World Cup news and highlights

By Aditi Sangal, Mike Hayes, Elise Hammond and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 6:17 PM ET, Tue November 29, 2022
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2:38 p.m. ET, November 29, 2022

England takes a knee before starting yet another match. Here’s why

England players take a knee before the match against Wales on Tuesday.
England players take a knee before the match against Wales on Tuesday. (Marko Djurica/Reuters)

England's players once again took a knee before the start of their match against Wales on Tuesday, a gesture the team's coach has described as an act of solidarity.

The England team and Premier League clubs have been taking a knee before matches for several years as an anti-racism gesture. They have done so in all the matches they have played so far at Qatar 2022.

After defeating Iran last week, manager Gareth Southgate said kneeling was a way for his players to make their voices heard.

“People know what we stand for,” Southgate said. “People know this group of players, you know, we’re taking the knee because it’s something we feel we can make a difference with. And there are some things that I’m not sure we’re going to be able to make a difference with and therefore we should channel our energies in the right directions.”

More context: Teams have been walking a fine line in Qatar, with players facing potential sanctions if they protest the country's treatment of LGBTQ people and other human rights issues.

England captain Harry Kane is among the most prominent players not wearing a “OneLove” armband during the tournament as originally planned, after learning players could receive yellow cards for the display. The armband features a striped heart in different colors to represent all heritages, backgrounds, genders and sexual identities.

2:00 p.m. ET, November 29, 2022

Group B matches kick off

The matches featuring Iran vs USA and England vs Wales have begun.

1:50 p.m. ET, November 29, 2022

These are the stakes for the 4 teams playing at 2 p.m. ET today

England plays Wales and the US faces Iran at 2 p.m. ET today.

These matches will determine which two teams will qualify for the World Cup knockout stage – the Round of 16 – or go home.

Here are the stakes for each team and the scenarios that could shake out:

  • England will qualify with a win or draw. Depending on goal difference, the Three Lions could also make it through in defeat.
  • Wales must win to have any chance of progressing.
  • Iran is guaranteed to progress if it beats the US side.
  • A draw will also take the Iranians through provided Wales does not beat England (in which case goal difference will come into play).
  • For Team USA, it's simple: Win and it will advance. Lose or draw and the team will be heading home.
1:40 p.m. ET, November 29, 2022

England vs Wales: Here are the lineups ahead of the Group B match

England and Wales are set to play at 2 p.m. ET. Here's a look at the lineups:

England

Manager: Gareth Southgate

Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford

Defenders: Kyle Walker, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Harry Maguire

Midfielders: Declan Rice, Jordan Henderson, Marcus Rashford, Phil Foden, Jude Bellingham

Forwards: Harry Kane

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Wales

Manager: Rob Page

Goalkeepers: Danny Ward

Defenders: Neco Williams, Ben Davies, Chris Mepham, Joe Rodon

Midfielders: Joe Allen, Aaron Ramsey, Gareth Bale, Ethan Ampadu, Daniel James

Forwards: Kieffer Moore

1:31 p.m. ET, November 29, 2022

Team USA captain Tyler Adams apologizes for mispronouncing Iran

From CNN's Ben Morse and Wayne Sterling

Tyler Adams speaks during a press conference in Doha, Qatar, on Monday.
Tyler Adams speaks during a press conference in Doha, Qatar, on Monday. (Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Tyler Adams is interested in pursuing sports psychology once his playing career is over, according to the US Soccer website, and the US Men’s National Team’s (USMNT) captain showed he’s acutely aware of political, cultural and social sensitivities as he spoke ahead of Tuesday’s key Group B match against Iran at the 2022 World Cup.

In a media conference on Monday, Adams was told by an Iranian journalist that he had been pronouncing the country’s name incorrectly – “ee-RON” not “EYE-RAN.”

The 23-year-old, who plays for English Premier League team Leeds United, apologized for his mispronunciation to the journalist.

The USMNT captain was then pressed by the same journalist about representing the US despite it being a “country that has so much discrimination against Black people in its own borders” in light of the Black Lives Matter protests which gripped the country in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.

“There’s discrimination everywhere you go,” replied Adams, who was born in Wappingers Falls, New York.

“One thing that I’ve learned, especially from living abroad in the past years and having to fit in in different cultures and kind of assimilate into different cultures, is that in the US, we’re continuing to make progress every single day.

“Growing up for me, I grew up in a White family, and with obviously an African-American heritage and background as well,” added Adams.

“So, I had a little bit of different cultures, and I was very easily able to assimilate in different cultures. Not everyone has that ease and the ability to do that, and obviously, it takes longer to understand, and through education, I think it’s super important.

“Like you just educated me now on the pronunciation of your country. So, yeah, it’s a process. I think as long as you see progress, that’s the most important thing.”

To read more, click here

3:01 p.m. ET, November 29, 2022

United States vs Iran: Here are the lineups ahead of the Group B match

The United States and Iran are set to play at 2 p.m. ET. Here's a look at the lineups:

USA

Manager: Gregg Berhalter

Goalkeeper: Matt Turner TURNER

Defenders: Sergino Dest, Antonee Robinson, Tim Ream, Cameron Carter-Vickers

Midfielders: Tyler Adams, Yunus Musah, Weston McKennie

Forwards: Christian Pulisic, Timothy Weah, Josh Sargent

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Iran

Manager: Carlos Queiroz

Goalkeepers: Ali Beiranvand

Defenders: Milad Mohammadi, Morteza Pouraliganji, Majid Hosseini, Ramin Rezaeian

Midfielders: Ehsan Haji, Saeid Ezatolahi, Ahmad Noorollahi

Forwards: Mehdi Taremi, Ali Gholizadeh, Sardar Azmoun

1:17 p.m. ET, November 29, 2022

This Iranian football fan is in Qatar but rooting against his team

From CNN's Don Riddell

On the field, it’s a winner-takes-all game for the US Men’s National Team and Iran. But off it, there are many swirling narratives, and the fans are conflicted.

Politically and ideologically, the two countries have been at odds for the last 40 years, and Tuesday's game is being played against the backdrop of the Iranian government’s brutal response to the widespread protests which have swept the country following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini on Sept. 16.

The atmosphere among the Iranian supporters at the Al Thumama Stadium is tense. Many are opposed to the Iranian government, and are refusing to carry the free tricolor flags that are being handed out on the stadium concourse.

Some Iranian fans wanted to speak with CNN, but they were reluctant to appear on camera. One man, however, did decide to speak.

Farshid, who declined to provide his last name, is an Iranian who now lives in London. He confessed that he didn’t feel safe at the game, adding that he was being intimidated by pro-regime elements who were filming him and drowning out his interviews by chanting.

During our interview with him, another Iranian supporter arrived to film what we were doing.

What he said summed up the extraordinary nature of this match — he’s a proud Iranian supporter, but he wants them to lose.

"I have mixed emotion and feeling,” he said. “I'm passionate supporter of Iran, but today unfortunately can't be a supporter of the national team because of the current situation going on and the government trying to hijack the game and sport and using as a platform to buy the credibility and show that everything is normal and what's going on in Iran.”

1:10 p.m. ET, November 29, 2022

What it's like to "commute" from Dubai to Doha for the World Cup

From CNN's Ben Morse

Many fans who have watched World Cup games in Qatar have "commuted" from Dubai to Doha.

So-called “shuttle” planes have been put on for fans to fly from the United Arab Emirates to Qatar and back on game day.

Qatar Airways said it has put on more than 160 extra flights to shuttle spectators from the region to Doha and back each day — a decision which has been criticized by climate activists.

On those flights were many Wales fans — including my own family, a father and three sons.

First for the 1-1 draw against the US and then for the heartbreaking 2-0 loss to Iran, Welsh bucket hats were donned before a cab ride to Al Maktoum International Airport where we were met with many other Wales' red shirts and similar hats.

With an alcohol ban at Qatar's World Cup stadiums, many fans congregated around the Al Maktoum International Airport's Heineken bar — even at 5 a.m. local time — before boarding planes to travel across the Persian Gulf.

The official Welsh fan base is called the "Red Wall." But these were the Red Planes.

Full of fans, the vast majority of whom who have never seen Wales at World Cup, the flights took 50 minutes to reach Doha International Airport.

On arrival, a short bus ride to the terminal and a quick skip through immigration were the final obstacles before Welsh fans stepped onto the streets of Doha.

Before the US game, the emotion was one of wonderment, excitement and disbelief.

For my 58-year-old father, it was the first and only time he’s seen Wales at a World Cup.

Not one for displays of emotion, he had choked up when Wales qualified for the tournament by beating Ukraine in June in a World Cup playoff.

Ahead of the Iran game, there were nerves, anticipation and dread. “What if Wales lost? What if Wales won? This game can’t come quick enough!”

Both games were held at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium and although other fans expressed difficulties in getting into grounds, we had no issues — we did arrive two hours before the US game.

Once inside, the atmosphere dripped with nerves. Both games, for different reasons, were nail-biting affairs, and the weight of history and the moment affected those in the stands.

As a result, after the adrenaline had worn off, both flights back to Dubai were tired affairs; one landing at 4 a.m. local time, the other coming just hours after Wales had conceded two late goals to Iran to practically extinguish its qualification hopes.

However, within less than an hour of getting on the plane, surrounded by fellow Welsh fans, we were back in Dubai and on the way back to our hotel.

True, both results and performances on the pitch left much to be desired, but in terms of a World Cup experience, as my younger brother put it: “My life has piqued now.”

2:36 p.m. ET, November 29, 2022

Here's what happened when the US played Iran at the 1998 World Cup

From CNN's Aimee Lewis

The US and Iran soccer teams line up before their World Cup match in 1998 in Lyon, France.
The US and Iran soccer teams line up before their World Cup match in 1998 in Lyon, France. (Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)

When the US and Iran teams meet in Qatar on Tuesday, they will be doing so with the protests and violence that have convulsed Iran – threatening the very nature of the regime that has been in power for more than 40 years – as its backdrop. But this is not the first time that the two countries have met on a soccer pitch under the strain of geopolitical tensions.

The US had qualified for the 1998 World Cup in France, and in December 1997, it was drawn in the same group as Germany, Yugoslavia and, most significantly, Iran. That was the first time that Iran and the US, sometimes described officially in Iran as the 'Great Satan.' Just like this time in 2022, when the US played Iran in 1998, it was a must-win match for the US if it was to progress to the knockout stages.

“That was a bit of a distraction,” Steve Sampson told CNN Sport, adding that FIFA wanted the build-up to solely be about the match and, as a relatively young 41-year-old coach, he ensured his team talks were about “football and nothing else.”

With hindsight, Sampson said he regrets that approach, adding that he could have motivated his side by talking about the political history between the two countries.

On the eve of the match, the Iranian team had received orders from its government not to shake hands, which was FIFA protocol, with the Americans.

“We came to the conclusion that instead of who walks towards who, we will have a joint team photo taken,” Younes Masoudi told FIFATV in 2018.

So on the evening of June 21, at Lyon’s Stade de Gerland, the players took to the pitch and in a choreographed pregame ceremony, Iranian players presented their opponents with white roses as a symbol of peace and the teams posed for a photo together.

“I’ll remember that photo for the rest of my life,” Jalal Talebi, Iran’s then-coach who resided in the US at the time, once said in an interview with the Guardian. But Sampson said the pre-match ceremony “slightly took away from our focus in the game.”

Iran state media (IRIB) reporting from inside the game and wearing the 1998 World Cup shirt. They’ll be hoping for a repeat of that night in France, when Iran knocked out the USA.
Iran state media (IRIB) reporting from inside the game and wearing the 1998 World Cup shirt. They’ll be hoping for a repeat of that night in France, when Iran knocked out the USA. (Don Riddell/CNN)

There was high security. “We had 150 armed police, which was unprecedented for a World Cup match. I said we need to bring these 150 and surround this group of fans in order to stop them from invading the pitch,” Masoudi told FIFATV in the 2018 interview.

Iran won 2-1 — its first at a World Cup — prompting wild celebrations in Tehran. The New York Times reported at the time that “thousands of celebrating fans took to the streets, some women without their scarves.”

The match remained at the forefront of Sampson’s mind for years. “It was devastating, heart-breaking to lose to Iran,” he said. “We were disappointed more so that we didn’t advance in the World Cup.”

“What happened on that pitch during those two hours was a lesson to the whole world at large that despite our differences, despite the fact that we may come from different backgrounds, we can live peacefully together,” Masoudi told FIFATV in 2018.