Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! We are one sleep away from the USMNT’s match against Iran. I quite literally switched my work schedule so that I can be off to watch this match for the U.S. There is no shame if you are not able to do so. I had to watch the first two matches at work. However, if you are able to be at a watch party for this important match, do so. Let’s get to the links.
USMNT Ready for Iran
The USMNT will play Iran in the final match of the group stage for each country. The U.S. needs to win to advance to the knockout round of the World Cup. The last time the two teams met in a World Cup match was in 1998 when Iran defeated the Yanks 2-1 in the group stage. The U.S. will be looking for a very different result this go around. Iran is the 20th ranked team in the world according to FIFA’s rankings while the U.S. is ranked 16th. Here is everything else you need to know about the USMNT’s next opponent.
The big news ahead of the match involved U.S. Soccer removing the Islamic Republic symbol from the Iranian flag on a social media post. It was done in support of women’s rights in Iran, though the players didn’t know about it until a press conference. Walker Zimmerman, who is part of the team’s leadership council, reiterated their support of women’s rights. The post was taken down, but Iran’s football federation is reportedly calling on FIFA to ban the USMNT for 10 matches.
US Soccer will restore the Islamic Republic emblem to Iran's flag after briefly removing it. “We wanted to show our support for the women in Iran with our graphic for 24 hours.” State-affiliated Tasnim reports the Iranian FF will ask FIFA to ban the #USMNT for 10 games. pic.twitter.com/nAqr2k3gqJ— Ben Jacobs (@JacobsBen) November 27, 2022
If you weren’t already supporting the U.S. in this match, beating a country that has arrested over 18,000 people who are protesting for women’s rights, including some players from its national team setup, is a really good reason to do so.
Canada Crashes Out of the World Cup
Former Lions Cyle Larin, Richie Laryea, and Kamal Miller all started in Canada’s 4-1 loss to Croatia on Sunday. The Canucks scored in the second minute to take a 1-0 lead over Croatia. Alphonso Davies made history as it was Canada’s first goal in a men’s World Cup. It all went downhill from there, with Croatia scoring four unanswered goals to eliminate Canada from the World Cup. Canada will play its final match of the 2022 World Cup on Thursday against Morocco.
World Cup Group Stage Heats Up
It was a day of upsets in the other two matches on Sunday. Last Wednesday, Costa Rica lost 7-0 to Spain and Japan beat Germany, 2-1. Costa Rica looked helpless, and Japan defeated a traditional powerhouse. On Sunday, Los Ticos stepped up and blanked Japan 1-0. It took Costa Rica until the 81st minute for Keysher Fuller to put the Concacaf team on top. It was Costa Rica’s first goal and first shot on target of the tournament. On Thursday, Costa Rica will play a German side that found a late goal in a 1-1 draw with Spain. After a scoreless first half, Alvaro Morata gave Spain the lead in the 62nd minute, but Niclas Füllkrug gave Germany hope with an equalizer in the 83rd. Germany will still need to defeat Costa Rica on Thursday to have any chance at advancing to the Round of 16.
Morocco stunned Belgium with a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Romain Saïss and Zakaria Aboukhlal in the second half. After winning, Morocco now finds itself in a great position to advance and has a chance to win Group F in its match against Canada.
Reports Link Sergio Busquets, Lionel Messi With Inter Miami
Miami is reportedly bringing in Sergio Busquets next season.
Sunday also brought more (but not new) reports of Lionel Messi reportedly being set to sign with Inter Miami CF following the World Cup. Messi is expected to join Miami from Paris Saint-Germain following the European season. The 35-year-old would likely become the highest-paid player in MLS history if he were to join Miami. Busquets and Messi were teammates at FC Barcelona and David Beckham would have to break the bank to bring both in.
There is no telling how these players would fit under Miami’s salary cap or how they would make everyone fit into three Designated Player slots.
- It is incredibly rare that I agree with Wayne Rooney, but it does happen. Rooney called out English fans for booing after the draw against the USMNT. He said that such fans are “stubborn about recognizing the qualities of the opposition.” He is in a position to know.
- Messi and Argentina played Mexico in front of 88,966 fans, the largest crowd at the World Cup since Brazil beat Italy in the 1994 World Cup final in the Rose Bowl.
- Florida State University’s women’s soccer team once again advanced to the College Cup after defeating the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Seminoles will face the University of North Carolina in the semifinals.
- A pair of German soccer fans were stopped by security for sporting rainbow-colored apparel.
That will do it for today. Go USA!