Berhalter backs United States to step up in 2026 after Netherlands dash World Cup dreams

By Sports Desk December 03, 2022 149

Gregg Berhalter backed the United States to take the next step on home soil in 2026 after seeing their encouraging World Cup run ended by the Netherlands on Saturday.

The USA suffered their fourth elimination in five World Cup last-16 ties at Khalifa International Stadium, as goals from Memphis Depay, Daley Blind and Denzel Dumfries gave the Oranje a 3-1 win.

Berhalter's team had 58.4 per cent of the possession and managed 17 shots during another energetic display, but they were unable to find a way back after falling behind 10 minutes in.

Head coach Berhalter said the USA – who will join Mexico and Canada in hosting the 2026 tournament – made clear progress in Qatar, only falling short due to a lack of a cutting edge.

"Today it was small moments. We're a very difficult team to play, a team other countries don't want to play against because of our intensity and movement," Berhalter said.

"What I would say is, when you look at the difference, to me there was offensive quality that the Netherlands had that we're lacking a little bit. 

"It's normal. We have a young group, players beginning their careers and we'll catch up to that, but we don't have a Memphis Depay right now, who plays at Barcelona and has played in the Champions League for years. Those are not excuses, that stuff is going to come.

"When you look at how we played, it should be positive. We should have confidence we can play against anyone in the world, the way we want to play, that's the important thing. 

"Now it's about taking that to the next level, where you can win in knockout games and keep going. They did a great job and we definitely put our stamp on this World Cup.

"I think this group is close. To be fielding the youngest starting XIs in the World Cup four times in a row, to still play the way we are, the American public should be optimistic. 

"We heard about the support we're getting from back home, it's something we really appreciate, we're sorry we couldn't win the game."

Asked whether he planned to lead the Stars and Stripes in four years' time, Berhalter added: "I've only been focused on the World Cup, achieving things with this group.

"In the next couple of weeks, I'll clear my head and think about what's next."

USA captain Tyler Adams echoed Berhalter's sentiments, expressing his pride in the team's efforts while emphasising the importance of their opponents' experience.

"I'm proud of the boys and we've shown we can hang with some of the best teams in the world," he told Fox Sports. "We've made progress and we will keep pushing. 

"We're not there yet, but we're close. It's exciting, the more time we have together, the more growth there will be. But we need to mature for matches like this.

"It comes down to the moments and the more experienced side got the better of us today."

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Last modified on Saturday, 03 December 2022 14:52
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