Eight years of waiting is coming down to one moment for the U.S. men’s national team. Can they beat Iran and advance to the knockout round or will their time in Qatar come to an end in the group stage?
The high stakes stretch beyond the field for the two historical adversaries.
On Sunday, the USMNT social media removed the emblem of the Islamic Republic from Iran’s flag post promoting the matchup and tournament, seen as a sign of solidarity for the Iranian protests that have gripped the country. The American players and coaching staff have since clarified that they had no knowledge of the decision, but maintained their support for women’s rights.
For Iran’s part, the team joined many fans in not singing the national anthem in the opening match against England. They were later seen singing in the second game, but reports have since emerged that the Iranian government threatened their families if the team failed to “behave” during Tuesday’s match.
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Needless to say, all eyes will be on the pregame fanfare.
How will Gregg Berhalter manage his lineup after four players picked up yellow cards in the opening game against Wales? Will Brenden Aaronson or Gio Reyna crack the starting XI?
Here’s a look at the complete starting lineups from each team:
Carlos Queiroz, manager of Iran’s national team, has shown he’s not afraid to change up the lineup. He’s back with starting goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand, who left the opening game against England with a head collision.
- G: Alireza Beiranvand (1)
- D: Ramin Rezaeian (23)
- D: Majid Hosseini (19)
- D: Morteza Pouraliganji (8)
- D: Milad Mohammadi (5)
- M: Ali Gholizadeh (17)
- M: Ahmad Noorollahi (21)
- M: Saeid Ezatolahi (6)
- M: Ehsan Hajsafi (3)
- F: Sardar Azmoun (20)
- F: Mehdi Taremi (9)
Berhalter has remained relatively consistent with his starting lineup, but has earned plenty of criticism for his tactical substitutes.
In the must-win matchup against Iran, Cameron Carter-Vickers is making his World Cup debut, replacing Walker Zimmerman in the starting lineup on defense. Josh Sargent is also returning to the starting lineup after being benched against England.
Sergino Dest, Tim Ream, Weston McKennie and Kellyn Acosta all picked up yellow cards against Wales. A second yellow card for any of them would result in them sitting out the next game.
- G: Matt Turner (1)
- D: Sergino Dest (2)
- D: Cameron Carter-Vickers (20)
- D: Tim Ream (13)
- D: Antonee Robinson (11)
- M: Weston McKennie (8)
- M: Tyler Adams (4)
- M: Yunus Musah (6)
- W: Tim Weah (21)
- W: Josh Sargent (24)
- F: Christian Pulisic (10)