Gregg Berhalter bemoans lack of world-class striker as USA exit World Cup

  • USA coach says Netherlands took their chances against US
  • Berhalter will not be drawn on long-term future

Gregg Berhalter bemoaned his team’s lack of a world-class finisher as the United States were knocked out of the World Cup by the Netherlands on Saturday.

The US failed to finishing off promising attacks in all four of their games at the World Cup, and many have pointed to the team’s lack of a clinical striker as the reason they failed to progress. Jesus Ferreira, Haji Wright and Josh Sargent led the line at different times for the US in Qatar but none of them posed any real threat to opposing defenders.

“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,” said Berhalter after the match.

“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.”

The Dutch, on the other hand, were ruthless when presented with chances during their 3-1 victory. The US defence had been solid this World Cup but they were less robust on Saturday. Berhalter said lapses cost the US.

“It’s just moments that the players were [switched] off a little bit here and there and it ends up in the back of the net,” he said. “When you play at this level, against high quality opponents, that’s what happens. It’s unfortunate that it happens in the knockout game, but it did and we’ve got to learn from it.”

Despite the team’s defeat the USA coach said he was pleased with his team’s progress.

“When you look at our team, there’s a very clear identity of what we’re trying to do. You have a group that’s extremely committed to each other in what they’re trying to accomplish,” he said. “We have a very young group, we have players that are beginning in their careers and they’re going to catch up to that. It’s not to make an excuse for this group, they’re still very resilient. That stuff will come.”

The US will co-host the World Cup in 2026 and Berhalter said there are good things to come with players such as Tyler Adams, Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie making up a strong young core for the Americans.

“I think this group is close,” he said. “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.”

Berhalter would not be drawn on whether he would coach the US in 2026.

“I’ve only been focused on the World Cup, achieving things with this group,” he said. “In the next couple of weeks, I’ll clear my head and think about what’s next.”


Tom Lutz

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Age before beauty: Berhalter tweaks USA’s World Cup squad around edges
Gregg Berhalter suppressed his preference for youthful dynamism by picking old-timer Tim Ream. Given the overall youth of the roster, adding a veteran can’t hurt

Tom Dart

10, Nov, 2022 @8:00 AM

Article image
Berhalter says USA will be ‘aggressive’ in World Cup opener against Wales
The US coach said his team intend to take a positive approach when they play their first match at the World Cup since 2014

Bryan Armen Graham in Doha

21, Nov, 2022 @10:00 AM

Article image
Berhalter denies Gio Reyna conspiracy claims as USA-Iran match approaches
The USA coach was forced to field questions on US immigration policy and inflation as well as his team’s crucial final group match

Bryan Armen Graham in Doha

29, Nov, 2022 @7:30 AM

Article image
Pulisic clear to play for USA against Netherlands as Berhalter faces familiar foes
The US manager credits the Dutch for helping him with his soccer education as his team look to upset the odds and book a place in the World Cup quarter-finals

Bryan Armen Graham in Doha

02, Dec, 2022 @7:48 PM

Article image
USA v Iran was a referendum on Gregg Berhalter’s leadership. He won
The US team are through to the last-16, while enacting their coach’s grand vision: youth, energy and a high-pressing possession-based style

Tom Dart

30, Nov, 2022 @2:52 PM

Article image
What did the US lack most at the World Cup? Football intelligence
The deficiencies on display throughout USA’s defeat to the Dutch suggest that more work was needed before Gregg Berhalter’s squad arrived in Qatar

Aaron Timms

04, Dec, 2022 @10:00 AM

Article image
England saved in postcolonial grudge match by USA’s invisible striker
A battling, courageous effort confirmed what many have long suspected: this US side remain a team in search of a goalscorer

Aaron Timms

26, Nov, 2022 @2:09 PM

Article image
No light touches: USA’s World Cup 2022 opponents profiled
Gregg Berhalter’s side will face England, Iran and one of Wales or Scotland or Ukraine in their return to the World Cup after an eight-year absence

Tom Dart

01, Apr, 2022 @7:53 PM

Article image
The Netherlands: USA’s World Cup opponents – and how to beat them
The Dutch boast youth and experience along with a few exceptional individual talents. The Americans will need to be at their best to make the quarter-finals

Tom Dart

02, Dec, 2022 @4:04 AM

Article image
USA punch above their World Cup weight against England once again
The Americans dominated for large stretches on Friday night against a team many thought would hand them a painful lesson

Bryan Armen Graham at the Al Bayt Stadium

25, Nov, 2022 @11:58 PM