Gregg Berhalter has praised his young USA side and although he was ‘bitterly disappointed’ to see them knocked out of the World Cup, he believes progress has been made.
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The USA lost 3-1 to the Netherlands in their last 16 clash as Christian Pulisic missed a great chance early on and the Dutch made the Americans pay as Memphis Depay, Daley Blind and Denzel Dumfries all scored classy goals.
In the end the Dutch had a bit of extra quality and experience but the young U.S. has impressed to get to the knockout rounds and with one eye on the 2026 World Cup, a huge chunk of this starting lineup will probably start at the next World Cup too.
That’s very positive but it doesn’t mean this defeat doesn’t sting right now.
Pride and progress the key words for Berhalter
“This is a difficult one to handle,” Berhalter said. “It is such a good group of guys, it is such a close group of guys, and we came up short today but not for a lack of trying, not for a lack of effort. The guys poured everything they had into this game and unfortunately we lost it.”
They really did.
The USMNT had plenty of the ball and created chances but they just couldn’t knit all of that promise together in the final third when it mattered most. And that right there was the story of their World Cup.
There is still plenty to be proud of for Berhalter and his young side, as they exceeded expectations.
“Really proud. When you think about how this group and how they’ve come together over the last three-and-a-half years, it’s really special to see. You don’t often get a bond like that between teammates, and staff, and everyone,” Berhalter said. “I’m really proud of this group but bitterly disappointed with the result today.”
There is plenty of debate about whether or not Gregg Berhalter is the right man to lead this very talented, and very young, USA side into the 2026 World Cup on home soil.
A lot can happen between now and then but it seems the displays at this World Cup probably earned him a couple more years to see how this side develops and if they can get a couple of clinical finishers to stand up and finish off chances.
“We made some progress,” Berhalter said. “When people look at our team, they see a clear identity, they see guys that go out there and fight for each other. They see talent on the field. We made progress but on this particular night we came up short.”
When the dust settles on this defeat to the Dutch, the 2022 World Cup will be looked at positively by fans of the USA.
However, the most important thing is what happens next. If the core of this team can keep their intensity and solidity but add cutting edge in attack and stay true to their principles, they can go far in 2026.