US has clear World Cup task against Iran: win or go home

US has clear World Cup task against Iran: win or go home

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The task is clear for the United States: beat Iran in a politically charged World Cup match or go home.

“We have to get out of our group by all means,” U.S. captain Tyler Adams said Monday. “It would feel like a success for us when we make it out of the group and then continue on in the tournament.”

A draw or a loss Tuesday night would eliminate the Americans, who tied Wales 1-1 and England 0-0. England leads Group B with four points, followed by Iran with three, the U.S. with two and Wales with one.

During unusual pre-match news conferences, Adams was asked to defend the U.S.’s treatment of Black people and chastized for pronoucing the opponent “Eye-ran” instead of “E-ran.” American coach Gregg Berhalter was questioned about U.S. immigration and Naval policy and apologized for the U.S. Soccer Federation’s decision to strip the emblem of the Islamic Republic from Iran’s flag on social media.

The USSF’s flag decision was meant to support women protestors in Iran.

“We had no idea about what U.S. Soccer put out,” Berhalter said. “All we can do on our behalf is apologize on behalf of the players and the staff.”

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz was queried about Sunday’s flag flap, which prompted the governing body of Iranian soccer to demand FIFA expel the U.S. from the tournament. He said he did not intend to use the controversy as motivation.

“If after 42 years in this game as a coach I still believe that I could win games with those mental games, I think I did not learn nothing about the game,” he said.

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