World Cup 2022: Iran soccer manager evokes US school shootings to deflect criticism ahead of crucial game

WCup Iran Soccer
Iran’s head coach Carlos Queiroz attends a press conference on the eve of the group B World Cup soccer match between Iran and the United States in Doha, Qatar, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis) Ashley Landis/AP

World Cup 2022: Iran soccer manager evokes US school shootings to deflect criticism ahead of crucial game

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Iran’s soccer manager for the 2022 World Cup drew parallels from Iran’s oppressive regime to school shootings in the United States to deflect criticism of his team ahead of Tuesday’s final group match against the U.S.

During a press conference Monday, Carlos Queiroz responded to the U.S. Soccer Federation’s removal of the Islamic Republic symbol from the Iranian flag on social media by digging at “humanitarian” problems in the United States.

WORLD CUP 2022: US SOCCER ALTERS IRANIAN FLAG IN SUPPORT OF PROTESTERS

“We have said many times that we have solidarity of all humanitarian causes,” Queiroz said. “But we have solidarity with causes all over the world whoever they are. If you talk human rights, racism, kids dying at schools from shooting[s], we have solidarity with all. But we bring a smile for 90 minutes, that is our mission.”

The stunt of removing the flag triggered calls by the country for a 10-game ban of the U.S. soccer team, claiming it had “offended the dignity” of Iran. A 10-game ban would eliminate the team from the World Cup. U.S. team coach Gregg Berhalter has since apologized for the flag but claimed his players were not aware of the doctored post.

“I can only reiterate that the players and staff knew nothing about what was being posted [and] sometimes things are out of our control,” Berhalter said, according to the Guardian. “We’re not focused on those outside things, all we can do is apologize on the part of the players and the staff.”

It also comes less than 48 hours after German football manager Jurgen Klinsmann offended Queiroz when criticizing Iran’s gamesmanship in its match against Wales on Friday. Klinsmann claimed it was part of Iran’s culture to constantly be in the face of referees and insulted Queiroz’s history in the sport, including his failed attempts to take other countries to the World Cup.

“That’s their culture and that’s why Carlos Queiroz … fits really well in the Iranian national team,” Klinsmann said. “He struggled in South America — failed with Colombia to qualify and he failed with Egypt to qualify as well. Then he went back right before the World Cup to guide Iran, where he worked already for a long, long time. This is not by coincidence, this is all purposely. This is just part of their culture, this is how they play it. They work the referee, constantly in their ears, constantly in your face.”

Queiroz has since called for Klinsmann’s resignation from the FIFA Technical Study Group. However, Klinsmann said he would attempt to smooth things over with Queiroz.

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Protests in Iran erupted in September after the death of Mahsa Amini, who died while in custody of Iran’s morality police. Amini allegedly wore her hijab incorrectly in public, violating the Iranian women’s dress code, and was thereby arrested. Women in Iran have since called for an end to Iran’s current regime, resulting in the deaths of at least 450 people and more than 18,000 arrests, according to the Human Rights Activists advocacy group.

The United States currently has two ties in the Qatar World Cup, giving it two points and making the match against Iran pivotal for its future in the international tournament. Iran has three points with one win and one loss. The United States needs to defeat Iran in Tuesday’s match to advance to the next round.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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