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Tense press conference for the USMNT prior to facing Iran

The American boss said that they had no part in the US Soccer Federation social media post removing the central image of Iran’s flag.

USA's coach Gregg Berhalter gives a press conference at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha on November 28, 2022, on the eve of the Qatar 2022 World Cup football match between Iran and USA. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

The United States is getting ready to play against Iran on Tuesday night in the middle of the controversy over a social media post from the US Soccer Federation removing the central image of Iran’s flag. Prior to the last match in Group B, the USMNT boss Gregg Berhalter issued an apology, but he said that the squad was unaware of the posts by the federation.

The US Soccer Federation removed the social media post

“The players and the staff knew nothing about what was being posted,” Berhalter said. “Sometimes things are out of our control. We believe that it’s going to be a match that the result will depend on who puts more effort in, who executes better on the field. And we’re not focused on those outside things. All we can do on our behalf is apologize on behalf of the players and the staff, but it’s not something that we are part of.

We had no idea about what US Soccer put out -- the staff, the players had no idea. And for us, our focus is on this match. I don’t want to sound aloof or not caring by saying that, but the guys that worked really hard for the last four years, we have 72 hours between England and Iran, and we really are just focused on how to get past Iran and [how] we can go to this knockout stage of the tournament.

Of course, our thoughts are with the Iranian people … the whole country, the whole team, everyone, but our focus is on this match,” concluded Berhalter. The US Soccer Federation removed the social media post following the controversy and Iran media outlets were demanding the expulsion of the USMNT from the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Response from the US Soccer Federation

The United States Soccer Federation explained why they made the decision to edit Iran’s flag in their social media post and it was to ‘show support for the women in that country fighting for basic human rights.’ Which the Iranian government responded by saying that the US were ‘removing the name of God from their national flag.’


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