Football

USA starts Sargent, Carter-Vickers for Iran World Cup clash

United States coach Gregg Berhalter made two changes for Tuesday’s World Cup Group B decider against Iran in Qatar.

After being replaced by Haji Wright for Friday’s 0-0 draw with England, Josh Sargent returns to the line-up to lead the attack, while there’s a first World Cup start for Cameron Carter-Vickers. The Celtic defender starts in place of Walker Zimmerman, who started the USMNT’s first two games of the competition.

– Carlisle, Bonagura: Oral History of the United States’ Defeat to Iran in 1998
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The US starting lineup is the youngest of any team in the World Cup thus far, with an average age of 24 years and 321 days.

With the USA holding two points in the group and Iran three after Friday’s win over Wales, just a win for Berhalter’s side will see them reach the round of 16 in their first World Cup since 2014.

The build-up to the game was marked by news off the pitch, including US Soccer’s decision to remove the symbol of the Islamic Republic from Iran’s flag in a pre-match tweet on Sunday. US Soccer later restored the image of the Iranian flag in its entirety on social media, but not before drawing the ire of the country’s government and its federation.

Iran’s government reacted by accusing US Soccer of removing God’s name from its national flag, and Iran’s soccer federation said Iran will file a complaint with FIFA over the cleansing of the Islamic Republic’s emblem.

Berhalter insisted at a news conference Monday that none of the coaching staff or players were aware of US Soccer’s treatment of the Iran flag on social media.

Now attention returns to the field, where Berhalter has once again chosen to start with attackers Brenden Aaronson and Gio Reyna on the bench.

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