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Iran fans hold Freedom For Iran and Women Life Freedom placards before the 2022 FIFA World Cup Group B match against England in Doha, Qatar.

Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd via Reuters Connect

Great Satan on the pitch, big troubles at home — Iran's World Cup dilemma

The US and Iran go to war Tuesday ... on a soccer pitch. The two sides meet in their last first-round game of the Qatar World Cup, and whoever wins will almost certainly advance to the knockout stage — a first for Iran.

But this time the long-running geopolitical tensions between the two bitter enemies have taken a back seat to the ongoing women-led protests against the theocratic regime in Iran, the biggest the country has seen since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

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Paige Fusco

The Graphic Truth: The Mother of All Games 2.0

The US plays, of all countries, Iran (!) at the Qatar men's soccer World Cup on Tuesday in the most politically charged game of the most political edition of the tournament in decades. What’s more, if Team Melli — as Iran's team is popularly known — wins, it’ll advance to the knockout stage for the first time. (Not to mention that Iran won't miss a chance to beat Great Satan at anything.) USMNT, for its part, wants revenge from France '98, when Iran won 2-1 in a major upset that Tehran billed at the time as the "Mother of all Games." We take a look at how the two geopolitical rivals compare on some soccer and non-soccer metrics.

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