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World Cup exit stings but future is bright, says Berhalter

United States coach Gregg Berhalter said their World Cup last-16 exit after a 3-1 loss to the Netherlands on Saturday was difficult to accept but he took heart from the progress made by his young squad after their baptism of fire on the big stage.

The Americans made a bright start to the match and almost took an early lead through Christian Pulisic, who was brilliantly denied by goalkeeper Andries Noppert before the Dutch punished them with their first attack.

Memphis Depay and Daley Blind scored almost identical goals, finishing off precise and free-flowing team moves, to deliver a sucker punch and although Haji Wright pulled one back for the Americans, Denzel Dumfries swiftly extinguished any hopes of a comeback by restoring the two-goal cushion.

“This is a tough one to swallow for us. The guys put everything they had into it and tonight we came up short but it wasn’t for lack of trying or a lack of effort,” Berhalter told reporters.

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