It seems like the World Cup just started, but it’s already time to start sending teams home. The United States plays Iran in their final match of the group stage needing a victory, and there is suddenly some off-the-field drama ratcheting up the temperature ahead of the game. Here’s a primer on how to watch the massive World Cup match and what to expect from the occasion.
How can I watch the US vs. Iran World Cup match, and can I watch it for free?
The US v. Iran Men’s World Cup match will be available for free on Fox and Telemundo, starting at 2 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, Nov. 29.
For more viewing options, check out the Fatherly guide on How To Legally Watch The World Cup For Free.
Where can I watch the game if I missed it?
Taking the day off from work to watch a soccer match — or even taking a half day — can be too much to ask for anyone who got time off for Thanksgiving. If that overflowing inbox will require your undivided attention, the match will be available to stream on Tubi for free 30 minutes after the final whistle.
What do I need to know about the political tensions between the US and Iran?
Thus far, tensions between the Iranian players and the Iranian government have been at the forefront as some players on the Iranian team have protested their government's violent treatment of protestors in their home country.
More than 300 people have died and 14,000 have been arrested since widespread protests — which have been brutally cracked down on — broke out in mid-September following the death of Mahsa Amini. The 22-year-old was arrested for allegedly not wearing her hijab correctly, though her mother said she was wearing one properly. The police suggested she died of epilepsy or a heart condition while in policy custody, but her parents claim she was in good health, and reports say she was severely beaten during her arrest.
As a form of silent protest, some Iranian players chose not to sing their national anthem before their opening match against England. After fierce criticism and threats of reprisals upon their return home, the players seem to have ended their protest, but it remains a tense topic in press conferences.
The US Soccer Federation drilled itself into the middle of the fray over the weekend when they removed the emblem of the Islamic Republic from Iran’s flag on an image posted on social media in support of Iranian protestors.
This prompted a call from Iranian state media for FIFA to kick the United States out of the World Cup and subjected US coach Gregg Berhalter and captain Tyler Adams to a grilling from Iranian media in the pre-match press conference, in which the two were asked about a handful of domestic and geopolitical issues such as systemic racism, US Naval presence in the Persian Gulf, and inflation.
It’s all brought an intense and odd energy to the match, though it remains to be seen if that will affect play on the field.
What happens if the United States loses to or ties Iran?
Unless the US beats Iran outright, they will be knocked out of the World Cup. Their ties against Wales and England were adequate results that now provide a chance to advance to the knockout rounds of the tournament, and the team’s fate is entirely in its own hands. But a loss or tie will not be enough to help them qualify as one of the top two teams in their group. It’s win or go home.
Can the United States beat Iran?
Betting markets strongly favor the United States to beat Iran. The United States put in solid performances against Wales and England thus far and appears to have the edge in raw talent. Iran’s performances have been wildly uneven with a heavy 6-2 defeat in their World Cup opener against England before bouncing back to beat Wales 2-0. The advantage Iran has is that as long as Wales is not beating England in their match that takes place during the same time window as US vs. Iran, then the Iranians can sit back and settle for a tie to advance to the knockout rounds.
When does the United States play next?
If the United States beats Iran, they will either play on Saturday at 10 a.m. Eastern or on Sunday at 2 p.m. Eastern. If the United States doesn’t win against Iran, then they will be out of the World Cup.