Whichever team wins will advance to the Round of 16 at Qatar 2022, and for the North American Soccer Federation, even a tie will see them eliminated from the tournament.
It will be a match fraught with political tension, as the two countries have not had an official diplomatic relationship since April 1980 as a result of the Iranian seizure of the US embassy in November 1979 after the Islamic Revolution in the country.
In the lead-up to the game, inform the Iranian state He called for the expulsion of the United States from the 2022 World Cup After American football changed the flag of Iran on its social media accounts to show support for the protesters in Iran.
US Soccer told CNN that it wanted to change the official 24-hour flag to show “support for women in Iran who are fighting for basic human rights” but always planned to return to the original flag.
USMNT manager Greg Berhalter has steered clear of these political undercurrents, saying his focus is solely on soccer.
“The thing about football is that you meet so many different people from all over the world and you have a common love for football,” Berhalter told reporters after the England game.
“I see the match heated up by the fact that both teams want a place in the next round, not by politics.
“We are footballers and we will compete and they will compete and that’s it.”
So far, the USMNT has drawn both matches – 1-1 against Wales after losing a late lead, and 0-0 against a star-studded England team.
Against England, the young USMNT ‘Golden Generation’ faced their biggest test yet and appeared to be the bigger threat of the two teams for much of the game before remaining resolute in the face of late pressure from England.
There were several bright spots for the United States in that game.
Showing tactical flexibility by switching to a 4-4-2 formation, his defense held out for the first shutout of a European opponent in a World Cup since 1950, Tyler Adams Younes Musa and Weston McKinney outdid their English counterparts in midfield, while Christian Pulisic was the creative playmaker his side needed.
Although the USMNT currently sits fourth above Iran in the FIFA World Rankings, they will be wary of an opponent who kept their World Cup qualification hopes alive with a resounding 2-0 victory over Wales on Friday.
Iran scored both goals in injury time after Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessy was sent off – the first a superb shot from Rouzbeh Çeşme in the 98th minute, the second a shot from Ramin Rezaian on substitute goalkeeper Danny Ward.
The result puts Iran’s World Cup back on track after they were somewhat derailed by their opening 6-2 defeat to England and shows a truer indication of the talent within the squad as it seeks to reach the knockout stages of a World Cup for the first time. time in its history.
“Now, we need to make sure we are good enough to qualify for the second round,” Iran coach Carlos Queiroz said after the Wales match.
“The USA is a great team too, as we saw them against Wales.
“Our preparation starts with a good rest, refreshing minds and putting all the complementary stuff and rubbish out of our minds and focusing on our goal because what we want to do is give this gift to the Iranian fans.”
Iran emerges at the tournament amidst domestic turmoil following widespread protests sparked by the death of Mohsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died after being detained by Iran’s morality police, allegedly for failing to adhere to the country’s conservative dress code. . Iranian security forces have since unleashed a violent response to the protests.
During the playing of the national anthem ahead of Iran’s opening match against England on Monday, Iranian players stood silent in what was widely interpreted as a show of solidarity with protesters back home, while players sang the national anthem in their second match against Wales. , albeit in a subdued way.
In the other Group B match, England will be looking to maintain their almost certain place in the knockout stages against Wales.
If England defeats Wales, the USMNT will qualify in second place in the group, provided they edge out Iran; While if England loses, the USMNT will finish first.
A second-place finish would make its most likely rival the Netherlands, while a first-place finish would likely attract Ecuador or Senegal.
Netherlands – Qatar: 10 p.m. ET
Ecuador – Senegal: 10 p.m. ET
Wales v England: 2 p.m. ET
Iran – USA: 2 pm ET
United States: Fox Sports
United Kingdom: BBC or ITV
Germany: ARD, ZDF, Deutsche Telekom
Canada: Bell Media
South Africa: SABC
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