the pitch rushed towards Pulisic to celebrate with him, but the 24-year-old forward was lying on the ground, holding his groin.
What appeared to be a hit on the stomach by Iranian goalkeeper, Alireza Beiranvand, turned out to be a hit on Pulisic’s testicles.
The American was withering in pain but completed the first half of the game after receiving treatment. However, the pain was unbearable and Pulisic was substituted in the 46th minute.
His decisive goal fired the USA to the knockout stage of the competition, and Pulisic’s sacrificial heroics were hailed as one of the defining moments of the match. It didn’t take long for the football netizens to take notice of Pulisic’s selfless actions.
The Chelsea player was touted as someone who would sacrifice his ‘balls’ to serve his country, hence bringing to life the age-old saying, ‘I would give my nut to play for my country.’
His act was termed a ‘patriot act’ by the fans who now have no doubts that Pulisic is the true Captain America of their generation.
Pulisic’s dedication was unmatched on the pitch who will just be ready in time to face the Dutch.
But for now, Football Twitter has some words of praise and moments of humour for the man who sacrificed his balls to score for his country.