The teams started the game strong, with the United States scoring a goal just over a third of the way through the match. However, the scorer, Christian Pulisic, collided with Iran’s goalie. He stayed off the field for several minutes while he recovered, but was eventually able to return and avoid a substitution for the rest of the half. Pulisic would not come back out for the second half, however, and was replaced by Brenden Aaronson.
At the start of the second half, the score remained 1-0.
For the U.S. men’s national team, winning the game is the only way to advance to the knockout stage of the international tournament. While the team has only scored one goal in the World Cup so far, having tied against Wales 1-1 and playing to a 0-0 draw with England in earlier matches, they have offered a strong defense.
Meanwhile, Iran was able to beat Wales 2-0 in a match earlier in the group stage, though they lost 6-2 to England.
This is the first time the two teams have played each other in over 20 years. In 1998, Iran beat the U.S. 2-1. It was Iran’s first-ever win in the World Cup. Neither country advanced out of the group stage that year.
While the U.S. needs a win to advance, Iran could advance with a win or draw.
The game also comes at a: On Monday, a press conference with USA coach Gregg Berhalter and captain Tyler Adams disintegrated into chaos when the two traded barbs with Iranian state media journalists. Adams, who is Black, was criticized for mispronouncing Iran, and one reporter asked him if he feels “OK to be representing the U.S.” when “there is so much discrimination happening against Black people in America.”
Adams responded by saying that the country is “continuing to make progress every single day.”
Throughout the tournament, Iran has faced criticism for the government’s handling of anti-regime protests following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s “morality police.” The protests, largely led by women and girls, have been the most serious unrest the country’s Islamic cleric rulers have faced since they came to power in 1979, and people across the world have.
An Iranian general estimated thathave been killed so far. The non-governmental organization Iran Human Rights put the number closer to 450 people.
At the World Cup, which was already under scrutiny because of its placement in Qatar, some members of the Iranian teambefore their game against England.
Earlier in the tournament, the United States Soccer Federationof the Iranian flag on social media. The version of the flag shared removed the emblem of the Islamic Republic from the green, white and red flag, to show “support for the women in Iran fighting for basic human rights.”
Iranian state media called for the USMNT to be removed from the World Cup. The social media posts have since been deleted, and the team’s website and new posts now show the correct flag.
On Monday, a protestor wearing a shirt that read “RESPECT FOR IRANIAN WOMEN” interrupted a game between Portugal and Uruguay. The man, who was not affiliated with any of the teams, was escorted off the field, but it hasn’t been confirmed if he was arrested or charged.