Disappointing, corrupt, obscenely rich and denatured as a Botox-injected face, modern football still has corners for reconciliation. Iran and the United States were facing each other in the World Cup, two nations whose governments have given up any diplomatic way to understand each other, and a round object that bounces, kicks and heads and goes from one side to the other showed that thousands of inhabitants of both countries they can occupy the same space without major problems for two hours. And suffer, sing and celebrate a goal or mourn a defeat with comparable gestures. The reasoning may sound a bit naive and naive because it is, but where else but around football can this magnificent image be given, this message of twinning, even if it is futile and fleeting. The world is not here to waste anything. [See the classification of group B].
As in 1998, when the two teams met for the first time in the World Cup and gave each other flowers and shared a photograph of one another mingling with each other, soccer prevailed over hatred at the Al Thumama stadium in Doha. If the Iranians won in that edition, this time it was the Americans who deservedly reached the round of 16. They do it as second in the group and will face the Netherlands. All thanks to a solitary goal from Pulisic.
The game was clean but more memorable for the emotions than for the football that was offered. He left few details for posterity. It was noted that the USA, with just two points, needed to win to advance to the game script. Soon the field leaned towards the Iranian goal, with the Americans commanded by the Valencian Yunus Musah, very active in the center of the field. His was the first shot but it went high. It was followed by attempts by Pulisic, who headed weakly, and by former Barcelona player Dest, whose center from the right had so much poison that he had to be intercepted from below with his hand by Beiranvand, a great goalkeeper from what has been seen in Qatar. So did Weah, the son of the legendary player, just before the first goal of the game. The play was magnificent: a deep cross towards Dest's position, he assists the heart of the area with his head, and coming from behind, Pulisic shoots, who was hurt and did not recover. Weah, on the edge of halftime, had a goal disallowed for offside that didn't seem like it, but what would one know if Mateu Lahoz and the all-seeing VAR were there.
On the Iranian lines, their best men, forwards Azmoun and Taremi, watched the game from too far away, hoping to catch a counter-attacking ball that came slowly and with little danger. Iran were much more solid than against England (not difficult) but rather less daring than against Wales.
The pause offered a slightly more ambitious picture of Iran. Carlos Quieroz brought on Ghoddos to replace Azmoun and the newcomer had a promising first approach that was later confirmed with a shot that brushed the goal in the 64th minute. The Iranians went crazy in the stands. A tie was worth them to get into the round of 16 for the first time in their history. The tension was increasing, with Iran looking for the miracle, accumulating the Americans in the last minutes. Pouraliganji was the closest, but his shot went wide. And the penalty that they protested against Taremi (the Iranians surrounded Mateu at the end of the game) did not exist.
The match ended and the good atmosphere between the two hobbies continued to reign in the stadium and its surroundings. The World Cup lends itself to folkloric exhibitions and most of the people are not there to discuss but to have a good time, which is why they have spent a fortune on flights and hotels. There was only a certain suspicion in reality among the Iranians themselves, as divided as other countries around us are now between progressives and reactionaries, only in their case passed through the filter of religion and the corresponding ultras.
The official Islamist flags and women wearing burkas or hijabs coexisted with banners that instead of the central symbol of the Islamic Republic wore the word Freedom. Young girls, with a look comparable to a European one (they were distinguished because they proudly wore the colors of an Iran that was taken from them painted on their faces), were once again interviewed by Western media to ask their opinion on the repression suffered by those who protest against the radical reversal of women's rights. Because football can't change that.
0; Iran: Beiranvand; Rezaeian, M, Hosseini, Pouraliganji, Mohammadi (Karimi, 45 2); Ezatolahi, Noorollahi (Torabi, m.70), Hajsafi (Jalali, m.70) Ali Gholizadeh (Ansarifar, m.77); Taremi y Azmoun (Ghoddos, m.46).
1; Estados Unidos: Turner; Dest (Moore, m.80), Carter-Vickens, Ream, Robinson; Adams, Musah, McKennie (Acosta, m.65); Pulisic (Aaronson, m.46), Sargent (Wright, m.76) y Weah (Zimmerman, m.80).
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP). He showed a yellow card to the Americans Adams (m.43) and the Iranians Hosseini (m.77) and Jalali (m.90 6)
Goal. 1-0, art.38: Pulisic.
Incidents: Match corresponding to the third and final day of group B of the Qatar 2022 World Cup played at the Al Thumama stadium in Doha before 42,127 fans.