The USA was eliminated from the World Cup, losing to the Netherlands 3-1

The USA was eliminated from the World Cup, losing to the Netherlands 3-1

AL RAJAN, Qatar (AP) – Kristijan Pulisic covered his face as he left. Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Kellyn Acosta gathered in a group hug. Tim Weah, DeAndre Yedlin and Sean Johnson sat on the court in a small circle with their cleats off.

“It hurts after such a heavy defeat when we feel we could have had more,” Pulisic said, his voice barely above a whisper. “We don’t want to feel this way again.”

Return of the United States to World Championship ended with a 3-1 loss to the Netherlands in the Round of 16 on Saturday. While the Oranje extended their unbeaten streak to 19 games and advanced to the quarter-finals with ArgentinaAmericans reflected on how far they had come and how short they had fallen.

Defensive lapses gave the Dutch a treat as Memphis Depay scored in the 10th minute and Daley Blind scored in first-half stoppage time.

USA hope was revived when Pulisic’s cross hit the trailing leg of second-half substitute Haji Wright and bounced past goalkeeper Andries Noppert into the net in the 76th minute. But Denzel Dumfries, named after actor Denzel Washington, scored on a volley in the 81st after assisting the first two goals.

“The American public should be optimistic,” said Gregg Berhalter, the first person to play and coach the US national team in the World Cup. “When you look at the way we wanted to play and played, it should be a positive.”

The USA has not reached the quarterfinals since 2002 and was eliminated in the first knockout round, as well as in 2010 and 2014.

Following America’s failure to qualify for 2018, Yedlin was the only underdog on the list who was the second youngest at the tournament, averaging just over 25 years.

“Now they know that feeling of losing after putting so much into it,” said the 29-year-old defender, “and the feeling of defeat in the past can only fuel future success.”

The USA are winless in 12 games against European opposition at the World Cup since 2002, and have won once and lost seven in the knockout rounds since the tournament began in 1930.

“This tournament really brought back a lot of belief, brought back a lot of respect for American football and football in our country,” McKennie said. “I think we showed that we can be giants in the end. We may not be there yet, but I think we’re definitely on our way.”

In front of a crowd of 44,846 at the renovated Khalifa International Stadium, Pulisic had a chance to give the USA the lead in the third minute. McKennie made a poor clearance in the penalty area, but Noppert blocked his shot with his left thigh.

“I thought I was offside when it happened, but I still shot and he made a good save,” Pulisic said.

The Dutch went ahead when Cody Gakpo played the ball to Dumfries on the right flank. Depay sprinted into the penalty area after Adams failed to follow him, and Dumfries one-timed the ball which Depay deflected into Matt Turner’s far post for the first goal against the USA during a tournament game.

Blind scored in the first minute of stoppage time. After the throw-in, Dumfries won a cross around Adams and Blind beat Sergin Desta from the penalty spot late on for his first international goal in eight years.

Wright entered the 67th and scored his second international goal with an unusual touch from three yards, raising American hopes. But Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson left Dumfries unmarked and he headed home Blind’s six-yard cross for his sixth goal.

“When you play a team of that quality and you give them three, four chances, they will give three or four away,” Adams said. “We can show that we can hang with some of the best teams in the world, some of the best players in the world, and that’s a big step forward for American soccer.”

The players initially did not want to leave the field, wanting more time together.

“Just taking in and thinking about the journey,” Yedlin said. “I just thank the Earth. After every practice and game we try to do something called grounding. It just helps set the perspective for what’s to come, good or bad.”

Others absorbed the defeat without a word.

“Just looking around that locker room, the silence is deafening,” Turner said. “We all want to create moments for people at home to fall in love with the game and tonight, unfortunately, was not one of those nights.”


Depay has taken over second place on the Dutch career goalscoring list with 43 goals, trailing only Robin van Persie’s 50.


The Americans begin the 2026 cycle with a game against Serbia on January 25 in Los Angeles.


AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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