Tried to circumnavigate political questions about Iran: US coach Gregg Berhalter
The World Cup game between USA and Iran on Tuesday evening is eagerly awaited.
However, this is not only due to the sporting starting point - the winner of the game reaches the round of 16 - but also to the political situation between the countries.
In a memorable press conference, US coach Gregg Berhalter and captain Tyler Adams were apparently questioned by Iranian reporters on racism in the US, visa rules between countries and military matters, among other things.
»We support the people of Iran and the Iranian team.
But we're all focused on the game," Adams said.
Pointing out in a harsh tone from the press round that he had mispronounced "Iran", he apologized.
“Sport is an opportunity to bring people together.
We have a game to focus on."
When asked how he felt representing a country where there is discrimination against black people, Adams explained that progress is being made every day.
"It's a process, but as long as you see progress, that's the most important thing."
The US National Coach on the Persian Gulf Fleet
Berhalter should respond, for example, to visa policy between the United States and Iran.
He couldn't say anything about political things, he was a football coach, said the former professional from Energie Cottbus.
When asked about the US fleet in the Persian Gulf, he did not address the issue.
"Sport is something that can bring people and countries together," he said simply.
Tensions have existed between the countries for decades. After the "Islamic Revolution" in 1980, Washington and Tehran broke off all diplomatic relations.
Recently, international criticism has increased, for several weeks tens of thousands have been demonstrating in Iran against the repressive course of the government and the Islamic Republic.
Before the game, the American association had briefly adjusted the flag of Iran and removed the coat of arms of the Islamic Republic in order to show solidarity with the women fighting for human rights in the country.
Berhalter apologized at the press conference “on behalf of the players and staff”.
The final group game at Doha's Al Thumama Stadium on Tuesday night sees progression to Group B. The winner advances to the Round of 16.
In a draw, Iran would be through if Wales don't beat England in the parallel game.
For the first time in 24 years, Iran is back at a World Cup against the USA.
Even at the 1998 tournament in France, the game was charged, and the 2-1 win in Lyon is still celebrated by Iranian officials as the greatest success in national football history.
Expectations are high again this year - including from the people on the Iranian streets who are demanding a sign of solidarity on the world stage.
In the first game, the team failed to sing the anthem collectively and drew criticism from officials after the ensuing 6-2 defeat by England.
The second game Iran won 2-0 against Wales.