The first winter World Cup ever held proved to be a bit of a mixed bag for the United States international side.
Having put themselves through to the 2022 Finals out in Qatar, Gregg Berhalter’s chosen picks battled to a second placed finish in the Group B table and they qualified through to the knockout stages of the tournament with five points (one win and two draws).
Having taken only two points from the opening two Group clashes with Wales and then England, the USA side simply had to beat Iran in the final game to leapfrog them in the table and progress, and Christian Pulisic’s 38th minute winner was enough to ensure just that.
Having booked their place in the Round of 16, their next opponents were Louis van Gaal’s talented Netherlands side and despite a hard fought battle and a great effort from the US side, they just could not match the quality of the Dutchmen who came out as 3-1 winners with Haji Wright’s 76th minute deflected effort nothing more than a consolation.
Berhalter’s own contract with the United States Soccer Federation expires shortly and although reports had originally stated that talks would soon take place between the parties over a new deal, the USSF have recently released a statement saying that they are taking ‘time to reflect’ on their own next move following the knockout defeat.
“We will conduct a full review with everyone involved as we determine our next steps. We look forward to building off the performance in Qatar and preparing for the journey towards 2026.”
Qatar was the first World Cup for the US since 2014, and Berhalter replaced German playing star Jurgen Klinsmann and Bruce Arena in December 2018 after they failed to progress to the Finals after failing in the CONCACAF qualifying stage.
You can understand the USSF’s desire to really assess things properly here as the 2026 World Cup will be extra special again for the US team as they are co-hosting it with both Mexico and Canada, so with games taking place on home soil they will want to make an impression and given the growth of soccer in the United States, there are now even more qualified candidates for them to potentially choose from. As some outlets speculate about what their final decision may be when it comes to a potential change in coach, the rumour mill already features the likes of former VfB Stuttgart manager Pellegrino Matarazzo, Philadelphia Union gaffer Jim Curtin and even Leeds United head coach Jesse Marsch as viable possibilities, although US fans will have their own thoughts on whether or not they would be suitable for the position.
In a further possible twist to the story, some outlets are also claiming that sources close to Berhalter have indicated that he is now actively ‘exploring’ other options himself, namely professional opportunities that could now be available to him in the domestic European game given his boosted profile following the US role.
Berhalter is, of course, not new to European football. He was with Swedish side Hammarby from 2011 to 2013, and has also spent time with German sides Energie Cottbus and 1860 Munich, as well as English Premier League team Crystal Palace. You can bet on the games in the UK and new states in the USA, such as Ohio and Maryland.
We will simply have to see what happens next.
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