USMNT enters World Cup clash against Iran in political context


Gregg Berhalter, asked Monday about the stakes in the United States’ final group stage game against Iran, responded with annoyance and acceptance.

“It’s interesting how you asked [the question],” he said. “You say it seems a bit illogical to judge [four years on one game,] but we go ahead and ask anyway, right? And that’s our business. Our job is that we will be judged on what we do at the World Cup. So it’s good. We’ll take care of it.

The only thing Berhalter got wrong was how long Tuesday will be a referendum. It’s not just the four years since he was hired to lead the United States Men’s National Team. These are the five years that have passed since the most embarrassing moment in football in this country’s history, the failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the defeat against Trinidad and Tobago, the moment when it all comes down to whether you like it or not.

For five years, the United States developed their national team program by hiring Berhalter and developing many of its promising young players into roles with top European club teams, which resulted in winning the CONCACAF Nations League and the Gold Cup. The United States traveled to Qatar with a qualifying gauntlet and proved on Friday that they could hold their own, even with England, at this tournament.

Gregg Berhalter speaks to the media before the USMNT game against Iran.
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Failing to win against Iran, however, when a loss or draw means elimination, and all of that means nothing. It’s five years that come down to 90 minutes – 90 winnable minutes – the result of which will set the tone for another four years leading up to the 2026 World Cup on home soil.

Is it right? Who cares about fairness?


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“I think the work we’ve done over the last four years, there’s been so many ups and downs in the journey and I feel like recently in the last year we’ve finally started to find some consistency,” captain Tyler Adams told reporters in Doha. “Especially having to go through this process of qualifying for the World Cup for a lot of us, our first experience in this cycle. Coming now to the World Cup and it’s also a first experience for a lot of us, our first objective on the agenda was to get out of the group by all means…. We can now achieve this objective [Tuesday].”

To add even more, there is a distinct political context to this game, with protests raging in Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman arrested and beaten for wearing a hijab incorrectly, and the general situation between the United States and Iran. Berhalter and Adams were questioned nine times on issues ranging from US warships in the Persian Gulf to social media support for the US Soccer Federation to protesters leaving the Islamic Republic symbol of the Iranian flag.

For this particular offence, Iranian state media on Monday called for the United States to be expelled from the World Cup entirely and suspended for 10 games. Berhalter apologized, saying the gesture was made without the knowledge of the player or the staff.

But it was Adams, said he mispronounced Iran’s name and when asked by an Iranian reporter about portraying a country with a history of discrimination as a black male, gave a take-home answer. .

“Growing up for me, I grew up in a white family with obviously African American heritage and background as well,” he said. “So I had a bit of different cultures, I was very easily able to assimilate into different cultures. Not everyone has that facility and ability to do that and obviously it takes more time to understand. Through education, I think that’s super important. Like you just educated me now about your country’s pronunciation. It’s a process. As long as you see progress, that’s the most important thing. important.

world Cup
USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter.
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Tyler Adams
Tyler Adams has been pressed with political questions by Iranian media.
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Amid a cynical World Cup, there was positive evidence that Adams, 23, represents his country’s best off the pitch.

Tuesday is an opportunity to show that this team does the same on the pitch.

New York Post

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