World and Sports Collide — The 2022 FIFA World Cup


(AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)

A father and son celebrate after the U.S. scores against Iran in the first half at a watch party for the USA vs Iran World Cup match at Wunder Garten, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, in Washington.

On Tuesday, November 29, millions of fans across the United States watched nervously as the Men’s National Team faced Iran in the last group stage game for FIFA’s 2022 World Cup. The U.S. pulled through with a 1-0 win, allowing the team to progress through group stages and into the knockout stages. 

Going into the game, the United States was in third place in Group B and needed a win against Iran to continue in the tournament. With their draw against Wales and England in the previous games, Iran was leading in points over the Stars and Stripes. 

Many did not know what to expect from this game with the U.S. earning a draw against England, a team that Iran lost to by a score of 6-2 in their game opener. However, Iran defeated Wales 2-0, the team the U.S. tied against in its opener. With these statistics, many struggled to predict who would be the victor since both demonstrated their strength as a team. 

In the 38th minute of the game, Christian Pulisic scored the deciding goal with an assist from Sergino Dest. Pulisic was injured in the process which forced him to sub off at halftime for Brenden Aaronson. Pulisic went to the hospital during the game where he was diagnosed with a pelvic contusion. 

The United States held onto the lead for 45 long minutes against the Iranian team. Tyler Adams, the captain of the U.S. team, received a yellow card along with three other Iranians during the match. With 9 minutes of time added on, Iran failed to tie the game, giving the victory to the United States. 

The game was evenly matched with about 50% possession for both teams. The U.S. dominated in shots on goal with eight over Iran’s one attempt. Both teams had a considerable amount of fouls with 14 for Iran and 10 for the U.S. 

The United States progressed through the World Cup where they faced the Netherlands in the first knockout game of the tournament. Unfortunately, the U.S. lost 3-1, ending their time in Qatar. However, the Men’s National team will return for the 2026 World Cup which the United States, Canada and Mexico will be hosting. 

Interestingly enough, this game became a lot more culturally significant when looking at the political situations in both countries at the time of the game. In the United States, Americans are coming down from the tension of the midterm elections which saw the culmination of several years of divisive political events. These include the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, the Jan. 6th Insurrection and the withdrawal of all US troops from Afghanistan in August 2021. More recently, the US has dealt with internal issues, from the controversy around supposed policies like critical race theory and LGBTQ+ rights. Lastly, inflation tore through the country in recent months, heavily affecting the nation’s economy.

However, globally speaking, the situation in Iran has been much more well-known. Back in September, the Iranian morality police apprehended a young Kurdish woman named Mahsa Amini who later died in custody. This sparked massive protests across the country over the Islamic state’s authoritarian rule over everyday life. As of the time of this writing, over 300 people have lost their lives in these protests. Both the death of Amini and the state’s crackdown on protests drew criticism from almost every corner of the globe.