United States Men’s Soccer Defeats Iran in World Cup to Advance

Photo via US Soccer

Photo via US Soccer

By Ethan Russ, Staff Writer

In a hard-fought World Cup victory with Iran on Tuesday, America only needed to score once to help them advance to the knockout stages.

Prior to the game, the U.S. had tied their first two games of the group stage, against Wales and England respectively. America needed the win to help them obtain a top-two spot in their group to keep their dreams of winning the tournament alive.

The match went beyond the soccer field though. Being that these two are political rivals, there was always going to be an aspect of politics involved.

The off-field discussion began with America briefly altering Iran’s flag on multiple platforms to show support for protesters.

The day before the match, American captain Tyler Adams was asked about the Black Lives Matter movement and racial discrimination across America by an Iranian journalist. The American captain replied, “There’s discrimination everywhere you go. One thing that I’ve learned, especially from living abroad in the past years and having to fit in in different cultures … is that in the U.S., we’re continuing to make progress every The game was very evenly matched throughout with both teams having nearly even possession stats, although the U.S.A. created more chances. Popular American soccer player, Christian Pulisic, scored the lone goal in the game’s 38th minute as the U.S. won 1-0.

After the game, another American star, Weston McKennie, said in an interview, “We did it today. At the end, it was a bit [of] a heart-drop, sinking moment, but we got it done and we’re excited to still be here.”

All of the American players worked really hard until the end of the game and it showed in the result. With most of the country’s hopes swinging in the balance, the young squad was able to deliver and keep their hopes of winning soccer’s biggest prize alive.

Regarding America’s involvement in the World Cup, Wayne Hills Teacher, Mr. Hittinger, said, “They’ve been an exciting team. They have had a lot of success in the first half of their matches. The second half has been a little bit shaky and a little bit nerve-wracking for us fans. I think that goes along with youth. I think they had a middle-of-the-road group to compete with. I’m proud of the way they’re playing.” Mr. Hittinger also said, “Do they have the ability to go to the final? Yes, they’ve got the ability to go to the final. How far will they go? I’d be happy if they could get into the quarter-finals. I would think that’s a realistic expectation. I think they have the ability to go far, but again that’ll depend on how this youth is able to handle the adversity and pressure. So far they’ve done very well.”

Though the team looked promising after advancing out of the group stage, they ultimately stumbled in the first round of the knockout stage, losing 3-1 to the Netherlands. Despite the loss, there is no doubt that major progress has been made in the four years since they failed to qualify for the previous World Cup. Hopefully, America can do even better when they joint-host the World Cup with Mexico and Canada in 2026.

Junior Marco Baldino said, “It was a young group that wanted to do their best to make history, but unfortunately they came up short.”