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Antonee Robinson couldn’t contain his emotions inside the USMNT locker room after helping his team beat Iran to advance to the knockout round of the World Cup on Tuesday. A powerful video shows the American defender crying into his hands while being consoled by his teammates following the monumental victory.
Robinson played every nerve-wracking minute of the USMNT 1-0 victory over the Iranians in Qatar.
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Given his outpouring of emotion, it’s clear that the win over Iran meant everything to Robinson, but it also represents a much larger picture.
The USMNT was a laughing stock on the global soccer stage four years ago missing out on the World Cup. It was a catastrophic embarrassment for the United States – the greatest and most powerful country in the world – to have its men’s national team fail to qualify for the biggest sporting event in the world.
While a win over Iran, a team the United States was expected to beat may not seem like much to the uber-casual soccer fan, Robinson bursting into tears proves it means a whole hell of a lot.
This USMNT entered the World Cup with the second youngest squad in the tournament. This didn’t stop every American from having high expectations for this team despite the fact it found itself in a tough group with the likes of England, Wales, and Iran.
Tuesday’s win to advance to the knockout stage also gives hope for not only the immediate future but for four years down the road as well when the World Cup comes to North America.
The expectation for the 2026 World Cup is for this young American squad to mature and turn into a legitimate threat to win the tournament.
Robinson will be 29 years old when the next World Cup comes around, and what a moment it would be to look back at this video if the U.S. can make some legitimate noise in 2026.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris