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USA World Cup Match 3: Iran


Captain Ron

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Hey guys, I know this isn't getting much coverage, but we are playing Iran tomorrow!

 

image.png          VS          image.png 

 

 

It's pretty simple for the USA: Win or go home.

 

2:00 PM Eastern / 1:00 PM Central

 

Fox regular.

 

Time for some payback for 1998!

 

https://www.espn.com/soccer/fifa-world-cup/story/4812270/oral-history-of-usa-iran-1998-world-cup-interviewsphotos

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Given that this is concurrent with England Wales, let's just make this the Group B discussion thread for the final day so we aren't switching threads

2:00 PM Eastern / 1:00 PM Central - Fox Sports 1:

image.png          VS          image.png 

 

The current group B standings:

Rnk Country        Pts  GD  GF  GA
1. England          4    4   6   2
2. Iran             3   -2   4   6
3. USA              2    0   1   1
4. Wales            1   -2   1   3

BTW - we are technically the road team in the Iran game. 

Edited by Captain Ron
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so im scouting the comp now.

Taremi is bad ass. 

need to lock him down like we did Kane and Bale (looking at you zimmy)

 

Azmoun got game- but i like Ream to hold that down

our middle field should dominate.

just need some shots on targets and hope for some lucky bounce to get something in.

Dest needs to play higher up this game and just whip in balls all day long. 

 

 

image.thumb.png.259b9bf127291300854b75c5aaf8132c.png

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18 minutes ago, VirginiaLonghorn said:

Tomorrow is our turn to party like it’s 1979 …

Party like it’s 1953!*
 

 

 

*that’s when we overthrew their democracy and installed our hand-selected dictator. THAT was the smyear the partying commenced! We’re getting out of the group and have plans going forward, so it is Party like it’s 1953!

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Monday, November 28, 2022
USA-Iran: 'This game isn't being played in a bubble'
by Paul Kennedy


As much as organizers -- especially the 2022 organizers here in Qatar -- would like, you can't separate soccer from politics at the World Cup.

U.S. central defenders Walker Zimmerman and Tim Ream found that out on Sunday night at the team's first media availability ahead of Tuesday's high-stakes match against Iran

Unbeknownst to them, U.S. Soccer had posted images of the Iranian flag without the emblem of the Islamic Republic on some of its social media channels displaying the Group B standings. Minutes before the press conference, a U.S. Soccer spokesperson confirmed the decision to post the altered flag was intended to show support for the women in Iran, but that it was being taken down.

Protests erupted across Iran 10 weeks ago after the death of Mahsa Amini, who had been arrested by the morality police for allegedly violating the country’s conservative dress code.

The stance of Iranian players in support of or against the protestors has been scrutinized since Amini's death, which came shortly before the Iran national team traveled to Austria for its September training camp.

Before the opening game of the World Cup against England, their silence when the national anthem was played was seen as a sign of solidarity with the protests. When they sung the anthem before Friday's match against Wales, the U-turn was viewed as capitulation to the government of ultra-conservative President Ebrahim Raisi.

The Iranian government did not take kindly to U.S. Soccer's use of graphics on social media. Tasnim News Agency, an Iran state-affiliated media, reported that the Iranian Football Federation would file a complaint against U.S. Soccer with FIFA "after the US Men's National Soccer Team disrespected the national flag of Islamic Republic of Iran."

The U.S. Soccer spokesperson confirmed the decision to display the Group B standings without the official flag was made by the federation to show "support for the women in Iran fighting for basic human rights" but also that USMNT players were not consulted. The show of support was simply intended to be a "moment."

Five of the first six questions were soccer questions, the sixth was to confirm the players were unaware of the flag flap.

Zimmerman: "That's correct. We didn't know about it until now."

After that, eight more questions were asked, all but one about the Iranian situation or the 1998 game, beginning with the obvious one ...

Could the controversy pose a distraction and how you feel about the message, which was intended as a show of support for Iranian women fighting for rights?

Zimmerman: "We're huge supporters of women's rights. We didn't know anything about the posts, but we are supporters of women's rights. We always have been. We're focused a lot on Tuesday from the sporting side as well. It's such a focused group on the task at hand, but at the same time, we empathize, and we are believers in women's rights."

The USA more or less treated the 1998 World Cup meeting with Iran as another soccer game, while Iran treated the game as a national cause against the Great Satan. Looking back on the 2-1 loss, some of the U.S. players said they did not play at the same emotional level as the Iranians did. How do you guard against that? Is that a factor you have to consider?

Ream: "The emotional side of having to win to get to the next round is enough to be up for it. I don't think we have to worry about anything else. In terms of what the game means and what is on the line, it is advancing into the knockout stages and if that's not enough to get our guys up, then I think we have issues, but I don't think that's going be a problem in getting up and understanding what this game means to the team."
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What was your reaction to seeing the Iranian players not singing the national anthem before their first game.

Zimmerman: "We can't speak for them and their message. We know that they're all emotional, they're going through things right now, but they're human. And again, we empathize with that human emotion."

Does "Team USA" have a plan to take a stand on the field for human rights, like other teams have done?

Ream: "Like we said, we support women's rights. We always have. We always will. That message will remain consistent. And what we're doing as a team is supporting that while also trying to prepare for the biggest game that the squad has had to [play]."

Does you have anything to say to the Iranian people?

Zimmerman: "We empathize a 100 percent, and we do support women's rights and we know that there's a lot of difficulties, a lot of heartbreak and it's a very disturbing time. We're empathizing and supporting them. That's kind of what we're doing. And again, like Tim said, we are focused so much on Tuesday but that doesn't mean that we aren't in support of them."

What are the conversations that are happening between you and your teammates and between you and the coaching staff about the unique nature of the game and the pressure that you guys find yourself under?

Ream: "It is unique. It is something different. At the same time, we're all human. We understand that there are things going on that are out of our control. So that's where we find ourselves. We understand and empathize with the Iranian people and at the end of the day, we are still having to focus on what is our job, what we've been preparing to do, what we've been focused on for many, many years. This game isn't being played in a bubble. There are a lot of things that happen around the world and people want our opinions, but our opinion is that we want to play the game and the game is for everyone and that's what we're focused on."

How old were you, an Iranian journalist asked, in 1998 when Iran beat the USA?

Ream: "I believe I would've been 9 years old. I don't remember much about that game or the outcome or anything to do with that World Cup. I've done a few too many headers to remember a lot of things that happened last year."

Zimmerman: "I was 5 years old and definitely don't remember it."

A bit of trivia to end: Nine of the 15 U.S. players who played against England were not yet born when the USA played Iran in 1998.

 

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Monday, November 28, 2022

Alexi Lalas on his USA-Iran experience, and his longtime love of the World Cup

by Arlo Moore-Bloom

 

Alexi Lalas (far right) with Rob Stone, Eni Aluko and Maurice Edu in Qatar.

Alexi Lalas is in Qatar serving as Fox Sports' lead studio analyst. Lalas, who joined Fox from ESPN in 2015, has now served as a broadcaster at seven World Cups — after representing the USA at the 1994 and 1998 World Cups. He started all four games for Coach Bora Milutinovic at the USA-hosted 1994 World Cup but Coach Steve Sampson kept him on the bench at the 1998 World Cup in France, where a 2-1 loss to Iran — after losing 2-0 to Germany in the opener — eliminated the USA after two games. On Tuesday, Coach Gregg Berhalter's team must beat Iran in Doha to reach the knockout stage. Because of Iranian takeover of the American Embassy on November 4, 1979, the United States and Iran severed diplomatic relations in April 1980 and have since had no formal diplomatic relationship.

SOCCER AMERICA: How much did the off-field politics play into the game against Iran? Did players get asked about that stuff or feel the effect of it?

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ALEXI LALAS: Growing up in the 1980s, Iran was the boogeyman. It was a good vs. evil type of thing. It was framed and colored by the incredible hostilities we had between countries. We all know that sports is politics and politics is sports — especially at a World Cup.

We knew it was more than a game and probably didn't lean in enough to how much more of a game it was to the Iranian side and people.

The whistle blew and our mentality wasn't right. It was painful and an embarrassment and a shame, if you will, and that it was Iran it was even more so. It wasn't until after the game when we saw the reactions from the players and fans and press that it was much more than a game.

SA: Aside from its early elimination, the USA came out looking bad as players lashed out at Sampson during the tournament. How do you look back on the 1998 World Cup as a whole?

ALEXI LALAS: I was involved and I take my fair share of responsibility of the greatest failure of a U.S. men's national team at a World Cup. The reason why it hurt so much is that it was a wasted opportunity. In 1998, truth be told, we were better. We had all gone on and got great club experience and had a great Copa America in 1995.  [A fourth-place finish that included wins over Chile, Argentina and Mexico.]

We should've been more improved, but we imploded. I don't regret a lot of things in my life, but I definitely would have behaved differently and done some things differently. It hurt soccer and you never want to be a part of something that hurts or stunts the growth of a sport that gave me so much. So it was a step back. And four years later Bruce Arena and that team made it two steps forward.

* * * * * * * * * *


'World Cups change your life'

SA: You went to the 1990 World Cup as a fan. Is that true?

ALEXI LALAS: Yeah, it's true! I bummed around Europe with some high school buddies. I can remember some of it [laughs]. I've got some pictures — we saw the U.S. play Austria and Brazil against Scotland.

Even in the moment when I was watching the U.S. guys running around — even with some guys I played against or with from my generation like Chris Henderson — it never occurred to me that four years later I'd be on the field.

SA: That wasn't a part of your plan?

ALEXI LALAS: It's hard for this generation to fathom what the mindset was back then, in terms of the dreams. It wasn't lack of ambition, it was lack of vision. The pathways were so small and narrow. I didn't have many heroes to emulate in terms of how to get out there.

SOCCER AMERICA: Do you remember the phone call that told you you were going to the 1994 World Cup?

ALEXI LALAS: No one told you that you were on the team. You got told you were off the team. I vividly remember final cuts happening in a parking lot down in Laguna Beach. We did a lot of extra physical work down at the beaches. I'll never forget: a bunch of guys got cut in the parking lot. We all got in our cars, drove away, and no news was good news, basically.

We had kind of been there for the last year-and-a-half [full-time Mission Viejo training camp], and some of us were going to continue onto the World Cup and some of us weren't. That was a harsh type of moment. 

It's hard to sometimes convey the ruthlessness and individuality of that moment. It was more of a feeling of, 'I survived, I'm moving on' — it's not that I didn't have empathy for others, it was just the competition. ... It sucks and it's awkward, because in that moment of triumph you're faced with a moment of defeat for someone that you're friends with and that you care about. It goes back to that ruthlessness and selfishness that I think all athletes have. It's a survival instinct.

 


SOCCER AMERICA: You've said a couple times that the World Cup can change your life. What do you mean by that?

ALEXI LALAS: It changes your life because it offers you opportunities on and off the field that you never had or never fathomed.

The reason I'm talking to you today is because of the 1994 World Cup. That summer completely changed everything for me — I live the power of what a World Cup can do to an individual.

A couple weeks before the World Cup, I'm in the middle seat traveling wherever I'm going.

An older woman is sitting next to me, we strike up a conversation, she asks me what I do and I tell her that I play soccer. She asks me what my job is, I say, ‘Well I play soccer.’

And she said, ‘What do you do for money?’ And I said, ‘play soccer.’

Two weeks later, I'm in front of a billion people.

And two weeks later, I'm going on the Tonight Show. Everywhere you go, people want to buy me drinks. I got offers to play in the EPL, the Bundesliga, and in Serie A. It fundamentally changed my life — and yes, my whole look and persona that I cultivated absolutely helped.


That was done by design — I was comfortable in that costume and that skin, but I recognized that I was in the entertainment industry and it was a performance. It is a stage that is the field and it is a costume that is your jersey. The hair and the makeup — all of that stuff matters.

 


SA: What does broadcasting the World Cup mean to you?

ALEXI LALAS: The [Fox soccer crew] is a team and a family. I've done so many of these things now and it never gets old. I pinch myself and thank my lucky stars. ... It's what I live for. I love all of it — on the field, off of the field.

I get asked all of the time about the adrenaline and excitement of playing. There are a lot of players who when they stop playing still chase that. There are some that never stop — in my experience, you will never ever replicate that feeling However, if you're lucky, and I consider myself lucky, you can find something that excites, energizes and challenges you in a different way. Maybe it can even be more fulfilling — and that's what I've found in broadcasting.

I'm incredibly privileged to do it and I'm a junkie for it. And I want to be surrounded by junkies. Having been in this industry for a long time, you find that a lot of people are just passing through and using it as a way station until something better comes along. I find that you're cheating yourself and cheating the viewer. I never want to do that.

 

Spoiler

Monday, November 28, 2022
Carlos Queiroz on Iran's motivation, what facing USA means to him and the power of soccer
by Paul Kennedy

This is Iran's sixth trip to the World Cup, and the 2022 tournament is its best chance to finally get out of its group.

Friday's 2-0 win over Wales, which followed a 6-2 loss to England four days earlier, was only the third Iranian victory in 17 games at the World Cup. But a win or (probably) a tie against the USA on Tuesday night will send Iran into the second round for the first time. The USA must win to advance.

That opportunity, says its veteran Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz, is the only edge he sees Iran having over the USA when they meet in their final Group B match in Doha.

"This is not about yesterday," he said at Monday's pre-game press conference at the QNCC media center. "This is about tomorrow. Let's try to do our best because to be in the second round would be first time in six World Cup qualifications. This motivation is probably stronger than the United States' because the U.S. did that in 1994. For us, it's more special than for them."

In the modern era, the USA went to the World Cup seven straight time times before missing out on Russia 2018. It advanced out of the group stage in 2002, 2010 and 2014 in addition to 1994 when it hosted the tournament and Queiroz was at the Stanford venue, where Brazil with a 1-0 win eliminated the USA in the round of 16.

He later coached the MetroStars for the second half of MLS's inaugural season in 1996 and then served as a consultant to U.S. Soccer on Project-2010, whose report he authored.

Queiroz said he was proud to coach Iran for the third time with a chance to finally go to the second round but also termed the USA-Iran game a special match for him, given his involvement in American soccer in its formative years.

"I had the opportunity to work for MLS at the beginning of MLS, help football in the United States grow up," he said. "I also worked with the U.S. soccer national team. So being part of this great family of football, the United Nations of football, is an honor and a privilege. As a compliment to the U.S. national team, after those first two games, I can [sum up] in one word the profile of the team — they jumped from soccer to football."

Queiroz praised the USA as a "great team," different from what he saw when he first started following it in the early 1990s.

"The team in this group that produced the best two performances was without any doubt the United States," he said. "They played two great and fantastic games."

In the last 24 hours, controversy swirled about U.S. Soccer's social media posts that altered the Islamic Republic of Iran's flag. Queiroz dismissed the posts intended to show support for women in Iran, saying that if he paid attention to them he'd be "lying to football" and lying to his father and everything he taught him.

"If after 42 years in this game as a coach, I still believe that I could win games with those mental games, I learned nothing about the games," he said. "These collective events surrounding this World Cup, I hope, will be a good lesson for all of us in the future and we will learn that our mission here is to create entertainment and at least during 90 minutes make the people happy."

Queiroz then went on a long speech, beginning with the power of soccer:

"I was born in a place in Africa [Mozambique]. Some of you know my background. You don't know what one simple ball can do for kids who sometimes for one or two days don't eat. They don't have nothing to dress. And when we stop our cars, we open the cars and we put one ball in those parks. And you cannot imagine the magic moment that happens in the faces of kids and from sadness they change in one fraction to a smile. This is our mission."
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He said he supported all causes.

"We have our solidarity with all humanitarian causes, but we are in solitary to the humanitarian causes all over the world, whatever they are, whoever they are. If you talk about human rights, racism, kids that die in schools with shootings, we are in solidarity. We support all those causes. But here our mission is to bring the smiles for the people, at least for 90 minutes, right?"

 

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Spoiler

Soccer America Confidential
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
The U.S. connections of Iran's worldly coach Carlos Queiroz
by Mike Woitalla

When Argentina played Mexico, it faced an Argentine coach, Tata Martino. If the Spaniards were to meet Belgium, they'd see a compatriot on the other bench, Roberto Martinez. There's no chance of the USA playing against a team coached by an American. But on Tuesday it will be competing against an Iran team coached by a man who was once U.S. Soccer's technical advisor for its national teams: Carlos Queiroz.

U-20 World Cup 1989

Born in Portuguese Mozambique in 1953, Queiroz moved to Portugal when the African nation became independent in the mid-1970s. He turned to coaching after a short goalkeeping career and became famous for coaching Portugal to U-20 World Cup titles in 1989 and 1991 with teams including players, such as Joao Pinto, Paulo Sousa, Rui Costa and Luis Figo, who would become part of Portugal's Golden Generation.
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At was at the 1989 U-20 World Cup in Saudi Arabia where Queiroz got his first glimpse of American soccer.

“The United States national team was a great surprise,” said Queiroz on the Bob Gansler-coached team that finished fourth. “I had not known much about American soccer before that.”

The MetroStars

In the middle of MLS's inaugural season of 1996, the MetroStars (now the New York Red Bulls) hired Queiroz to replace Eddie Firmani after they came out of the gates with a 3-5-0 record. Queiroz guided the MetroStars to a 12-12-0 record and a first-round playoff appearance.

“MLS was just a baby when I arrived with a lot of hopes and expectations — but as with all babies, some falls, and ups and downs,” Queiroz said in a 2018 interview with Soccer America. “But I realized immediately the great potential of United States soccer. What I found was the beginning of a huge project to create and help develop soccer in the United States.”

After the 1996 MLS season, Queiroz became head coach of Japan's Nagoya Grampus.

Project 2010, aka the Q-Report

In January 1998, U.S. Soccer, led by President Alan Rothenberg, Secretary General Hank Steinbrecher and Sunil Gulati (Executive Committee, VP Professional Division) commissioned Queiroz to research American soccer and make recommendations to help the USA reach a goal of "making the U.S. national team an honest competitor for the championship of World Cup 2010." Queiroz, who took on the title of U.S. Soccer Technical Advisor, was assisted by Portuguese-American coach Don Gasper.

“I'll never forget my first meeting with President Rothenberg,” Queiroz said. “He said, ‘Carlos, my goal is to win the World Cup in 10 years.’ I think he saw something uncomfortable in my face, or my surprise, because he said ‘Oh don’t worry, I know that probably we will not be able to win the world championship in 10 years. But I want to know what we need to do step by step to become world champions.’"

On July 16, 1998, shortly after the USA exited the 1998 World Cup in France, Queiroz delivered the 113-page Project 2010 report that included 20 pages of excerpts from interviews with soccer people from various parts of the American game.

“I did deep research,” Queiroz said. “I went all over the nation. I talked with dozens and dozens of people — coaches and players and officials all over the United States to try and understand what was really the situation.”

Two dozen years later, much of what was recommended in the Queiroz blueprint, which detailed its 11 recommendations, has been replicated in some form, for example, an expansion of coaching education for specific levels and the significant increase in youth national team coaching staffs and scouts. The Development Academy and its successor MLS Next aren't far off from youth league models in the Q Report.

The plan had been that Queiroz be hired to take charge of the national team program, but after Bob Contiguglia became president, U.S. Soccer’s plans changed and Bruce Arena was hired as national team coach.

“MLS and U.S. Soccer have started, step-by-step, to create visions and projects and opportunities," Queiroz said.

Queiroz move to the MetroStars was his first venture abroad. After the Q Report, he became national team head coach of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Portugal, Iran (two stints), Colombia and Egypt. In between, he served as assistant coach to Alex Ferguson at Manchester United for five years and spent a season at the helm of Real Madrid.

"When you arrive in one place and start a project with a club or national team, the most important thing is to adapt and understand where your starting point is," said Quieroz, who credits his Project 2010 experience and Rothenberg for helping prepare him for coaching in different countries. "You need to adapt your beliefs, your views, your concept to the reality that you have and develop one approach that is genuine and specific for each situation.

"And this exactly something that Rothenberg helped me understand."

 

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5 hours ago, InkaUtexas said:

Just here to say Fuck Iran. Only country I really despised my entire life for lots of reasons. 

My Grandad’s neighbor was one of the folks held hostage at the embassy in Tehran. I could hit a 9 iron to his house.  One of the nicest men I ever met in my life, but never talked about that episode until a few years back.   Fuck Iran. 

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21 minutes ago, MNLonghornFUKM said:


You’re just gonna leave us hanging about what he said? Lol

If was pretty much “Fuck Iran” but to a local newspaper reporter for a town of 5000 on the 40th anniversary.  Haven’t seen him in a while since my grandparents passed away over a decade ago and we sold the house.  When we visit now, it’s in and out to see a few cousins and the like.  Sad. 

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I'm feeling good about tomorrow but we need to press early and often. Iran wants to absorb and counter when its appopriate, the long this goes socreless the more difficult it will become. Really hope we aren't starting Wright, this is a game where Pepi would be perfect, and would like Weah at the #9 with Aaronson providing the creativity on the right who can also cover for Dest when needed out on the right side. 

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49 minutes ago, Pato del Muerto said:

Also re standings- if wales were to beat England, would we be playing to knock them out of the tournament and take their place?

england and wales would have 4 points each- is head to head the first tiebreaker?

Head to Head is 4th, and Goal Differential is 2nd so it really doesn't matter unless Wales drops 6+ goals on England.

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47 minutes ago, Pato del Muerto said:

england and wales would have 4 points each-is head to head the first tiebreaker?


Goal Differential is the first tiebreaker. 

 

3 hours ago, kingkoopa6 said:

It’s so awkward when the snag a photo of a player off of their Grindr page. 😬

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Also I know Weston has been praised this WC, but when the ball has been at his feet in the box he has been very below average. We need him to dominate the air like he has done many times before and provide a good service too. Pulisic hasn't been great off of set peices either so far the past 2 games. 

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8 hours ago, kingkoopa6 said:

so im scouting the comp now.

Taremi is bad ass. 

need to lock him down like we did Kane and Bale (looking at you zimmy)

 

Azmoun got game- but i like Ream to hold that down

our middle field should dominate.

just need some shots on targets and hope for some lucky bounce to get something in.

Dest needs to play higher up this game and just whip in balls all day long. 

 

 

image.thumb.png.259b9bf127291300854b75c5aaf8132c.png

age, club, feet.inches.lbs

across the back (kit #) 5, 18, 19, 23:

29 aek 5.10.152

30 shenzen 6.2.174

32 kayserispor 6.2.172

32 al-duhail 6.1.163

for comparison:

29 scum 6.4.198

we had no chance against harry maguire in the box, but iran is 2 inches shorter and 25 pounds lighter in the middle

for your consideration:

20 dortmund 6.1.174

22 lille 6.0.146

+++

everyone thinks gergg has the conn......

our secret weapons that no one talks about are earnie stewart, technical director, and brian mcbride, general manager

+++

what i would like to see:

we go with both gio and tim up top in a traditional 42 with CP dialing and adams enforcing; the 2 wide players are whoever out best crossers are from each side

so let it be written

 

 

 

Edited by Hagbard Celine
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xposting @Napoleon from the other thread:

Quote

Although we have been wrong a lot…

I feel like Gio or Ferreira will start at the striker position and then the other one will come in as the sub if we still need a goal(s) late in the game. 

Most, but not all, of the player selections have made sense so far, with the exception of not seeing Gio. 

I think that Gregg and his assistants have planned out each match and there has been a desire to keep Gio from being studied. (Maybe this is more hopeful that analytical.)

I think that there has been a game plan for each group stage match. That explains Ream’s, Sargent’s, and Wright’s selections.

Since Iran just needs a draw to advance, they will sit back. This would be a great match for Graham Zusi to curl in 40 yard crosses onto Brian McBride’s head, but that isn’t a club that we have in our bag this tournament. Pepi would be nice to have here, but I don’t know where he would get service unless Kellyn Acosta started at RB.

So having Gio play a 10 with the winger’s racing in behind the back line would be the most effective way to attack a (predicted) low block.

see my post above.  i see the hand of stewart and mcbride in your comments (bolded italicized underlined)

 

reyna is damn good and not showing him until absolutely necessary makes sense

if there is any transitive property at all in this group, we should wax eyeran if we can attack their 6

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chris sutton, bbc

so far he's 56% on his picks

+++

Wales v England (Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, 29 November, 19:00)

The reaction to Gareth Southgate not picking Phil Foden so far is over the top and utterly ridiculous. The bigger concern is England's overall performance here after what happened against the United States.

England have got to find their identity again and I'm confident they will do it. Meanwhile, Wales are looking for one last hurrah from their aging stars but I don't see it happening.

I predicted Wales would finish bottom of Group B, and it looks like I am going to be right.

This could end up being quite a big scoreline but I actually think England might stop when they get to three goals because they will feel sorry for the Welsh.

Sutton's prediction: 0-3

+++

Iran v USA (Al Thumama Stadium, 29 November, 19:00)

England will go through as group winners but deciding who will join them in the last 16 is all on this game, which is very hard to call.

The United States were excellent against England and were very brave on the ball, but they don't seem to have a centre-forward.

Iran were walloped by England but were brilliant against Wales and could have won by more in the end.

I'm going for a draw, which would send Iran through unless Wales beat England and, as I've just said, that is not going to happen.

Sutton's prediction: 1-1

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12 hours ago, InkaUtexas said:

Just here to say Fuck Iran. Only country I really despised my entire life for lots of reasons. 

Same. Their government wanted FIFA to kick us out of the tournament over a tweet supporting women's rights. Fuck them. I seriously hope we beat the shit out of them today. 

epic-flag.gif

 

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6 hours ago, Hagbard Celine said:

chris sutton, bbc

so far he's 56% on his picks

+++

Wales v England (Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, 29 November, 19:00)

The reaction to Gareth Southgate not picking Phil Foden so far is over the top and utterly ridiculous. The bigger concern is England's overall performance here after what happened against the United States.

England have got to find their identity again and I'm confident they will do it. Meanwhile, Wales are looking for one last hurrah from their aging stars but I don't see it happening.

I predicted Wales would finish bottom of Group B, and it looks like I am going to be right.

This could end up being quite a big scoreline but I actually think England might stop when they get to three goals because they will feel sorry for the Welsh.

Sutton's prediction: 0-3

+++

Iran v USA (Al Thumama Stadium, 29 November, 19:00)

England will go through as group winners but deciding who will join them in the last 16 is all on this game, which is very hard to call.

The United States were excellent against England and were very brave on the ball, but they don't seem to have a centre-forward.

Iran were walloped by England but were brilliant against Wales and could have won by more in the end.

I'm going for a draw, which would send Iran through unless Wales beat England and, as I've just said, that is not going to happen.

Sutton's prediction: 1-1

Yeah he seems really unbiased. 

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