Qatar, Iran and Wales exit World Cup following losses Tuesday
Qatar, Iran and Wales have exited the World Cup after losing their last group stage matches on Tuesday.
Qatar was the first to be eliminated after losing their first two matches in Group A. The Qataris had already failed to advance to the knock out stager after an early 3-1 loss to Senegal.
Qatar’s campaign at the World Cup ended with a loss against Netherlands on Tuesday. Despite making their World Cup debut, Qatar are now the first World Cup hosts to lose all three group matches.
Iran was beaten 1-0 by the United States in their last group stage match to become the second Asian country to be eliminated following the host country Qatar.
A first half goal from Christian Pulisic gave the Americans the lead. In the 38th minute, Pulisic collided with Iran’s goalkeeper in the process of scoring the sole goal of the match and had to leave the field for several minutes but was later able to return and finish out the first half. He was replaced at halftime.
The win earned United States a seat in the round of 16. They will now take on the Netherlands on Saturday in an elimination game.
Tuesday was the first time that the United States had faced Iran in over 20 years. In 1998, Iran beat the United States 2-1 which was their first-ever World Cup victory.
Despite the geopolitical background between Iran and the United States — the two countries severed diplomatic ties more than 40 years ago — it was a clean match, played without many altercations between players or hard fouls.
Alongside the Netherlands and the United States, England also secured their knock out stage spot after beating Wales 3-0.
It was the first time British teams had met at a World Cup and saw the two sides take a knee before their match as a gesture of solidarity in the fight against discrimination.
England and Wales had both intended to have their captains wear the OneLove armband, which has a rainbow on it and is worn to promote inclusion and send a message against discrimination.
But on Nov. 21, hours before the game between England and Iran started, the England camp received word that the OneLove armbands that a number of European squads had intended to allow their captains to wear would be banned and any player wearing it would be booked.
England and Wales were among seven European teams that intended to use the OneLove armband. The armband had been worn at UEFA tournaments throughout the year, and the clubs had applied to also use it at the World Cup.
FIFA’s last minute decision to ban the armband, under a combination of rules against making political statements and wearing only FIFA-designated equipment, has been widely interpreted as the organization bowing to pressure from the Qatari government, which enforces a seven-year prison sentence for homosexuality.
England took the knee at all three of their group stage matches in Qatar while Wales only did so on Tuesday.
On the field on Tuesday, England was able to outplay Wales 3-0 after a double from Marcus Rashford and a third goal from Phil Foden.
England will next face Senegal in an elimination match.
As of press time, the seven countries that have secured seats in the round of 16 are France, Brazil, Portugal, the Netherlands, Senegal, the United States and England. The five countries already eliminated are Qatar, Canada, Ecuador, Iran and Wales.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [firstname.lastname@example.org]