USMNT reflects on World Cup performance

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RAYYAN, Qatar — As the American soccer players took their sadness and their hope and exited the World Cup on Saturday night, they 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 gaggles of reporters and share insights or non-insights on what just happened.

The Americans stopped, one by one, and unknowingly built a kind of staccato chorus that spoke of their pain at their 3-1 shootout of the Netherlands, their feeling that they could have done more and their sense that they should do more.

They offered some of what I learned at the World Cup, like when goalkeeper Matt Turner said, “The biggest thing is the margins of success or failure in this tournament are just so paper-thin,” or when the youngest captain in the World Cup, Taylor Adams said, “If there’s anything the team will take away from him, it comes down to the margins,” or when veteran DeAndre Yedlin said, “The biggest thing is the group learned how it feels Like losing in a World Cup, and that goes a long way,” or when Christian Pulisic said, “We don’t want to feel like that again.”

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

First came Turner, 28, who began with: “The silence is deafening [in the locker room]; Everyone is disappointed.” He told how the Dutch seemed to have an “expectation” about the cutback crosses that led to the first two goals, saying it “came to both boxes” where “they finished very quickly,” said That it was an honor and said that he hoped boys and girls would watch and aspire to emulate.

“There is huge potential,” he said. “If you don’t see that, I don’t know. … The potential is clear. He didn’t want that to be our MO,” and said, “This is part of changing the expectations of our fans, changing the Expectations from the players in the locker room, not just feeling like we won a trophy because we made the round. of 16.”

Then came Adams, 23, who talked about the “margins” — they’re everywhere, really, across the 32-team event — and how the center backs “did really well” and how he wasn’t around for 2010 and 2014 when The United States reached the same junction so he does not know, but it feels “special.”

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World Cup bracket and knockout round schedule

Soon came Walker Zimmerman, the 29-year-old center back. He analyzed the Dutch puncturing of the American air tightness that carried out Group B but could not hold against Denzel Dumfries’s first half cross-backs. “Right,” he said, “you never know if it’s something they might have seen on the carpet.” I mean, I’d have to go back in the group stage to see if the spaces were even open. Obviously we are not hurt by the chances in the group stage. Maybe it’s something they saw. Maybe it’s just the execution at the moment, but again, certainly that second, we have to be able to mentally stop the game from happening.

He summarizes. “That’s what makes it the hardest,” he said, “just to go out and know how special the team was, how hard we worked.” He suggested they had arrived with the goal of winning the whole thing and “showing we can compete with anybody” and ran out a list of promised attributes, including “the youth of the team”, the “bond ,” the “love that we have for each other.” He said the World Cup was “something a lot of American fans can look at and be proud of – the way we played, the way we did our job. So I think we’ll be back as hungry as ever, many ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ /​​/​​/​​ or​​​​ Wish the legacy — that’s what hurts is that we thought this was a group that could have done something that no American team had done.

Walker Zimmerman of USMNT is a very good soccer player. He could be a better team.

Andries Nefert came by. He is not American but Dutch and a goalkeeper, and he took some questions and started with this: “They are going like crazy, like hell. They work together. They don’t give up.”

Yunus Musah, just 20, somehow came up short but said, “The team we are, we could have done a lot better.”

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Brenden Aaronson, 22, was somewhat less brief and said: “Sad and a lot of emotions. It’s just hard. ” and, “I mean, listen – we had just as many chances as they did.”

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

Antonee Robinson, still only 25, passed and said of the two early goals: “I don’t know. I can’t tell you. Maybe they pulled our team apart a little bit, in terms of positioning. He said he hopes coach Gregg Berhalter stayed on and said: “He gave a lot of boys a chance to develop with this group. You look at the whole campaign and almost everyone has played their first World Cup.”

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

Brewer: Don’t see the USMNT loss as the end. It is a down payment on the future.

Here came Weston McKennie, 24, who proactively defended Pulisic for his third-minute miss: “For anyone who might try in the future, ‘Oh, if Christian would have scored that’, we’ve all seen the things that He did for U.S. Soccer. We all know it’s a team here. We all try to support each other.”

He talked about “a common goal four years ago” after the United States missed the previous World Cup and said: “This tournament really restored a lot of belief, a lot of respect. We showed that we can be giants. We Might not be there yet, but we’re definitely on the way.”

“There was plenty in the tank,” he began, to a question wondering 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. “Felt like we were down 2-nil, but it didn’t feel like it should be. That’s what good teams do. They punish you.”

Yedlin, 29, the only player left from Brazil 2014, paused and said: “I think, 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. “

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“Now it’s a whole different story,” he said. “They know the feeling of what it’s like to lose after putting so much into it.”

Tim Ream, the “grandfather” of the USMNT at 35, never gave up on his World Cup dream

Finally, there was Tim Ream, the 35-year-old defender. This evening, the World Cup and his career in the United States won on a night when, as he tells it from so much experience: “Sometimes, you know, good players get the jump on you. They anticipated. Those two players [Dumfries and Memphis], they were a little faster. It’s probably something they’ve been working on.”

– Yes, – he said, – I mean, I tried to convey to the boys: you are never guaranteed anything in this game. I have been in this program for 12 years, never guaranteed anything. A lot of these guys are guaranteed another World Cup. For me, that won’t happen. … I’ve given it my all, and I hope the guys take this advice. I’ve seen them take that advice in the three weeks we’ve been together, so I hope they continue to do so.

With that, the mixed zone ended for the night.

World Cup in Qatar

The latest: The knockout stage continued at the World Cup on Saturday with Argentina beating Australia, 2-1, in the round of 16. Argentina, with global star Lionel Messi in what is likely to be his final World Cup, is among the favorites to win the tournament and managed to finish first in Group C and move on to the quarter-finals despite a shocking loss to Saudi Arabia in its first game.

USMNT: The US it. The 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 without a loss, conceding only one goal. His winning streak continues, while the US it. Run is over.

Knock out circular design: A World Cup group stage filled with shocking upsets and dramatic turnarounds will now give way to a knockout round that promises more surprises.

Today’s WorldView: Ishaan Tharoor, The Post’s foreign desk columnist, chronicles his week at the World Cup in Qatar.

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