Christian Pulisic sacrificed his body to lift the United States men’s national team into the knockout round of the World Cup.
But his own knockout did not include the body part many spectators painfully envisioned when he gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead against Iran on Tuesday.
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“No, I didn’t get hit in the balls,” Pulisic, who was diagnosed with a pelvic contusion, told reporters Thursday in Qatar, per Fox Sports. “I’m all right. It was very painful. That bone is there for a reason to protect you and I hit it well. I was sore.”
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Pulisic’s injury came as he crashed the net to finish off a cross from Sergiño Dest, colliding full-speed with Iran goalie Alireza Beiranvand. As the celebrations set in for the go-ahead goal, Pulisic remained crumpled in the net and down for a few minutes before hobbling off.
The 24-year-old known as Captain America came back for the final minutes of the first half but was subbed out for the second half as the U.S. held on for a win that secured a second-place finish in Group B.
Now, as the Americans prepare for a Round-of-16 showdown against the Netherlands on Saturday, Pulisic has been tabbed as “day-to-day” and is trying to make sure he can play in it.
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“I’m taking it day by day right now and will do everything in my power to work with this medical team and make sure I can play,” he said.
Pulisic spent time in the hospital following the injury, but was able to watch the second half on a phone before rejoining his teammates at their hotel.
“It was like the hardest thing,” he said, per The Athletic. “They were checking my blood [pressure] and everything and it was flying through the roof, but it wasn’t because of anything, it was just me stressed watching the game. But once I got through that and the final whistle blew, I was obviously very happy.”