Christian Pulisic: USMNT’s goal is to win the World Cup in Qatar

by Doug McIntyre
FOX Sports Football Writer

US men’s national team star Christian Pulisic He knows that Americans have a long shot at winning the World Cup 2022 This winter in Qatar.

This does not mean that he thinks it is impossible.

Pulisic, who is training in Los Angeles this week with Chelsea ahead of the start of the new Premier League season, told FOX Sports in an interview on Thursday. “We’ll start with the mentality and mindset of wanting to win the World Cup. That’s exactly where our heads will be, and we’ll go and believe it. Because if you believe, I believe you can.”

Is this realistic? Mostly not. According to FOX Bet, the odds of the United States (+10000) becoming the ninth country to lift the World Cup on December 18 in Doha are slim. With that said, it’s easy to understand why nothing less than glory is the goal of the USMNT. If the Americans – arguably the most talented side of all time and who would occupy a manageable first-round group that includes England, Iran and Wales – enter the competition convinced they can’t win the title after failing to qualify in 2018, why even go?

Pulisic has always dreamed big. He has always pursued his dreams with unique determination and focus. This is how a skinny kid from Hershey, Pennsylvania, became the youngest player to score multiple times in the Bundesliga. It’s how he moved from Borussia Dortmund to Chelsea in 2019 for over $70 million, and it’s still the richest transfer fee an American player has ever paid. And that is how he won the UEFA Champions League in only his second season with the Blues, becoming the first American player to appear in the final.

Now that he begins his seventh and fourth professional season in London, it is easy to forget that Pulisic is still only 23 years old. And while the World Cup was already on his mind four months before the planet’s biggest sporting event kicks off in late November, his personal long-term ambitions are anything but lofty.

“I want to develop the sport in his country to a level that no one would believe when I finished playing,” he said. “I want to continue to inspire young people, especially in America, and I want to have a team that grows and competes with the best in the world. Those are my main goals.”

For now, though, he’s happy with where he is, both figuratively and literally. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first time Pulisic has experienced pre-season with Chelsea in his home country. The Blues will face Mexico’s Club America in Las Vegas on Saturday before heading to North Carolina next week to face the Charlotte FC expansion team.

Pulisic said the club will conclude its US tour with a match against London rivals Arsenal in Florida before the start of the 2022-23 Premier League season at Everton on August 6. He loves to live in London too. Unless he is told otherwise, he expects to stay with Chelsea this season, despite being linked with a move away from the club this summer.

“I really don’t read it at all,” he said of the transfer rumors. “It really just doesn’t cross my mind that much.” “Obviously there are talks to have when they need to, but right now I’m just focused on having a very strong season at Chelsea. And obviously the World Cup is in the back of the head.”

Having missed the sport’s coolest stage four years ago, Pulisic is counting the days until Qatar 2022. He remembers watching the USMNT World Cup Finals as a kid. He is still thinking about Landon Donovan’s late win over Algeria in 2010. “It was a big celebration – I was running around my house,” he said. “This is the moment that gets stuck in your head.”

Donovan’s goal that day helped the United States top their group, forcing hard-favorite England to settle for second. It’s a reminder that things don’t always go the way most think they will.

Pulisic and the United States will have a chance to repeat this feat later this year. When the United States meets the Three Lions on Black Friday, Pulisic will likely line up against several of his current Chelsea teammates. They’ve been talking about this selection match since the April draw. “We’re obviously joking and doing things,” Pulisic said.

The US will be the underdog again, but Pulisic is unfazed. He still hoped he would finally laugh.

“When it comes down to it, we’re going to fight it,” he said.

Doug McIntyre, one of North America’s most prominent football journalists, has covered the US men’s and women’s national teams at several FIFA World Cups. Prior to joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a writer for ESPN and Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

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