DOHA, Qatar — A World Cup buildup laced in controversy and geopolitical undertones has conjured the most politically charged of matchups on the field in Qatar. Just like at the FIFA showpiece in 1998, the United States will play Iran with diplomatic relations yet to be restored between the nations since being severed in the 1970s. The Mother of All Games, Part II. "I hope that football makes a good contact and good relationship between people," said Iran's Croatian coach, Dragan Skocic, "and that is what people expect of sport." The hope will be for a repeat of the tranquility around the 1998 encounter in France when the Iranians brought white roses for their U.S. opponents before winning 2-1. "It's 24 years later from 1998 and further removed from the '70s and both nations have evolved tremendously since then," U.S coach Gregg Berhalter said. "For us, it's a soccer game." But if Group B needed any more intrigue, it was provided in Friday's draw in Doha by the headline participant being Euro 2020 runner-up England, whose government has endured tense relations with Tehran. 2022 FIFA World Cup draw Group A Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands Group B England, Iran, USA, Wales/Scotland/Ukraine… Read full this story
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