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US-Iran tensions over World Cup culminate in key game as Americans must win to advance

 


It is the day of the confrontation at the World Cup for the American team. The United States must win a game against Iran on Tuesday to qualify for the tournament.

If they don’t win, the United States Men’s National Team will go home.

Tensions are running high and the tone of the match was set by a heated press conference on Monday where several Iranian state media reporters took aim at the team’s coach and 23-year-old captain Tyler Adams – with questions about immigration, inflation and racism.

A TV reporter called out Adams for mispronouncing Iran and asked Adams, a black man, if he was ‘okay to represent the United States’ when there is ‘so much discrimination against blacks in America”.

“My apologies for the mispronunciation of your country,” Adams replied. “That being said, there is discrimination everywhere you go.”

“In the United States, we continue to make progress every day,” he added.

Adams also said his team were focused on the game against Iran – the first time the countries have faced each other at the World Cup in more than two decades.

In 1998, the Iranian team presented white roses to the American team as a sign of friendship despite political friction. In this match, Iran defeated the United States 2-1.

But this year’s tournament comes as anti-regime protests rock Iran following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s “morality police” in September. Women and girls have led the widespread unrest, which is the most serious challenge to Iran’s Islamic religious leaders since they came to power in 1979.

“We are 100% sympathetic and supportive of women’s rights,” said Team USA player Walker Zimmerman.

Before Iran’s first game at the World Cup, some Iranian players refused to sing the Islamic Republic anthem, a sign that they do not support the Iranian regime.

Journalist Grant Wahl said Iranian players are feeling pressure.

“The Iranian team aren’t playing as well as they did in the World Cup qualifiers, and I think part of that is they’re under a lot of stress,” he said. declared.

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