Just under four years away from the World Cup they will be hosting, the United States are in full swing.
For the third time in the space of twelve years, the Americans will see the round of 16 of the World Cup, which testifies to a strange regularity for a country which has never made "soccer" the king sport.
But no matter, Team USA is once again at the rendezvous of the final phase and it owes it to its young and brilliant generation accustomed to having fun on the grounds of Europe.
Facing Iran on Tuesday evening, in what looked like the most political match of the competition in view of the tensions existing between the two countries, the United States knew that a victory offered them a qualification in the round of 16. : job done.
This first success in the competition - after two draws against Wales and England - comes at the right time and comes as a reward for an ambitious team in the game, carried forward, even if Iran may regret waking up too late in this encounter.
Under the impetus of its executives, the American selection quickly got hold of this meeting and demonstrated its technical superiority.
But if the Losc striker Timothy Weah lacked success in the last gesture (28th, 33rd), the other stars of the team showed the way, like their involvement in the opener at the 38th minute.
On this action, Juventus Turin midfielder Weston McKennie finds his partner Sergino Dest in the right lane with a superb opening with his right foot.
The very restless defender of AC Milan (also passed by FC Barcelona) gives a touch of the head for the star Christian Pulisic.
At six meters, the Chelsea player finds the net with a shot from the right before hitting the opposing goalkeeper heavily and remaining on the ground for long seconds.
Iran pushed hard, Americans trembled
We then thought the Americans were in a strong position, but the Iranians, particularly timid in the first period (no shots on the clock in 45 minutes), ended up letting go, aware that a historic first qualification in the round of 16 of the World Cup was playable: a goal was enough for them to open the doors of the final table.
The entry into the break of former Amiens player Sam Ghoddos has done the training led by Carlos Queiroz the greatest good.
Driven by a whole stadium committed to their cause, Iran thought they could equalize thanks to this same Ghoddos.
But neither his head (52nd) nor his curling strike from the right (65th) allowed Team Melli to prolong the pleasure in this competition which came to brighten up an entire country under tension.
A header from Pouraliganji and a contentious action in the box in added time, which could have been worth a penalty, shook the Americans, but they will be there for the round of 16.
Team USA will face the Netherlands this Saturday afternoon (4 p.m.) and will seek to advance to the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time since 2002.
In the other Pool B match, England ensured their qualification by beating Wales (3-0).
The English finish first in the group and will face Senegal in the round of 16.