Gregg Berhalter is hopeful United States talisman Christian Pulisic will be fit to face the Netherlands this weekend, believing he “looks pretty good” ahead of training on Friday.
Pulisic suffered a pelvic injury when scoring the winning goal in the USA’s victory over Iran on Tuesday.
The Chelsea forward was substituted at half-time, but hopes to recover in time to take on the Oranje in their last-16 clash at Khalifa International Stadium on Saturday.
While Boss Berhalter is confident Pulisic will feature, he is less optimistic about forward Josh Sargent, who injured his ankle in the win over Iran.
“We’re going to see him on the training field today,” he said.
“What I think is it looks pretty good. But we’re going to have to see him on the training pitch today to get confirmation of that.
“[Sargent] is another one we’re going to test in training, see where he’s at. With Christian we’re hopeful, with him a little less so.
“We’ll see. He’s going to test. At this stage, it’s go time. If you can push through it, you do. I’m sure he’ll have that mindset.”
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A surprise element of the USA’s campaign so far has been the limited playing time for midfielder Giovanni Reyna.
The Borussia Dortmund man featured for just seven minutes at the end of the 0-0 draw with England, with Berhalter suggesting the circumstances have not yet been right to unleash the 20-year-old.
“I think a lot of it comes down to timing and circumstances,” he added. If you look at how the games unfolded, we’ve had the lead and had to hold onto the lead late in the games.
“The only game we didn’t have that scenario, we actually put him in to help get the victory.
“It’s just how we can use him in the most effective way. He’s a really talented player, and we’re looking for the right moment he can no doubt help this team.”
USA are winless in their last 11 World Cup games against European nations (D6 L5) since beating Portugal 3-2 in 2002.
Indeed, they have won just three of their 23 World Cup games against European sides (D7 L13), also beating Belgium in 1930 and England in 1950.
They come up against a Netherlands side that has been criticised for playing uninspiring football in this tournament, but Berhalter does not think Oranje boss Louis van Gaal will be concerned.
“I’m laughing because there’s always criticism of Holland,” he said. “How many coaches are there in Holland? Seventeen million now?
“I heard the same thing in 2014. I remember playing away at Ajax, losing 1-0 at half-time, and Ajax were being whistled off because they only scored one goal.
“I think Louis van Gaal has tough enough skin. He realises his job is to deliver wins. He’s been doing that. They’re undefeated in the group stage.
“I’m sure he’s focused on trying to guide his team to the final. He was very successful in 2014, and he has a way to win wherever he goes.
“If I’m the Dutch public, I wouldn’t worry about it too much, I’d just wait and see.”
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