USA celebrate World Cup qualification - despite not qualifying yet 2 months ago

USA celebrate World Cup qualification - despite not qualifying yet

They still have one game to go.

The USA national team celebrated qualifying for the Qatar World Cup after their win against Panama on Sunday - despite not yet securing qualification.

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A 5-1 win against Panama, including a hat-trick from Christian Pulisic, has taken the US to the brink of qualification but a mistake was made by the players and staff.

At the full-time whistle, the entire squad joined together to hold a banner that read 'QUALIFIED' as they celebrated with fans in Orlando, Florida.

But it was pointed out that there is still one game to play, to absolutely make sure they appear at the Qatar World Cup, against Costa Rica on Wednesday.

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USA hold up a banner celebrating World Cup qualification despite having one game to play.

After the game, hat-trick hero Pulisic insisted that the banner was an honest mistake and that the squad remain focused on ensuring qualification against Costa Rica.

"The guys didn't know at all what it said. It was just hand handed to them," the Chelsea winger said.

"Once we realised - there's no need to show that off because we still have a job to do.

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"We honestly approach it like any other game. We're going to prepare exactly the same as we would if we needed a win."

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US coach Gregg Berhalter also reflected Pulisic's comments and stressed that they are well aware of the task ahead.

"We made a big step towards our goal of qualifying for the World Cup," he said.

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"We know we're not there yet despite what that banner might have said.

"We know we still have a game to go and it's a difficult game in Costa Rica so our job right now is to recover, do regeneration and then get healthy guys, fit guys, on the field and go compete in San Jose, where we've never won before."

They're not quite over the line yet, but it is highly likely that the USA will secure their place in the World Cup finals as they would have to lose to Costa Rice by six goals to send them into a play-off, where they would likely come up against New Zealand.