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USMNT reflects World Cup performance

USMNT reflects World Cup performance

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RAYYAN, Qatar — How American football players took their grief and their hope and left this World Cup on Saturday nightthey passed through the mixed zone, a strange and familiar maze of padded barricades and ad-rich walls at global sporting events where athletes sometimes stop in front of crowds of reporters and share insights or lack of insights into what just happened.

The Americans stopped, one by one, and unconsciously formed a kind of staccato chorus that spoke of their pain in their 3-1 win over the Netherlandstheir feeling that they could have done more and their feeling that they could do more.

They offered a bit of what I learned at the World Cup, as well as when goalkeeper Matt Turner said, “The biggest thing is that the margins of success or failure in this tournament are paper thin,” or when the youngest captain at this World Cup, Tyler Adamssaid: “If there’s one thing this team is going to take away from him, it’s down to the sidelines,” or when veteran DeAndre Yedlin said, “The biggest thing is the group learned what it feels like to lose in the World Cup, and that goes a long way.” , or when Kristijan Pulisic said: “We don’t want to feel like this again.”

The USMNT’s World Cup hopes are dashed with a loss to the Netherlands

First up was Turner, 28, who began with, “The silence is deafening [in the locker room]; everyone is disappointed.” He told how the Dutch seemed to have “expectation” about the crosses that led to the first two goals, said it “came down to both frames” where they “finished their chances”, said it was an honor and said he hoped boys and girls would look up to and aspire to emulate each other.

“There is huge potential,” he said. “If you don’t see it, I don’t know. … The potential is clear.” He didn’t want it to “be our MO” and said: “It’s part of changing the expectations of our fans, changing the expectations of the players in the dressing room, not just feeling like we’ve won a trophy because we’ve gone past the last 16.”

Next came Adams, 23, who talked about those “margins” – they are, in fact, all over the 32-team tournament – and how the centre-backs “did really well” and how it wasn’t there in 2010 and 2014. when the United States came to the same moment, so he does not know, but this seems “special”.

Fixtures and knockout rounds of the World Cup

Walker Zimmerman, a 29-year-old center back, soon arrived. He analyzed the Dutch drilling of American airtightness which passed through group B but couldn’t hold on against Denzel Dumfries’ first-half cross. “That’s right,” he said, “you never know if it’s something they might have seen on tape. I mean, I’d have to go back to the group stage to see if those spaces are even open. Obviously, those chances in the group stage didn’t hurt us. Maybe it’s something they saw. Maybe it’s just the execution at that point, but again, certainly the second one, we have to be able to mentally stop that play.”

He summarized. “That’s what makes it the hardest,” he said, “just going out knowing how special this team is, how hard we’ve worked.” He thought they came in with the goal of winning the whole thing and “showed we can compete with anybody “, and ran off a list of promising attributes including “the youth of the team,” “the bond,” “the love we have for each other.” He said this World Cup was “something that a lot of American fans can look at and be proud of – the way we played, the way we worked. So I think we’ll come back hungrier than ever, a lot of guys in all that we considered the best, we’ve got a lot of guys coming through the pipeline that I think can contribute. So it’s an exciting time to be a football fan, and I just wish that the legacy — that’s what hurts because we thought this was a group that could do something no American team has ever done.”

USMNT’s Walker Zimmerman is a very good soccer player. Maybe he’s a better teammate.

Andries Noppert stopped by. He’s not American but Dutch, and a goalkeeper, so he took a few questions and interjected with this: “They’re going like crazy, like hell. They work together. They don’t give up.”

Yunus Musah, who was somehow only 20 years old, came up short but said: “The team we are, we could have done a lot better.

Brenden Aaronson, 22, was a little less curt, saying: “Sad and full of emotion. It’s just hard.” And, “I mean, listen – we had just as many chances as they did.”

On December 3, the Dutch won the game 3-1, eliminating the Americans from the World Cup. (Video: The Washington Post)

Antonee Robinson, still only 25, walked over and said of the two early goals, “I don’t know. I can not tell you. Maybe they separated our team a little bit in terms of positioning.” He said he hopes coach Gregg Berhalter stays and said, “He’s given a lot of guys a chance to develop with this group. You look at the whole campaign and almost everyone was playing their first World Cup.”

He said he felt “like I gave everything I could have” and that “A lot of these players can be together for years and years.”

Brewer: Don’t look at the USMNT loss as the end. It’s a payment for the future.

In came Weston McKennie, 24, who proactively defended Pulisic for his third-minute miss: “For anyone who can try in the future, ‘Oh, if Christian had scored that,’ we’ve all seen the things he’s done for USA Soccer. We all know that there is a collective here. We all try to support each other.”

He said of the “common goal four years ago” after missing the previous World Cup, and said: “This tournament has really brought back a lot of belief, a lot of respect. We showed that we can be giants. We may not be there yet, but we are definitely on our way.”

“There was plenty in the tank,” he began when asked about fatigue.

“It’s going to hurt for a while,” he said of the early miss.

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

He said the Dutch seemed to have two real chances early on, but also two real goals. “I felt like we were down 2-0, but it didn’t feel like it was supposed to be. That’s what good teams do, they punish you.”

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

“It’s a whole different story now,” he said. “They know that feeling of losing after putting so much into it.”

Tim Ream, USMNT’s ‘grandfather’ at 35, never gave up on his World Cup dream

Finally came Tim Ream, 35-year-old defender. The evening, the World Cup and his career in the USA waned, on the night when, as he recounted from so much experience: “Sometimes, you know, good players jump you. They expected. Those two players [Dumfries and Memphis], were a little faster. That’s probably something they’ve been working on.”

“Yeah,” he said, “I mean, I tried to convey to the guys: You’re never guaranteed anything in this game. I have been in the program for 12 years, I have never guaranteed anything. Many of these guys are guaranteed another World Cup. For me, that’s not going to happen. … I gave it my all and I hope these guys take that advice. I’ve seen them take that advice in the three weeks we’ve been together, so I hope they continue to do that.”

That concludes the mixed zone for the night.

World Cup in Qatar

Latest: The knockout phase continued on World Championship on Saturday when Argentina defeated Australia, 2-1, in the Round of 16. Argentina, with world star Lionel Messi in what is likely to be his last World Cup, are among the favorites to win the tournament and managed to finish top of Group C and still advance to the quarter-finals a shocking loss for Saudi Arabia in his first game.

USMNT: US men’s national team fell to the Netherlands 3-1, on Saturday in the opening match of the round of 16. The Netherlands, winners of Group A, finished the group stage unbeaten, conceding just one goal. His winning streak continues, while America’s streak is over.

Knockout round schedule: A World Cup group stage filled with shocking twists and dramatic reversals will now give way to a a knockout round that promises more surprises.

Today’s World View: Ishaan Tharoor, foreign columnist of The Post, notes his week at the World Cup in Qatar.



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