United States book spot for 2022 World Cup in Qatar

Bestinau got that-

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — The United States men’s national team has qualified for the 2022 World Cup and secured its place for the tournament in Qatar after missing out on the 2018 edition in Russia.

Despite losing 2-0 to Costa Rica managed to secure one of CONCACAF’s three automatic berths on Tuesday, along with group winner Canada and rival Mexico.

The US went into the game against Estadio Nacional on Wednesday and only had to avoid six goals or more to beat their ticket.

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The United States closes the 14-game qualifying cycle with a record 7 wins, 3 losses and 4 draws for 25 points. That total left the US three points behind Canada and Mexico, and level with Costa Rica, with only a +11 goal difference, leaving the Americans ahead of Tuesday’s hosts (+5).

While the team was inconsistent at times during qualifying, it held strong throughout the cycle.

“I think it’s exactly what we expected, but sometimes you wish it had been different,” US coach Gregg Berhalter said before the game in Costa Rica on Tuesday. “We wish we had won every game, but it’s not realistic. And I think it’s exactly what we expect.

“We expected” [qualifying] a challenge and expected a lot of ups and downs. Lots of trials and tribulations and we know we have a very young group going through this for the first time. We know how difficult it is to qualify for CONCACAF.”

While only four players were on the team’s current roster when it missed the 2018 World Cup, the group has been saddled with correcting that mistake. None more than Christian Pulisic, the star of Chelsea.

“I think Christian has always felt that responsibility,” midfielder Tyler Adams said on Tuesday.

“Growing up as kind of that golden kid in… [this] American football generation, people set high standards for him. To be fair, he handled them better than anyone. In every situation he is expected to do things that people like [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo should do.

“He has to take us to the World Cup.”

And while that pressure sometimes seemed to come on Pulisic during qualifying, his hat-trick against Panama came on Sunday in the most sweeping game the US had played in years. Pulisic closed the cycle with a team-best five goals. At the age of 23, Pulisic’s 12 goals in the past two qualifying cycles ranks fourth in US history.

Qualification was not the only goal the US was pursuing, right-back DeAndre Yedlin said Tuesday.

“I think at the moment I wouldn’t say that this is the ultimate goal, I think the ultimate goal is clearly to win a World Cup,” he said. “But there are steps you have to take to get there and one of the big steps is to qualify for the World Cup.”

The US will be placed in Pot 2 for the draw to determine the eight groups of four teams, to be held in Doha, Qatar at 12:00 PM ET on Friday.

Only three teams in the 32-player field are yet to be determined. In a pair of one-game playoffs in Qatar in June, Costa Rica will face New Zealand, while Peru will face Australia or the United Arab Emirates.

The last spot is for the winner of Wales vs. Scotland/Ukraine. The Scotland-Ukraine playoff match originally scheduled for March 24 was postponed after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and has not been rescheduled.

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