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Pulisic on World Cup exit: “We don’t want to feel like this again”

Christian Pulisic will find the United States’ World Cup exit tough to get over, but the Chelsea forward sees a bright future for the team.

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Round of 16 - Netherlands v United States - Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar - December 3, 2022 Christian Pulisic and Kellyn Acosta of the U.S. look dejected after the match as United States are eliminated from the World Cup REUTERS/Dylan Martinez     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The USMNT must be proud of their efforts at the Qatar World Cup but Christian Pulisic insisted the team doesn’t want to go though the disappointment of being eliminated in the Last 16 again.

A 3-1 defeat to the Netherlands at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha saw the USA knocked out of the competition on Saturday. While the Dutch have a quarter-final clash against Argentina to look forward to, the USMNT’s focus will now turn to developing their young squad further ahead of the 2026 edition. That tournament will be co-hosted by the USA, Canada and Mexico, and will feature 48 countries, and Pulisic wants to see a team with title-winning quality.

Tough to take

“Right now, it’s just tough, you know? It hurts, after a tough loss like that, we feel like we could have had more,” he said. “It’s another experience for all these guys, moments that we can be proud of. We don’t want to feel like this again. We want to put ourselves in a position to win tournaments like this.”

Pulisic missed a golden opportunity to open the scoring three minutes into the game, seeing a close-range attempt saved by Andries Noppert. In contrast, Memphis Depay slotted away the Netherlands’ first big opportunity, with Daley Blind making it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time.

“It happened so early in the game, and he made a good save,” said Pulisic, who assisted Haji Wright for the USMNT’s goal, which was swiftly cancelled out by Denzel Dumfries at the other end. “They defended well for the most part, but I think when their first kind of two real chances went down, they just cut back, execute it, finish. We were down 2-0, but it didn’t feel like it should be that way. But that’s what good teams do.”

Backing for Berhalter

USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter is approaching the end of his contract, and did not give much clarity over what his future holds. Antonee Robinson, however, hopes Berhalter continues in the role as the USA look to build towards 2026. “I hope so,” said the Fulham full-back. “He’s given a lot of boys a chance to develop with this group, and I feel like this whole time we’ve shown the type football we can play.”