Christian Pulisic's 38th minute goal takes USA to the knockout round of 16 and Iran are out of the tournament.

USA's forward #10 Christian Pulisic scores his team's only goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between Iran and USA.
USA's forward #10 Christian Pulisic scores his team's only goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between Iran and USA. (AFP)

Christian Pulisic has scored while crashing headfirst into the goalkeeper in the 38th minute and the United States advanced to the knockout round of the World Cup with a 1-0 win over Iran in a politically charged rematch of their famous meeting a quarter-century ago.

Pulisic sprawled on the field and was lying in the goal for about three minutes as he received treatment from the US staff on Tuesday. He reentered the game but was replaced at the start of the second half.

Back in the World Cup after missing the 2018 tournament, the US opened with draws against Wales and England and needed a victory to move on to the round of 16 — the minimum achievement to consider the four-year cycle a success.

The Americans finished second in Group B with five points, two behind England, and will play the Netherlands on Saturday with the chance to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002.

Iran finished third with three points and has failed to advance in all six of its World Cup appearances.

Iran and USA fans mix at game

Earlier, US and Iranian fans mingled on metro trains and buses for the journey to the game. 

Crowds with the Stars and Stripes and the red, green and white colours of Iran's flag mixed together as they entered the Al Thumama Stadium for the match which both teams needed to win to enter the knockout phase of football's global showpiece.

Many Iran supporters wore t-shirts proclaiming "Iran France Coupe du Monde 98", a reference in French to the countries' previous meeting at the 1998 World Cup, which ended in a famous victory for the Iranians.

Iran's players sang their national anthem, albeit without enthusiasm, before their clash with the USA.

The Iran players had opted not to sing their national anthem before their first match of the World Cup, a 6-2 defeat to England, in an apparent sign of support for the demonstrators at home.

They did sing before their second game, a 2-0 win against Wales that set up the crunch game against the USA and on Tuesday, among the din in the stadium, some of the team mouthed the words without apparent enthusiasm.

READ MORE: No politics please, say fans ahead of Iran-US World Cup face-off

Source: TRTWorld and agencies