'Win or go home' as US play supercharged group finale vs Iran
Published: Nov 28, 2022 09:41 PM
The task is clear for the United States men's national team when they play Iran in their final Group B game of the World Cup on Tuesday: Win or go home.

While many teams still have multiple options in order to advance to the knockout phase of the tournament, including Iran, the Americans have no choice but to get the three points that come with a victory.

"It sets up our first knockout game of the World Cup," US coach Gregg Berhalter said. "We win or we're out of the World Cup.

"Anytime you're in a World Cup and you get to go into the last group game in control of your own destiny, that's a pretty good thing."

The US team sit third in the group with two points after tying Wales 1-1 and then England 0-0 in an impressive defensive effort. The top two teams advance. England have four points, Iran has three and Wales sit last with one point but are still alive in a long-shot scenario.

Getting a goal, much less a victory, will be a challenge for the US since Iran only need a tie to advance as long as Wales do not upset England and activate a goal-differential tiebreaker. It means Iran will have incentive overload on the defensive end.

England plays Wales concurrently with the US-Iran game, with scoreboard watching also the order of the day.

Iran, who have never advanced out of the group stage, opened the World Cup with a 6-2 loss to England but rebounded for a 2-0 win over Wales.

"I really have to thank the Iranian fans. They helped us play 90 minutes of beautiful football," Iran coach Carlos Queiroz said. "Now, we have to concentrate on the USA. We haven't finished yet."

The US team last reached the final 16 of the World Cup in 2014. The Americans did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup and their best finish was a spot in the 2002 quarterfinals.

Iran defeated the US 2-1 in 1998 in their only World Cup meeting.

Mehdi Taremi has two of Iran's four goals during this World Cup. Timothy Weah is responsible for the Americans' lone tally.