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Team USA can STILL PROCEED to the Knockout Stage even if it loses to England

Iran’s stunning 2-0 victory over Wales isn’t good news for the United States in Group B, but the Red, White and Blue still have a chance to progress to the World Cup knockout stages in Qatar regardless Friday’s result against England.

After a disappointing 1-1 draw with Wales in Monday’s Group B opener, the USA are now set for their second game of the World Cup against England at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.

If coach Gregg Berhalter’s team loses to England – one of the favorites of the tournament after a 6-2 victory over Iran – the US can still advance by beating the Iranians in the Group B final on Tuesday.

Interestingly, a draw against England won’t change that equation, as the US still only has two points, necessitating a win over Iran on Tuesday to continue.

Of course, a win over the Three Lions makes things a lot easier for the US, who could then go on to win or draw against Iran on Tuesday. And even if the US somehow loses to Iran after beating England – an unlikely sequence of events to say the least – the Americans could still move up on goal difference if Wales drew or beat England on Tuesday.

Long story short, the US almost certainly needs to beat Iran on Tuesday to advance regardless of Friday’s outcome against England.

Timothy Weah from the United States stretches during the USA Training Session in Al Gharafa SC

Timothy Weah from the United States stretches during the USA Training Session in Al Gharafa SC

US national coach Gregg Berhalter watches Thursday during training in Qatar

US national coach Gregg Berhalter watches Thursday during training in Qatar

US national coach Gregg Berhalter watches Thursday during training in Qatar

Iranian players celebrate a 2-0 victory over Wales on Friday after losing 6-2 to England on Monday

Iranian players celebrate a 2-0 victory over Wales on Friday after losing 6-2 to England on Monday

Iranian players celebrate a 2-0 victory over Wales on Friday after losing 6-2 to England on Monday

Ramin Rezaeian of IR Iran and Daniel James of Wales compete for the ball during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between Wales and IR Iran at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium

Ramin Rezaeian of IR Iran and Daniel James of Wales compete for the ball during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between Wales and IR Iran at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium

Ramin Rezaeian of IR Iran and Daniel James of Wales compete for the ball during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between Wales and IR Iran at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium

Team USA's game against England is at 10 p.m. local time in Qatar, but at 2 p.m. EST in the US.

Team USA's game against England is at 10 p.m. local time in Qatar, but at 2 p.m. EST in the US.

Team USA’s game against England is at 10 p.m. local time in Qatar, but at 2 p.m. EST in the US.

The bad news for the US came crashing down in the second half of Monday’s draw for a Welsh team who did the same in the dying moments against Iran.

Rouzbeh Cheshmi scored in the eighth minute of stoppage time to break a scoreless stalemate as Iran beat Wales 2-0 at the World Cup on Friday.

Cheshmi’s strike from outside the box was just out of diving range for Wales backup goalkeeper Danny Ward, who was called on when starter Wayne Hennessey was sent off in the 86th minute.

Ramin Rezaeian added a second goal moments later and Iran cheered as some Welsh players fell onto the pitch in disbelief.

And while it may not matter to a group of twenty-somethings playing Iran on Tuesday, older American football fans remember the heartache of 1998, when the Iranians stunned Team USA in France.

Relations between the two countries had been hostile since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, which deposed the pro-American Shah and eventually led to a protracted hostage crisis that severely devastated President Jimmy Carter’s re-election bid the following year.

When the teams met in 1998, French riot police were on the scene at the stadium in Lyon. They were not necessary. The teams did their best to defuse tensions by posing together for a group photo. The Iranian players even brought white roses for their opponents.

In a spirited match that was little angry, Iran finally won 2-1, the last victory in the World Cup. Neither team managed to progress beyond the group stage.

Brian McBride and David Regis of USA and Karim Bagheri of Iran in action during the World Cup first round match between USA (1) and Iran (2) at Parc Olympique on June 21, 1998

Brian McBride and David Regis of USA and Karim Bagheri of Iran in action during the World Cup first round match between USA (1) and Iran (2) at Parc Olympique on June 21, 1998

Brian McBride and David Regis of USA and Karim Bagheri of Iran in action during the World Cup first round match between USA (1) and Iran (2) at Parc Olympique on June 21, 1998

Iranian and American fans wave their national flags on June 21 at the Gerland Stadium in Lyon, central France, ahead of the second round of the 1998 Soccer World Cup Group F between Iran and the United States

Iranian and American fans wave their national flags on June 21 at the Gerland Stadium in Lyon, central France, ahead of the second round of the 1998 Soccer World Cup Group F between Iran and the United States

Iranian and American fans wave their national flags on June 21 at the Gerland Stadium in Lyon, central France, ahead of the second round of the 1998 Soccer World Cup Group F between Iran and the United States

Nader Mohammadkhani, Mohammad Khakpour of Iran and Brian McBride of USA in action during the 1998 FIFA World Cup match between Iran and United States at Stade de Gerland on June 21, 1998 in Lyon, France

Nader Mohammadkhani, Mohammad Khakpour of Iran and Brian McBride of USA in action during the 1998 FIFA World Cup match between Iran and United States at Stade de Gerland on June 21, 1998 in Lyon, France

Nader Mohammadkhani, Mohammad Khakpour of Iran and Brian McBride of USA in action during the 1998 FIFA World Cup match between Iran and United States at Stade de Gerland on June 21, 1998 in Lyon, France

Relations between the countries have once again become tense after then-President Donald Trump announced in 2018 that he intended to pull the US out of the Iran nuclear deal.

And other political issues are already looming during Tuesday’s game between the US and Iran.

Tensions rose on Tuesday as fans supporting the Iranian government harassed those protesting and stadium security seized flags, T-shirts and other items showing support for the protest movement that has gripped the Islamic Republic.

Some fans were stopped by stadium security from bringing in Persian pre-revolutionary flags for the game against Wales at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium. Others carrying such flags were ripped from their hands by pro-government Iran fans, who also shouted insults at fans wearing T-shirts with the protest movement’s slogan gripping the country: “Woman, Life, Freedom ‘.

Unlike their first match against England, the Iranian players sang along to their national anthem before the match as some fans in the stadium cried, whistled and booed.

The national team has come under scrutiny for statements or gestures over the nationwide protests that have been plaguing Iran for weeks.

Iranian fans are blocked by security personnel as they celebrate their team's 2-0 victory in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between Wales and IR Iran at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium

Iranian fans are blocked by security personnel as they celebrate their team's 2-0 win in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between Wales and IR Iran at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium

Iranian fans are blocked by security personnel as they celebrate their team’s 2-0 victory in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between Wales and IR Iran at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium

Screaming matches broke out in lines outside the stadium between fans shouting “Women, Life, Freedom” and others shouting “The Islamic Republic!” yelled back.

Small groups of men surrounded three different women and gave interviews about the protests to foreign media outside the stadium. They disrupted broadcasts while angrily chanting, “The Islamic Republic of Iran!” Many female fans seemed shocked when Iranian government supporters yelled at them in Farsi and filmed them up close on their phones.

The unrest has overshadowed the start of Iran’s World Cup campaign. Monday’s opening game against England was the scene of protests as anti-government fans waved signs and chanted in the stands. Before that match, which Iran lost 6-2, the players remained silent while their national anthem played and did not celebrate their two goals. On Friday, they sang along to the national anthem and celebrated as they scored in the 2-0 win against Wales.

Ayeh Shams from the United States, who was with her brother at the game against Wales, said guards confiscated her flag because it had the word “women” on it.

“We are first-generation Americans. Our parents were born in Iran. We are just here to enjoy the games and provide a platform for the Iranian people who are fighting against the Islamic regime,” Shams said.

Iranian fans celebrate outside the stadium after beating Wales 2-0 in Group B

Iranian fans celebrate outside the stadium after beating Wales 2-0 in Group B

Iranian fans celebrate outside the stadium after beating Wales 2-0 in Group B

Source: Dailymail

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