Iran will face the USA in a winner-takes-all game to advance to the World Cup playoffs
Whichever team wins will advance to the Round of 16 in Qatar 2022, while a tie for the USMNT will result in elimination.
It will be a match charged with political tension, as the two countries have not had formal diplomatic relations since April 1980, following Iran’s takeover of the American embassy in November 1979 following the country’s Islamic revolution.
The game is being developed by Iran’s state media Called to withdraw the USA from the 2022 World Cup After USA Football changed the Iranian flag on its social media accounts to show support for the protesters in Iran.
U.S. Soccer told CNN it wanted to change the official flag for 24 hours to “show support for women fighting for basic human rights in Iran,” but always planned to return to the original flag.
USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter steers clear of these political undercurrents, saying his focus is solely on football.
“The thing about football is that you meet different people from all over the world and you are united by a common love for the sport of football,” Berhalter told reporters after the England match.
“I see the game being hotly contested as both teams want a place in the next round, not for politics.
“We’re football players and we compete and they compete, that’s all.”
The USMNT has drawn two of its games so far – 1-1 with Wales and 0-0 with a superstar-laden England team.
Against England, the young ‘golden generation’ of the USMNT faced their biggest challenge and looked to be a threat to either team for most of the game before being unable to withstand England’s late pressure.
There were plenty of bright spots for the USA in this game.
He showed tactical flexibility by switching to a 4-4-2 formation, his defense to shut out European opposition for the first time since 1950 at the World Cup. Tyler Adams, Yunus Musa and Weston McKenney dominated their English counterparts in midfield, while Christian Pulisic was the creative playmaker his side needed.
The USMNT are currently four places above Iran in the FIFA world rankings, but will be wary of their opponent, who kept their World Cup qualification hopes alive with a 2-0 win over Wales on Friday.
Iran scored both goals in injury time after Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was sent off – the first by Roozbeh Cheshmi in the 98th minute and the second by Ramin Rezaeyan’s shot past substitute goalkeeper Danny Ward.
The result restored Iran’s World Cup form after a 6-2 defeat by England and provided a true indication of the talent in a team looking to reach the knockout stages of a World Cup for the first time. time in history.
According to Reuters, Iran coach Carlos Queiroz said after the Wales match: “Now we have to make sure we are good enough to go to the second round.
“The USA are a great team as well, as we saw them against Wales.
“Our preparation starts with having a good rest, refreshing our minds and putting all the extra and rubbish out of our minds and focusing on our goal because we want to give the Iranian fans this prize.”
Iran has come to the tournament in the shadow of internal unrest following widespread protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died after being arrested by Iran’s morality police for not observing the country’s conservative dress code. . Since then, Iranian security forces have begun cracking down on protests.
The national anthem was played before Iran’s first match against England on Monday in what was interpreted as solidarity with the protests back home, while the players sang the national anthem in the second game against Wales. , albeit in a subdued way.
In the other Group B match, England look set to cement their place in the play-offs against Wales.
If England beat Wales, the USMNT will finish second in the group if they beat Iran; If England lose, the USMNT will finish first.
Second place could go to its most likely rivals, the Netherlands, while first place could go to either Ecuador or Senegal.
Netherlands vs. Qatar: 10 p.m. ET
Ecuador vs. Senegal: 10 p.m. ET
Wales vs. England: 2 p.m. ET
Iran vs. USA: 2 p.m. ET
USA: Fox Sports
UK: BBC or ITV
Germany: ARD, ZDF, Deutsche Telekom
Canada: Bell Media
South Africa: SABC
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