February 25, 2024

FIFA World Cup in Qatar: Iran – USA – “A very special match”

In the pre-match press conference between Iran and the United States (8 p.m. EST), USA coach Gregg Berhalter and captain Tyler Adams tried to emphasize the sporting significance of the match. The two were questioned about racism, visa regulations and military matters, among other matters.

Berhalter said he could not say anything about political matters, as he was a football coach.

1998 World Cup: The US team lost to Iran

For the first time in 24 years, the Iranian national team returns to the field against the United States in the World Cup. It was already a tense match in the 1998 tournament in France, and officials in the Islamic Republic still today celebrate the 2-1 victory in Lyon as the greatest success in the history of national football.

In the midst of the most dangerous protests Iran has witnessed in decades, the pressure on Iran's Milli team is now much greater and is now in the spotlight of global public opinion. Iran's sporting position at the beginning is promising: a victory over the American team will certainly be enough for the national team to qualify, and a draw may also be sufficient if Wales does not beat England in the parallel match.

Due to the violent repression by Iranian security forces during the protests, many prominent stars moved away from the country. Ali Karimi, a former Bayern Munich professional, has been sending sharp words to the Iranian leadership for weeks.

We support the Iranian people and the Iranian team. But we are all focused on the match.

Tyler Adams

Tomasz Skolski from Doha before the Group B match on Tuesday evening.

November 29, 2022 | 03:34 minutes

Even before the protests broke out, it was clear from the World Cup draw: in matches against political rivals such as England or the USA, the focus is not just on football. For the Iranian Football Federation, it was not about the goals and points, but above all about the performance against the USA, known as the “Great Satan”.

“I've played and trained in different countries. You meet a lot of people and football brings people together. The match will be difficult because they both want to progress and not because it's about politics. We want to fight for progress, that's what it is.” “That,” said US national coach Berhalter.

American coach Gregg Berhalter: “The match will be difficult because both of them want to advance, not because it is about politics.”Source: German News Agency

The match against Iran is like a knockout match: win or go home.

Greg Berhalter

Iran's Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz confirmed: “It is a very, very special match for us.” This applies to him personally as well, as he worked as a coach in the United States of America. It is clear that he was keen to focus on sports before the duel between the two arch political enemies.

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz: “A very, very special match for us.”Source: EPA

The 69-year-old was head coach between 2011 and 2019 and led the country to the 2014 and 2018 World Cup finals, but failed in the preliminary round both times.

The expectations of the Iranian national team are high. While the team issued a statement against England by not singing the national anthem, the players caved in after pressure against Wales and sang the national anthem – albeit quite quietly.

Qualified to the round of 16:

Group A: Netherlands, Senegal

The second group: England, the United States of America

Group Three: Argentina, Poland

Group Four: France, Australia

Group Five: Japan, Spain

Group Six: Morocco, Croatia

Group Seven: Brazil

Group H: Portugal

(As of: 01/12/22)

World Cup match schedule >