USMNT’s Christian Pulisic awaits World Cup moment

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Al Raine, Qatar — A childhood dream, unfettered and exciting, that took Christian Pulisic from the youth fields of central Pennsylvania to the perfect pitch for the World Cup. They offered him the vision to don the USA jersey, surrender his heart during the national anthem, and his teammates lined up neatly.

Fantasy then took him to the kickoff as a well-respected opponent and a chance to elevate American Soccer from mediocre major to threat.

Ripe with whimsy. Over the years, great achievements have been made in our field. This moment has arrived.

“I’ve played some big games. I’ve achieved a lot,” Pulisic said on Wednesday, five days before his expected World Cup debut. “I did a lot of things that I wanted to do, but the World Cup was the most important thing, it was something I grew up in Pennsylvania as a kid, 5 to 10 years old, and all I could think about was a World Cup, playing a game for Team USA. The World Cup. That’s just a dream of my life. I’m sure going into that moment will be special.”

America’s desire to make its mark in this game doesn’t entirely fall on Pulisic; he has a group of promising but inexperienced men around him. Still, he was the face of the franchise, the global spotlight and the cynical tactics of its opponents.

“I really don’t want to add comments that put more pressure on him because he knows what he can do,” said striker Gio Reyna, 20. “I know what he can do. The whole The team knows what he can do.”

Chelsea FC striker Christian Pulisic has not never played at the top level. He won the UEFA Champions League, the FIFA Club World Cup and the German Cup; he also played in three FA Cup finals. All in all, he made over 250 appearances for two prestigious European clubs.

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The Premier League, considered the best testing ground in the world, has been his home since the summer of 2019. He excelled in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund before moving to Chelsea in a US-record $73 million move.

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The World Cup, however, is a different beast, a quadrennial exam that draws viewers in the billions and captures the attention of the average American fan.

Pulisic was the young face of an experienced squad that failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, ending a span of seven consecutive appearances. While Pulisic was not the culprit, he carried with him pain, anger and the drive to ultimately atone for America’s failures.

His current teammates appreciate his drive and sense of responsibility to take the project to the next level. Employed by the London-based Premier League club, Pulisic and America’s likely starting goalkeeper Matt Turner have sat together on a number of occasions on assignments to and from the United States, including last weekend.

“We’re just talking a little [the expectations on Pulisic] Because I love getting to know people and what drives them,” said Turner, who joined Arsenal last summer from Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution. “He’s just excited. He’s happy to be here.He felt the last pain and heartbreak [qualifying campaign] Very personal, I know. So for him to be here now, he’s happy to be able to express himself and be on the world stage. “

They knew it even before Christian Pulisic’s story began

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Despite being the most famous American player – and the subject of marketing campaigns and TV commercials – Pulisic says there is no burden to expect.

“I’m very excited right now,” he told reporters after Wednesday’s practice. “It’s the pinnacle of a lot of people’s careers, representing their country at the World Cup. That’s what I’m here for. I’m going to do my best, represent the country and hopefully I can make everyone proud of where they come from. I can really do it. If I do it, I can walk home proud.”

US Men’s World Cup squad to face Wales, Iran and group favorites England in Qatar 2022 group stage (Video: Joshua Carroll/The Washington Post)

Pulisic entered the World Cup as a star player for his national team but started as a part-time starter at Chelsea. That status has not changed, even after a coaching change in September saw Graham Potter replace Thomas Tuchel.

Pulisic has started just three of 13 of his 14 Premier League appearances. His only goal came against Wolverhampton on 8 October. He started Chelsea’s Carling Cup appearances and started just once in four of their six Champions League group games.

Figure: A closer look at the USMNT

Still, Pulisic likes what Porter brings to the table, saying: “I’m most impressed by the way he works and communicates with the players. The reception from the guys has been great. Good things will come. occur.”

Despite not playing much, Pulisic said he is “feeling good right now”.

“I’ve actually been in really good form the last few weeks,” he said. “I’ve played some races and continued to work out there and prove myself there. Honestly, I feel really strong and ready to go into this thing.”

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US coach Gregg Berhalter would prefer Pulisic to play before the World Cup. Still, “we know the quality Christian brings,” he said.

For players heading to Qatar, playing time works both ways. With only a week between the suspension of the league and the start of the World Cup, players who regularly start for clubs are more likely to miss out through injury. Several standout players, including Chelsea team-mate N’Golo Kante, will miss out.

Pulisic escaped a scare in his final game before half-time on Saturday when a Newcastle player pinned him down. A regular for the United States, he will undoubtedly face the same challenge in Group B against Wales, England and Iran.

He said he didn’t realize the danger until he watched the video later.

“I saw a guy come up and try to kick me with both feet, and I was just thinking, ‘Wow, that would be terrible if he succeeded,'” Pulisic said. “What can you do? I’m playing the game. I’m passionate. I’m in the game. I’m going to win.”

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With the Premier League suspended, a childhood dream is getting closer.

“All these emotions, I guess you’re not ready,” Pulisic said. “It hits you all the time. It hits you, and you feel it. You feel the big moment coming every day. Lying in bed at night as the day approaches, you feel it a little more.”

The U.S. men’s national team will be one of the youngest teams at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and will feature many newcomers to the global tournament. (Video: Joshua Carroll/The Washington Post)

notes: Right-back Sergiño Dest had limited participation in Wednesday’s practice as team officials managed his workload. Before entering the AC Milan team, he was sidelined due to adductor fatigue. …

About 1,000 representatives from the US embassy and two US military bases in Qatar were invited by Berhalter to watch the exercise. Berhalter and midfielder Weston McKennie, the son of an American soldier, addressed the crowd.

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