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Iran vs USA is going head to head in the final round of Group B fixtures at the World Cup, with both nations in with a great chance of KOs

Avignyan Mukhopadhyay
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Iran vs USA: Sportz Point

Iran vs USA is going head to head in the final round of Group B fixtures at the World Cup, with both nations in with a great chance of reaching the knockout stages.

Tuesday's meeting between Iran and the USA will be a repeat of an infamous 1998 match. Gregg Berhalter will hope for a different outcome.

In 1998, Lyon's Stade de Gerland played host to what has since become known as the most political match in World Cup history between the United States and Iran.

Relations between the two countries had been tense for three decades at the time, and Iran players were reportedly ordered by Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei not to walk towards their American counterparts during the pre-match handshakes.

Those pre-game formalities were carefully orchestrated to ensure the USA players were the ones walking during the pleasantries, but despite the political hostility, the Iranians handed white roses to their opponents as a peace offering and the two starting XIs posed for a joint photo.

The two nations will tussle for the first time in a competitive game since then on Tuesday, and despite the backdrop of civil unrest in Iran, this contest goes ahead with nowhere near the same kind of political intrigue.

Iran and the USA remain relatively hostile politically, but USA coach Gregg Berhalter was adamant that will not impact what occurs on the pitch during a game that is essentially a winner-takes-all encounter.

"I've played in three different countries, and I coached in Sweden, and the thing about soccer is you meet so many different people from all around the world, and you're united by a common love of the sport," Berhalter said.

"I envision the game being hotly contested for the fact that both teams want to advance to the next round – not because of politics or because of relations between our countries.

"We're soccer players and we're going to compete and they're going to compete and that's it."

Iran can secure their place in the last 16 with a draw, but the USA – who drew their first two matches – need to win.

The USA were eliminated by Iran as a result of a 2-1 loss in that infamous 1998 duel, which was also one of seven defeats they have suffered on matchday three on World Cup group stages.

They've only won their third group game once.

But the USA produced a positive performance during the draw with England, and Berhalter is happy his team have their destiny in their own hands.

"We win or we're out of the World Cup, and that's going to be the focus of ours in preparing the team," he added.

"Any time you're in a World Cup and you get to go into the last game controlling your destiny, that's a pretty good thing."

Match Details:

  • Location:Β Al Thumama, Qatar
  • Stadium:Β Al Thumama Stadium
  • Date:Β Tuesday 30 November
  • Kick-off Time: 12:30 AM IST

Iran vs USA: Where to Watch in India?

Watch on TV: Sports 18/HD

Watch on PC/Mobile/Laptop: Jio Cinema App

Fifa World Cup 2022 Qatar World Cup 2022 United States