Gregg Berhalter: USA vs Iran will be hotly contested game

The USA vs Iran is a politically charged match because of the geopolitical tension between the two countries. The rivalry started in the 1998 World Cup when Iran drubbed the USA 2-1.

The USA coach Gregg Berhalter described Iran game as the “first knockout game” of the Qatar World Cup. The USA faces Iran in a must-win game at Al Thumama Stadium on November 30, 2022.

The USA coach Gregg Berhalter described Iran game as the “first knockout game” of the Qatar World Cup. The USA faces Iran in a must-win game at Al Thumama Stadium on November 30, 2022. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

The USA vs Iran is a politically charged match because of the geopolitical tension between the two countries. The rivalry started in the 1998 World Cup when Iran drubbed the USA 2-1.

Much-awaited Iran vs USA FIFA World Cup 2022 match is scheduled for November 30 kick-off. After holding England to a goalless draw on Friday night, the USA coach Gregg Berhalter faced tricky questions about the game against Iran, which is fresh from a clinical 2-0 win over Wales.

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Berhalter said the Iran game would be ‘hotly contested, but not because of relations between our countries’.

The USA vs Iran is a high-octane match because of the geopolitical tension between the two countries. The rivalry started in the 1998 FIFA World Cup when Iran drubbed the USA 2-1.

Iranian fans in the grandstand celebrate their 2-1 victory over the USA, as the result is flashed on an electronic scoreboard during the FIFA World Cup Group F match played at the Gerland Stadium in Lyon, France, on 21 June 1998.

Iranian fans in the grandstand celebrate their 2-1 victory over the USA, as the result is flashed on an electronic scoreboard during the FIFA World Cup Group F match played at the Gerland Stadium in Lyon, France, on 21 June 1998. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

From the game standpoint, Wednesday’s match is important for both teams, with the USA facing Iran in a must-win game, while a draw or a win will be enough for Team Melli to seal a Last 16 berth.

‘United by a common love of football’

“I have played in three different countries, and I coached in Sweden, and the thing about football is you meet so many different people from all around the world, and you are united by a common love of the sport,” said Berhalter.

“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 are footballers and we are going to compete and they are going to compete and that is it,” he added.

‘Focus on preparation’

Berhalter, however, described the match as the “first knockout game” of the Qatar World Cup.

“We win or we are out of the World Cup, and that is going to be the focus of ours in preparing the team,” Berhalter said.

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“But most of all we will need to understand the intensity Iran’s going to bring. We going to have to be up for it if we want a chance to advance,” added the 49-year-old coach.

Placed in Group B, the USA is currently third on the table with two draws, while Iran is second with a win and defeat.

The USA vs Iran match will start at 12:30 AM IST.

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