How US, Iran match up on the pitch as tensions rise


Doha, Qatar — Less than 24 hours from kickoff, drama surrounding United States of america Matches against the men’s national team Iran The fever has reached its peak on Tuesday. Not only is everything in play for on the field, but off the pitch there is also growing discontent between the geopolitical rivals.

Throughout this World Cup, discussions involving Iran have revolved around conditions at home, where 410 protesters have been killed in two months of unrest following the death of a 22-year-old woman in the custody of the country’s morality police. In an effort to show solidarity with those protestors, US Soccer Federation briefly displays Iran’s national flag on social media without the Islamic Republic’s emblemAs a result, the Iranian government reacted fiercely, accusing the federation of removing the god’s name from its national flag.

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That is the backdrop against which Tuesday’s group-stage finale will be played. On the ground, both the countries will play for a place in the knockout rounds. America is third in Group B with two points wales And EnglandAnd Carlos Queiroz’s team will have to beat them if they want to make the round of 16. Meanwhile, second-placed Iran will advance to the group stage with any result but a defeat.

This match is shaping up to be one of the most intense matches of the group stage. So how does it go once the game starts? ESPN asked Jeff Carlisle and Gabriel Tan to find out how these two teams match up.

What has worked for America? What else is not?

The US has been excellent defensively so far, which has been a pleasant surprise. The center of defense was considered a weak spot, but with the entry of Tim Ream into the lineup walker zimmerman Amazing work done. they didn’t even do it alone Tyler Adams Winning an impressive 85.7% of his tackles. As a team, the US have been effective with their pressing, while troubling England matt turner It has become firm in the goal. The only hiccup – and yes, it was a big problem – was a late penalty by Zimmermann against Wales.

The big issue for the Americans has been their inability to find the net on a consistent basis. Manager Greg Berhalter felt his team created chances but didn’t finish them. There is some truth in the US doing poorly in terms of expected goals (xG) (1.42) compared to actual goals (1). The reality is that the xG mark ranks 26th out of 32 teams in the World Cup, and the United States is only 15th in terms of chance creation with 14.

One major problem is that America has struggled to execute in transition, with the final pass often fumbled. The Americans also had no success on set pieces, which was considered a strength of this team. Against Wales, it was due to some poor set-piece delivery christian pulisicHowever this was rectified against England. — Carlisle

What has worked for Iran? What else is not?

A nightmare start to the tournament saw Iran lose 6–2 to England, and one thing that clearly didn’t work was Queiroz’s overly cautious approach, given that they scored 5–4–0. Fielding regardless of number of goals eliminated. 1 formation full of defensive minded players. The fact that the Three Lions were also on song that night didn’t help Iran’s cause, but the star striker’s outing was not without positives. Mehdi Teremi Showed what he is capable of with two goals.

It also seemed that Queiroz may have canceled the England tie as the team could afford to lose Melli, as he regularly left out first team players. Sardar Azmoun And Sayeed Ezatolahi On the bench.

Four days later, a much improved Iran showed what they were made of as they dominated Wales, albeit a late exit due to some injury-time strikes, to claim a 2–0 victory. With Taremi and Azmoun’s two-pronged attack always offering an option, and Iran’s wide players often breaking through with pace and drawing out plays, the Welsh defense was torn apart and the Iranians could find themselves outnumbered even more. Could have won by margin.

The difference between when Iran is on the back foot and when they want to attack with intent is starkly clear. — Body

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Tim Ream and Walker Zimmerman offered their support to the Iranian people after US Soccer removed a social media post including an Iranian flag without the Islamic Republic’s emblem.

Where there will be victory and defeat in this game

I think two parts of the ground will be important. On the defensive side, the US will need to sniff out Iran’s transition opportunities. Since Iran only need a draw to advance, Team Melli is expected to sit back and try to withstand the pressure and then hit their opponents on the break. This would put a premium on the US to ensure they remain closed on Iran’s bombers, even when the Americans have the ball.

On the attacking side, the opposition’s penalty area is where the US will need to be far better, both in terms of delivery and finishing. It’s also a game that’s crying out for technical potential Giovanni Reyna, This means whether he has to start at striker or is yet to be seen at wide. Berhalter said Monday that he does not want to stick with his three strikers — Jesus Ferreira, josh sargent, Haji Wright – But given the stakes involved, he needs to figure out a way to get his best attacking players on the field, and with little space behind the defense likely to mean that Reyna’s clean touch, willingness and creativity will be required. — Carlisle

Queiroz knows he has two top-class strikers in Taremi and Azmoun. Notably, the former has already shown what he can do against quality opposition in England, and is no one-hit wonder either, scoring five times. FC Porto this season Champions League alone.

The key to victory on Tuesday, as it was against Wales, was to ensure that both received a consistent supply of opportunities in one-on-one situations. While both are decent in the air, Iran could be better off being more complacent in the final third as it worked well for them against both the English and the Welsh, whose backlines arguably have similar physical profiles to the United States.

Still, in order to start working the ball in and around the opposition’s territory, they have to be in possession first, and that’s where the engine room battle between USA duo Adams and Weston McKenney And Iran’s Ezatolahi and Ahmed Nourolahi could prove decisive. There is also talk of reducing Pulisic’s impact and with him rotating between right backs, it will be interesting to see if Queiroz keeps up with the goal-scoring ramin rezayan or reverts to a more defensive mind Sadegh Moharmi, — Body


US 2-1: I think the US gets it done, but by the narrowest margin. Look for McKennie to get one, if not both, goals via a set piece. — Carlisle

Iran 2-1: Team Melli will have no shortage of motivation to rise to the occasion and for another tournament underway, they really have the quality to back it up. last time out spain And portugal In the end it proved too much to overcome, but Iran will be confident that – after watching Wales – they can do the same against the US to reach the round of 16. — Body

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