‘I didn’t get hit in the balls’: Christian Pulisic settles World Cup injury mystery

<span>Photograph: Manu Fernández/AP</span>
Photograph: Manu Fernández/AP

In good news for both the US’s chances at the World Cup and the continuation of the Pulisic family line, the USMNT winger has confirmed he did not suffer a testicular injury during his team’s win over Iran on Tuesday.

Speaking at a press conference two days before the US face Netherlands for a place in the World Cup quarter-finals, Christian Pulisic said he was hit on the pelvic bone while scoring the winning goal in USA’s 1-0 win.

Pulisic was taken to hospital with what was described as an abdominal injury after colliding with the Iran goalkeeper as he forced the ball over the line. Many believed “abdominal injury” was a euphemism for a blow to somewhere rather more delicate.

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“It was very painful. That [pelvic] bone is there for a reason to protect you; I hit it well,” Pulisic told reporters on Thursday. “It was sore, but it’s getting better.” He added that he “didn’t get hit in the balls. I’m all right.”

Pulisic said he hopes to be fit to play the Dutch but his status is still uncertain.

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“I’m going to go meet now with the team medical staff and make a decision on [training] today, just kind of see how I’m feeling, taking it day by day,” Pulisic said. “Right now I’m doing everything in my power to be able to be out there on the field on Saturday.”

The Chelsea midfielder is USA’s most high-profile player, but he said the team can win without him.

“Honestly, this team helps me so much to take the pressure off of me,” he said. “A couple of years ago, there were times maybe I felt like I needed to do more.

“But with these guys, I don’t feel that way at all, to be honest. I know they have my back. I know when I went down, and I see Brenden [Aaronson] running on to the pitch, I’m not worried at all because I know these guys.

“I mean, you see the talent. You see the work that they put in. Just the unity of this group is what makes it special and takes any pressure that there might be off of me. They know that I got their back. They [have] got mine.”

Pulisic is not the only US injury concern going into the Netherlands game. Striker Josh Sargent, who started against Iran, is dealing with ankle soreness and may miss the match.