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USA vs Iran World Cup Match: Live Rating and Updates

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DOHA, Qatar — The news conference was ostensibly a few soccer game, however the match was the very last thing on the mind of the Iranian reporter as he rose to talk. Gripping the microphone, he put aside his query and as an alternative began with a scolding.

“Our country is known as ih-RAHN, not EYE-ran,” he lectured the USA captain Tyler Adams. “Please, once and for all, let’s get this clear.”

Only then did he offer a matter that signaled this was to not be a routine afternoon on the rostrum.

“Are you OK,” the reporter asked Adams, a Black man who grew up in a white family, “to be representing a rustic that has a lot discrimination against Black people in its own borders?”

On the eve of a critical World Cup match with abounding political and competitive ramifications, Adams, his teammates and their coaches on the USA national team on Monday found themselves caught in the course of a diplomatic feud they’d neither began nor wanted. At their prematch news conference, amid questions that ranged from soccer tactics to U.S. Navy maneuvers, they distanced themselves from social media posts made by their soccer federation over the weekend that showed support for the ladies of Iran by doctoring that country’s flag.

Gregg Berhalter, the USA coach, said that neither he nor any players were involved with the choice to remove Iran’s official emblem and two lines of Islamic script from its flag in posts on Twitter and Instagram, but offered an apology on behalf of the team anyway.

“We had no idea about what U.S. Soccer put out — the staff, the players, had no idea,” Berhalter said.

But he also tried, in vain, to steer the conversation away from politics.

“Our focus is on this match,” he said. “I don’t need to sound aloof or not caring by saying that, but the blokes have worked really hard for the last 4 years. We now have 72 hours between England and Iran, and we actually are only focused on the right way to get past Iran and go to the knockout stage of this tournament. After all, our thoughts are with the Iranian people, the entire country, the entire team, everyone, but our focus is on this match.”

Iran condemned U.S. Soccer’s decision to make use of an incorrect flag, an motion that it said violated the statutes of FIFA, world soccer’s global governing body. The American federation, which has acknowledged the choice to make use of the altered flag was intentional, deleted the posts Sunday and said it might use only Iran’s official flag going forward.

“The intent of the post was to point out support for ladies’s rights,” Michael Kammarman, a U.S. Soccer spokesman, said Monday. “It was meant to be a moment. We made the post on the time. All the other representations of the flag were made consistent and can proceed.”

Iran, nevertheless, was less desperate to move on. On Sunday, a representative of its soccer federation said Iran planned to file a criticism with FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, in search of to have the USA thrown out of the World Cup. (FIFA had no comment on the dispute, and such a request was almost certain to be rejected in any event.)

And on Monday, Berhalter and Adams faced pointed questions from Iranian reporters about topics that included not only racial discrimination within the U.S. but additionally the presence of an American naval fleet within the Persian Gulf; high inflation; and why Iranians need a visa to go to the USA.

The exchange between the reporter and Adams soon went viral online.

Tyler Adams mispronounced Iran and was called out by an Iranian journalist – who followed up with a matter on discrimination in the USA.

His response: An all time classy answer- Captain & Leader. #USMNT 👏 pic.twitter.com/pELQmBttPl

— Stu Holden (@stuholden) November 28, 2022

“My apologies on the mispronunciation of your country,” Adams began his answer, before offering a nuanced response about his own experiences growing up “in a white family with, obviously, an African American heritage.”

The Americans, after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, can advance to the knockout rounds from Group B by defeating Iran, which might also progress with a victory or — in the precise circumstances — a tie.

Over the past few months, and definitely at this World Cup, the Iranian team has turn out to be entangled with its country’s harsh treatment of girls and its crackdowns on personal freedoms under theocratic rule. The team engaged in protests of its own after the September death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, 22, who had been arrested on charges of violating a law requiring head coverings for ladies.

After refusing to sing the national anthem before its opening match, against England, the Iranian team appeared to hitch in before its next game, against Wales, with various degrees of enthusiasm and commitment.

“We will’t speak for them and their message,” U.S. defender Walker Zimmerman said. “We all know that they’re all emotional. They’re going through things straight away. They’re human, and, again, we empathize with that human emotion. So we completely feel for them.”

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