The USA and Iran will take on each other in a high-voltage match at the Al Thumama Stadium in Qatar on Tuesday night. The match will start at 12:30 AM Indian Standard Time (IST).
Ever since the draw in April, the Group B game between the USA and Iran has stood out as one of the highlights of FIFA World Cup 2022 since the two countries share enormous political and historical hostility.
Off-pitch controversies have already set the tone for the match, with the USA football body removing the Islamic Republic emblem from Iran’s flag on its social media posts and former USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann claiming Iran ‘worked the refeere’ in its 2-0 win over Wales.
The Iranian state media also sought suspension of the USA from the Qatar World Cup for the “unprofessional and provoking” activity.
The USA is currently placed third in Group B, while Iran is second with a slender lead. Hence, the winner of this match will have a chance to advance to the Round of 16.
It is the third meeting between the USA and Iran, with the first coming in the 1998 World Cup in Paris, when Iran beat the USA 2-0. Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz will be in charge of the proceedings tonight.
Who is Lahoz?
Lahoz has experience officiating World Cup, La Liga, and UEFA Champions League matches.
Lahoz officiated the Qatar vs Senegal match on November 25, when the latter took three points with a 3-1 win. Overall, Iran vs USA game will be Lahoz’s fourth in a World Cup after the two he officiated in the 2018 Russia World Cup. He also acted as the fourth referee in three games in Russia.
All of Lahoz’s matches came in the group stage. He made his World Cup debut on June 21, 2018, officiating Australia vs Denmark game that ended in a 1-1 draw. In his second game, eventual runner-up Croatia beat Iceland 2-1.
The 45-year-old showed four yellow cards in the Qatar-Senegal game which was interrupted by hard tackles and injuries. In the Norway-Serbia Nations League match in September, he booked two players.
In La Liga, he has officiated matches involving Athletico Bilbao and Real Madrid. In this UEFA Champions League, he has officiated Juventus-Maccabi Haifa and AC Milan-Salzburg games. While he issued two cards in the first game, the second UCL game saw him booking four players, including Olivier Giroud.
On Tuesday, Lahoz will be assisted by his compatriots Pau Cebrian Devis and Roberto Diaz Perez del Palomar on the field. Kevin Ortega of Peru is the fourth official, while Spain’s Juan Martinez is the VAR official.
USA vs Iran Match Officials
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