USA

Team USA can STILL ADVANCE to the Knockout Stage even if they lose to England


Iran’s stunning 2-0 victory over Wales is not good news for the USA in Group B, but the Reds, Whites and Blues still have a chance to qualify for the Group B stage. World Cup knockout in Qatar regardless of Friday’s result against England. .

After a disappointing 1-1 draw against Wales in Monday’s Group B opener, the United States are now set for their second World Cup match against England at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.

If coach Gregg Berhalter’s side lose to England – one of the tournament favorites after a 6-2 win over Iran – the United States can still progress by beating the Iranians in the final of Group B on Tuesday.

Interestingly, a draw with England won’t change that equation as the United States would still only have two points, which would require a win over Iran on Tuesday to advance.

Of course, a victory over the Three Lions makes things much easier for the United States, which could then advance with a win or draw against Iran on Tuesday. And even if the United States somehow loses to Iran after beating England – an unlikely series of events – the Americans could still advance on goal differential if Wales equaled or beat England on Tuesday.

Long story short: the US almost certainly needs to beat Iran on Tuesday to advance, regardless of Friday’s result against England.

Timothy Weah of the United States stretches during the USA training session at Al Gharafa SC

USA coach Gregg Berhalter looks on during Thursday training in Qatar

USA coach Gregg Berhalter looks on during Thursday training in Qatar

Iranian players celebrate a 2-0 win over Wales on Friday after losing 6-2 to England on Monday

Iranian players celebrate a 2-0 win over Wales on Friday after losing 6-2 to England on Monday

Team USA's match against England will be at 10:00 p.m. local time in Qatar, but at 2:00 p.m. EST in the United States

Team USA’s match against England will be at 10:00 p.m. local time in Qatar, but at 2:00 p.m. EST in the United States

The bad news for the United States came crashing down in the second half of Monday’s draw against a Welsh side who did the same in the final moments against Iran.

Rouzbeh Cheshmi scored eight minutes into stoppage time to break a scoreless stalemate and Iran then beat Wales 2-0 at the World Cup on Friday.

Cheshmi’s strike from outside the box was just beyond the diving reach of Wales substitute goalkeeper Danny Ward, who was pressed into action when starter Wayne Hennessey was sent off at the 86th minute.

Ramin Rezaeian added a second goal moments later and Iran celebrated wildly as some of the Welsh players fell on the pitch in disbelief.

Ramin Rezaeian of IR Iran and Daniel James of Wales battle for the ball during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between Wales and IR Iran at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium

Ramin Rezaeian of IR Iran and Daniel James of Wales battle for the ball during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between Wales and IR Iran at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium

While that may not matter for a group of 20-somethings who face Iran on Tuesday, older American football fans remember the heartbreak of 1998, when the Iranians stunned the team American in France.

Relations between the two countries had been hostile since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, which ousted the pro-American Shah and eventually led to a protracted hostage crisis that badly marred President Jimmy Carter’s re-election bid the following year. .

When the teams met in 1998, French riot police were on hand at the Stade de Lyon, but were ultimately not needed. The teams did their best to reduce tension by posing together in a group photo. Iranian players even brought white roses to their opponents.

A spirited and unmistakable game saw Iran win 2-1, their last World Cup victory before Friday. Neither team managed to progress beyond the group stage.

Brian McBride and David Regis of USA and Karim Bagheri of Iran in action during the World Cup 1st Round match between USA (1) and Iran (2) at Olympic Park on June 21, 1998

Brian McBride and David Regis of USA and Karim Bagheri of Iran in action during the World Cup 1st Round match between USA (1) and Iran (2) at Olympic Park on June 21, 1998

Iranian and American supporters wave their national flags June 21 at the Gerland stadium in Lyon, central France, ahead of the second group F first round match of the 1998 FIFA World Cup between Iran and the United States.

Iranian and American supporters wave their national flags June 21 at the Gerland stadium in Lyon, central France, ahead of the second group F first round match of the 1998 FIFA World Cup between Iran and the United States.

Nader Mohammadkhani, Mohammad Khakpour of Iran and Brian McBride of USA in action during the 1998 FIFA World Cup match between Iran and USA at Stade de Gerland on June 21, 1998 in Lyon, France

Nader Mohammadkhani, Mohammad Khakpour of Iran and Brian McBride of USA in action during the 1998 FIFA World Cup match between Iran and USA at Stade de Gerland on June 21, 1998 in Lyon, France

Relations between the countries became strained again after then-President Donald Trump announced in 2018 his intention to withdraw the United States from the nuclear deal negotiated with Iran.

Other political issues are already looming over Tuesday’s USA-Iran match.

Tensions rose on Tuesday as supporters supporting the Iranian government harassed those protesting against it and stadium security seized flags, t-shirts and other items expressing support for the protest movement that has taken hold. is taken over by the Islamic Republic.

Some fans were prevented by stadium security from bringing pre-revolutionary Persian flags to face Wales at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium. Others carrying such flags were snatched from their hands by pro-government Iranian supporters, who also shouted insults at supporters wearing T-shirts with the slogan of the protest movement gripping the country, “Woman, life, freedom”.

Unlike their first match against England, the Iranian players sang their national anthem before the game as some fans at the stadium cried, whistled and booed.

The national team has come under scrutiny for any statements or gestures regarding the nationwide protests that have plagued Iran for weeks.

Iranian fans are blocked by security personnel as they celebrate their team's 2-0 victory in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between Wales and IR Iran at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium

Iranian fans are blocked by security personnel as they celebrate their team’s 2-0 victory in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between Wales and IR Iran at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium

Shouting matches erupted in queues outside the stadium between supporters shouting “Women, life, freedom” and others shouting “The Islamic Republic!”

Small crowds of men surrounded three different women giving interviews about the protests to foreign media outside the stadium, disrupting broadcasts as they angrily chanted, “The Islamic Republic of Iran! Many female fans appeared shaken when supporters of the Iranian government shouted at them in Farsi and filmed them in close-up on their phones.

The turmoil overshadowed the start of Iran’s World Cup campaign. The opener against England on Monday was the scene of protests as anti-government supporters held up signs and chanted in the stands. Prior to this match, which Iran lost 6-2, their players remained silent as their national anthem played and did not celebrate their two goals. On Friday they sang the anthem and wildly celebrated their goal in the 2-0 win over Wales.

Ayeh Shams of the United States, who was at the game against Wales with her brother, said security guards confiscated her flag because it bore the word ‘women’.

“We are first generation Americans. Our parents were born in Iran. We are just here to enjoy the games and give a platform to the people of Iran who are fighting against the Islamic regime,” Shams said.

Iranian fans celebrate outside the stadium after beating Wales 2-0 in a stunning Group B

Iranian fans celebrate outside the stadium after beating Wales 2-0 in a stunning Group B

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