Qatar 2022, Iran-United States: the match that goes beyond the World Cup

Scheduled for Tuesday evening, a ‘counterfeit’ flag will also warm up the eve

The match that goes beyond the World Cup. Iran-United States it is played on Tuesday evening, in Qatar, but the two national teams are pitted against, even before kick-off, history, geopolitics, civil rights. And to warm up the eve is also a provocation spread via social media by the official account of the American national team, which has deliberately counterfeited the Iranian flag, eliminating the symbol of the Islamic Republic.

A provocation, which lasted 24 hours, chosen to express support for the demonstrators who are fighting against the regime’s repression in Tehran. By posting the classification of group B of the World Cup, the official flag has been replaced with a conspicuously artificial copy, with only the green, white and red horizontal bands. The American Football Federation has officially ‘vindicated’ the gesture: “the aim was to show support for women who fight for fundamental human rights in Iran”.

The Iranian reaction was not long in coming. A tweet from the Tasnim News Agency, a press organ close to the regime, calls for a disqualification for the United States. “By posting a distorted image of the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran on its official account, the American soccer team violated the Fifa statute, which provides for a 10-match suspension, the appropriate sanction. The US team should be expelled from the World Cup”.

It won’t happen, of course. But in this exchange of attention before the game there are, condensed, all the meanings of a total confrontation. The West against the Islamic state, the interrupted relations, the sanctions, the nuclear threat and the clash over oil, the censorship of the escalation of violence in recent months and, on the other hand, the resistance to the interference of what the theocracy Shiite has always considered the great Satan of the world.

In the World Cup of contradictions, especially for the non-football aspects, the draw that pitted the United States and Iran against each other, in this historical phase and precisely in Qatar, seems almost a twist of fate. Without forgetting that in the background there is also football and that the two national teams are playing the qualification for the round of 16. (from Fabio Insenga)