US Men’s National Team (USMNT) captain Christian Pulisic shone some light on his mystery injury on Thursday and allayed fears surrounding his fitness heading into Saturday’s huge round of 16 clash against the Netherlands.
Pulisic was involved in a heavy collision with Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand as he scored the US’ winning goal on Tuesday, with the forward being sent to hospital during the game for what was initially described as an abdominal injury.
The Chelsea forward told reporters at the pre-match press conference that it had now been diagnosed as a pelvic contusion and says he is taking the injury “day by day.”
“I will do everything in my power to work with this medical team and make sure that I can play,” Pulisic said.
“I didn’t get, like, hit in the balls,” he added. “I’m alright. I’m alright. It was very painful and that bone is there for a reason to protect you, I think, and I hit it well. It was sore, but like I said I’m getting better.”
This is a young and inexperienced US team, but one that is full of quality and Pulisic is the key piece in Gregg Berhalter’s side. It would be a huge blow to the USMNT’s chances if the 24-year-old is forced to miss the match against the Netherlands.
Pulisic also went on to describe the unusual moment he was trying to keep track of the US score against Iran while being taken to hospital, calling it “a crazy kind of experience.”
“Obviously, the emotions were running so high so I was like doing everything I could to continue playing and all was kind of a blur, to be honest,” he recalls. “But then once I was told I was being taken to the hospital, I had to get looked at, I was able to follow it on the guy’s [medical trainer] with me, on his phone.
“It was like the hardest thing. I think they were checking my blood sugar and everything and I was flying through the roof, but it wasn’t because of anything, it was just me stress-watching the game.
“But once I got through that and the final whistle blew, I was obviously very happy.”
Victory over the Netherlands would put the US in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002 and almost – though perhaps not entirely – make up for the national team’s failure to qualify for the World Cup four years ago.