USMNT’s Christian Pulisic awaits World Cup moment

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AL RAYYAN, Qatar — Childhood dreams, unbridled and exciting, transported the Christian woman from the fields of middle Pennsylvania youth to the immaculate voices of the World Cup. They gave him visions of wearing the US jersey, his heart traditionally echoed as the national anthem and his teammates lined up in the most elegant order.

Fantasy then took him to kickoffs, highly rated opponents, and the ability to elevate American soccer from a major to a threat.

Mature fake aspirations. Years pass, and great things are marked on our sands. he arrived at noon.

“I played in some big games. I did a lot,” Pulisic said on Wednesday, five days before the expected World Cup. “I’ve done a lot of things I want to do, but the World Cup is something above all that, and it’s something when I was a kid growing up in Pennsylvania, 5 to 10 years old, I thought about it all. it was the World Cup, playing for the US team in the World Cup. That has been my dream all my life. I’m sure getting in that moment is going to be special.”

The hopes of the American signing in this competition do not fall entirely on Pulisic; Here, if he is inexperienced, he promises to be robbed around him. He, though, is the face of this team and the focus of both global attention and dog fighting opponents.

“I don’t really want to add a comment that puts more pressure on him because he knows what he can do,” said Gio Reyna, 20 years ago. “I know what he’s doing. The whole team knows what he’s doing.”

It’s not like Pulisic, the Chelsea striker, has never played in a top event. He won the UEFA Champions League, the FIFA Club World Cup and the German Cup; He also featured in three English FA Cup finals. In all, he appeared in more than 250 matches with two European clubs.

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The Premier League, the world’s best testing ground, has been his home since the summer of 2019. Before the US-record $73 million transfer to Chelsea, he excelled at Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.

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The World Cup, though, is a different beast, a once-in-four-year event that draws billions of viewers and captures the hearts of random people in the United States.

Pulisic was the youngest player in a veteran squad that failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, ending a run of seven consecutive appearances. Although it was not Pulisic’s fault, he carried pain, anger and ultimately a motive to atone for the US failure.

His current teammates appreciate his drive and sense of responsibility to take the program to the next level. They are employed by London-based Premier League clubs, Pulisic and Matt Turner, the unlikely metaphysician of the US team, have sat next to each other several times on trips to and from US destinations, including this past weekend.

“We were just talking a little bit about [the expectations on Pulisic] because I like to get to know people and what makes them tick,” said Turner, who joined Arsenal this summer from MLS’s New England Revolution. “And he just got excited. He is excited here. He felt the pain and heartbreak of the last [qualifying campaign] indeed, I know. So that he is here now, he is excited to go and express himself and be on the world stage.

They knew the Christian story before it even began

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Although he is the best-known player in the US – and the subject of marketing campaigns and TV ads – he said Pulisic does not carry the burden of expectations.

“I’m very excited at the moment,” he said in an interview with reporters during Wednesday’s post-training session. “This is the culmination of many achievements, playing in the World Cup, representing his country. That’s what I’m here to do. I’m going to do my best and represent this country and hopefully bring everyone home proud. That’s all I can really do. And as long as I do this, I can walk home proud.

The U.S. Men’s World Cup squad will face off against Wales, Iran, and England in the group stage of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar (Video: Joshua Carroll/The Washington Post)

Pulisic enters the World Cup as a star in his national team, but a part-time starter for Chelsea. That status did not change, even after the September coaching change to Graham Potter replacing Thomas Tuchel.

Pulisic has appeared in 13 out of 14 Premier League matches overall but only three starts. His only goal came against wandering Wolverhampton on Oct. VIII. Chelsea started the third-round League Cup match and appeared in four of the six hundred Champions League group stage games, but started once.

Graphic: A closer look at the USMNT

However, Pulisic is pleased with what Potter has brought in, saying: “The way he interacted with the players impressed me the most. And the guys got him healthy. It’s going to be good there. “

Despite his limited playing time, Pulisic said he “feels great now.”

“My form in the last few weeks has been really good,” he said. I have acquired some games in it and I am working there and proving myself there. I honestly feel really strong and ready to go into this.

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US coach Gregg Berhalter wants Pulisic to log more minutes ahead of the World Cup. However, “We know Christian qualities,” he says.

Playing time cuts both ways for Qatar-bound players. The interval between league breaks and the start of the World Cup was only an interval, the players regularly starting for their clubs were more vulnerable than sidelined by injury. Several notables, including Pulisic’s Chelsea teammate N’Golo Kante will be missing.

Pulisic had a scare in his last game before sunrise on November 12, when a Newcastle player fell on him. As a key US player, he will undoubtedly face the same challenges in Group B against Wales, England and Iran.

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

“I saw the highlight of the guy coming and trying to two-foot me and I’m just thinking, ‘Wow, if it connects, that’s what you sucked,'” said Pulisic. “What are you doing? I’m playing the game. I’m passionate. I’m in the game. I want to win.”

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With the Premier League now on hold, the boyhood dream is approaching.

“All these feelings, you’re not ready, I think,” Pulsic said. “It always hits you. It hits you and you feel it. You feel the big moments coming every day. Lying in bed at night when the day gets closer, you feel it a little more.”

The US men’s national team will be one of the smallest squads for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and will bring many new players to the global tournament. (Video: Joshua Carroll/The Washington Post)

Notes: Sergiño Dest right back had limited involvement in Wednesday’s training session as team officials managed their workload. He was sidelined with abductor fatigue before subbing for AC Milan in a league match on November 13. …

About 1,000 of the US ambassadors and two US military bases in Qatar were invited by Berhalter to observe the practice. Berhalter and midfielder Weston McKennie, the son of a US serviceman, addressed the crowd.

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