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USA Defeats Iran Amidst Political Woes

Team USA eliminates Iran 1-0 as they advance to the knockout rounds of the World Cup.
It seemed as though Iran had home field advantage as the majority of the crowd sported red, green and white colors.
However, the rough start for Iran ultimately cost them the game as Team USA’s Christian Pulisic scored the only goal 37 minutes into the first half. Pulisic was injured upon scoring the goal and was unable to return to play.
Iran seemed to have picked up momentum in the second half of the game, where they had possession of the ball for most of the remaining time.
However, despite the offensive pressure, team USA was able to keep themselves in the championship running.
The highly anticipated game went underway in the midst of mounting politicized pressure between the two nations. The last time these teams met was in 1998 where team Iran beat USA 2-1.
Two days before the game, the U.S. National Men’s Soccer Team’s (USNMC) official twitter account posted a graphic of the upcoming schedule. The image seemed to have the Iran flag missing the center emblem symbolizing the Islamic Republic, which says ‘Allah’ or God in Farsi.
The caption read “All eyes on Tuesday”.

Shortly after, Iran’s football federation filed a complaint with FIFA stating that it went against their discrimination code of conduct under section 5.

Hours later, after realizing the threat of disqualification, the USNMC twitter account deleted the misrepresented flag and reposted it in its rightful form.
FIFA did not seem to take action against team USA for altering Iran’s flag. Many Iranians took to Twitter to express their thoughts on the matter.
One man, Ehsan Safarnejad tweeted: “Based on FIFA’s rules, disciplinary measures should be taken with regard to U.S. team as they have insulted both our religion and our country’s dignity by removing the Allah logo from our flag… Muslims must not stay silent about this blatant insult towards their faith!”

After today’s Team USA win, the USNMC twitter account posted, “We’re not packing our bags! We’re not going home! “We’re moving on!”

On November 17, a press conference was held with Team Iran where media outlets tried to get players to comment on current conditions of their home country. Recent headlines circulated that team Iran was being threatened by their government over singing the national anthem.
However, the players did not take the bait.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh responded to a question by saying, “I’m assuming you’re part of the English media (probably) … I’m sure if England wasn’t in our group you wouldn’t be asking these questions,” he said. “We’ve been facing these headlines the past couple weeks as we get closer to the World Cup, for whatever that reason is.” Jahanbakhsh continued to say that he and his team are present for their duty and their duty is to play football.

Team USA will move on to play the Netherlands in what will be a life or death match-up on Saturday December 3 at 10 a.m.

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  • Mariam Dahoui Charara

    Mariam Dahoui Charara earned an undergraduate degree in journalism and a Masters in Teaching from Wayne State University. Initially an aspiring sports writer, her passion for writing shifted after having a family. She is a published author of children’s Islamic books and aims to continue to write with purpose from her hometown of Dearborn, Mich.

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