Carter-Vickers Shuts Out Iran as US Secure Qualification
Cameron Carter-Vickers made his first start of the 2022 World Cup tonight against Iran in the USA's final group game in the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha. The Celtic centre back repaid the faith shown in him by Gregg Berhalter the US manager, as he put in a strong performance to keep Iran out and seal a 0-1 victory that secures qualification to the last 16.
Iran's main threat during the group stage was Porto's Mehdi Taremi, the frontman has been involved in 3 of Iran's 4 goals (2 goals, 1 assist), but he was kept quiet by Carter-Vickers and his defensive colleague Tim Ream. In desperation, Taremi attempted to con the referee in the final minutes of added time as Carter-Vickers hand brushed his shoulder as he stretched to reach a knock down. The US fans held their breath as the referee waited on the VAR check - the penalty claim was rightly dismissed.
An equaliser from Iran would've saw them qualify for the knockout stages and the USA dumped out, but Christian Pulisic's goal before half-time was enough to win the game. For Carter-Vickers, this was a typically strong defensive showing over the 90 minutes. In what was a tense, taxing game - physically and mentally - the big man was dominant in the air and defended with authority throughout. This is a big step for Carter-Vickers in his first World Cup appearance, after only a year ago being on the periphery of the squad.
The big question now is will he keep his place for the USA's last 16 clash with the Netherlands in on Saturday ahead of Walker Zimmerman - who started the USA's opening 2 games in the group stage?
No doubt this performance will stand Carter-Vickers in good stead and, whatever that clash with the Netherlands has in store on Saturday, he will return to Celtic a better player for the experience.