▶ Watch Video: Team USA’s Walker Zimmerman talks World Cup and Netherlands matchup

The U.S. men’s national soccer team defeated Iran in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on Tuesday — the win they needed to advance to this Saturday’s knockout stage where they will take on the Netherlands.

It promises to be a tough matchup, with some experts saying the Netherlands will win. But U.S. men’s national team defender Walker Zimmerman told CBS News the team isn’t focused on what others are saying, but instead the task at hand.

“We’ve been the underdogs before,” Zimmerman said. ‘U.S. Soccer is used to that role, and I think it’s kind of what has made our team so special, is the resiliency that we have, that competitive spirit that every team before us has had.”

U.S. teammates Kellyn Acosta, Walker Zimmerman, Antonee Robinson and goalkeeper Matt Turner celebrate after winning the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match against Iran, 1-9, at Al Thumama Stadium on Nov. 29, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.

Matteo Ciambelli/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Playing in the World Cup almost didn’t happen for Zimmerman, who initially didn’t make the team roster. After two players fell out, Zimmerman was activated.

He proved to be a crucial addition in assisting Team USA holding out and maintaining their 1-0 lead over Iran this week.

He said that his moment in the game turned out to be a “right place at the right time situation.” 

“It’s special. It was a moment that I’ll always remember. And it’s something that I can be very proud of,” said Zimmerman. 

The team may have to play without star forward Christian Pulisic, who suffered an abdominal injury during the match against Iran. Zimmerman said Pulisic is “doing great” and in “good spirits.” 

While he hopes that Pulisic will play, Zimmerman said the team is prepared to play without him. 

“He’s doing all of his treatment and all of his recovery. I think he’s feeling good. And we’ll be ready to go regardless of what his status is,” Zimmerman said.