The United States coach has apologized for the change of the Iranian flag on the networks of the federation

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The coach of the US national team, Gregg Berhalterapologized this Monday November 28 on behalf of the whole team for the change made by your federation of Iranian flag before the decisive match that will face them at the World Cup in Qatar 2022, where qualification for the round of 16 is at stake.

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Berhalter, with his words, tried to lighten the political weight around a football duel between two countries that they have no diplomatic relations for more than 40 years.

The coach’s sporting message, however, was undermined over the weekend by the US Soccer Federation itself, which generated great controversy by posting a version of the Iranian national flag on its social networks removed the symbol of allah.

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US soccer spokesmen They justified the gesture as solidarity with women who have been participating in anti-government demonstrations for weeks, triggered by the death of a young woman arrested for alleged non-compliance with the strict female dress code.

“The players and the coaching staff knew nothing of what was published,” Berhalter said at Tuesday’s pre-match press conference, later adding: “Sometimes things get out of our control… The only thing we we can do is apologize on behalf of the players and the technical team“.

The Iranian federation has shown its anger with the releases finally being pulled by US Soccer on Sunday, e filed a complaint with FIFA about what happened.

Iranian participation in Qatar has been marked by the political context that their country is experiencing. Its players have decided not to sing the anthem in the first match in a gesture interpreted as solidarity with the victims of repression in Iran.

Trying to avoid conflicts between the two countries, the coach focused on the sports match which will start this Tuesday at 16:00 at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha. “Of course, our thoughts are with the Iranian people, with the whole country, with the whole team, but let’s focus on this match”the coach said.

To the United States, third in Group B with 2 points but showing a good performance compared to the other editions, victory is only for him move on to the round of 16 on a return to a World Cup after a painful absence at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Iran, second with a total of 3 points, could only need a draw, depending on the outcome of the other match between England and Wales.

During the press conference, both Berhalter and US Captain Tyler Adams received numerous questions about the conflicts between the two governments, which severed diplomatic ties following the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran.

Both were questioned about other non-football issues, from racism in the United States to visa restrictions on Iranians wanting to travel to the North American country. “I don’t know enough about politics, I’m a football manager”Berhalter answered one of the questions.

“I know many other parties have another feeling towards the party, but for us It’s a football match against a great team, not much more.”held.

“Both teams are desperate to get to the next round. And that’s how we get closer,” he added.

Throughout history, the United States and Iran have met in a World Cup in 1998, with a 2-1 victory for the Iranians.

Berhalter, who has attended two World Cups as a player (2002 and 2006), covered that match as a TV commentator and said it was still fresh in his memory. “That game stuck with me,” he explained. “What I saw from the initial whistle was one team that really wanted to win the game and another that didn’t,” he continued in his account of him.

“Iran wanted to win the match with all their strength. They played very committed, very concentrated right from the initial whistle,” he recalled, but he also looked back to the duel they have this Tuesday: “So that they can win the match by tomorrow what will be the mentality of our group… We don’t want to make the mistakes of the past.”

The position of Carlos Queiroz

For his part, Iranian coach Carlos Queiroz also deflected questions about politics and dismissed suggestions that his side might use the recent controversy over their own flag as ulterior motivation.

“If after 42 years in this coaching game, I believe I can win games with those psychological games, it’s because I wasn’t going to learn anything about the game“said the veteran Portuguese coach.

Queiroz also praised the American performance in Qatar. “We played against a very, very good team, very well organized and with the same dream and the same goal in mind,” said the coach. “I hope my boys can join theirs tomorrow minds, souls, skills and will to win“, culminating in the response.

Source: AFP


Source: Clarin

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