USA overcome Iran in tense World Cup battle – RT Sport News

The United States reached the round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup by beating Iran 1-0 in a tough encounter in Qatar.

Knowing that only one victory would be enough to reach the knockout stages of the tournament, the Americans took victory thanks to a first-half goal from Christian Pulisic.

The result meant the United States edged Iran in the Group B standings, finishing with five points from three games.

England sealed top spot in the group with seven points after a 3-0 win on Tuesday against regional rivals Wales, who ended their campaign without a win in Qatar.

England will face Senegal in the round of 16, while the United States have a knockout date with Group A winners the Netherlands.

Given the backdrop of long-running tensions between the two nations, it was perhaps inevitable that the Iran-US clash at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha would come with political overtones.

Indeed, much of the buildup was dominated by accusations of disrespect from the United States, after a social media post from the USA Soccer Federation account featured an edited version. of the Iranian flag without the emblem of the Islamic Republic.

American football officials later confirmed the gesture was meant to show support for protests in Iran that erupted after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in September.

Iranian officials responded by saying they would pursue the matter with FIFA, while US head coach Gregg Berhalter used his press conference on the eve of the match to apologize.

Once football finally took center stage, it was the United States that took the lion’s share in the early stages, but without any end product.

Chelsea striker Pulisic headed a header into the arms of Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand after 10 minutes, before Timothy Weah missed two chances – first when he headed straight for Beiranvand and again when he missed. shot well over the crossbar inside the box.

Iran had its own chance when Mehdi Taremi and Sardar Azmoun threatened, but Tim Ream brushed off the danger for the United States.

The breakthrough came in the 38th minute when Sergino Dest ran behind the Iranian defense on the right flank, heading a header through goal for Pulisic to arrive to return the ball.

Pulisic was injured along the way colliding painfully with Beiranvand, and the American winger would eventually be substituted at half-time.

Weah thought he had doubled USA’s lead in first-half injury time when he beat the Iranian backline and slipped the ball smartly past Beiranvand, but the finish was ruled out by VAR for a marginal offside.

Iran finished the half without scoring a single shot, emphasizing that they had a lot to do to get into the game.

Unsurprisingly, Carlos Queiroz’s men started the second half with much more urgency, forging their best chance of the game in the 52nd minute when Ramin Rezaeian sent the ball into the box and substitute Saman Ghoddos flew past Dest , but he directed his head. above the bar.

Iran fended off a 65th-minute chance when Ghoddos fended off an effort wide of Matt Turner’s goal, and pressed frantically in the closing stages as Morteza Pouraliganji sent a diving header just wide of the post.

Iran desperately called for an injury-time penalty, arguing Cameron Carter-Vickers fired Taremi into the box, but neither referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz nor VAR were interested in their protests.

Iran ultimately failed to find the goal that would have sent them to the round of 16 at the expense of the Americans, finishing the group campaign with one win and two losses from three outings.

The United States avenged their 1998 World Cup loss to the Iranians and remain unbeaten in Qatar.

They will, however, face a stern test against the Dutch when they meet at the Khalifa International Stadium on Saturday.


Back to top button