– It’s a political group, but I’m not a politician. I focus on football, and sport is the best way for people to improve mutual relations – believes the Iranian-Croatian coach Dragan Skocic, whose team will play in the group stage of the World Cup in Qatar, among others from the United States.

After Friday’s draw in Doha, the most controversial comments and geopolitical overtures have been about the composition of Group B. It has been assigned to teams from England, Iran and the United States, and will be completed with a single winner in the play-off between Scotland. , Ukraine and Wales, already in the World Cup.

– It’s a political group, but I’m not a politician. I focus on football and sports are the best way for people to improve their relationship. This is an opportunity for a new chapter. Looking from the perspective of sports and football, I think we could have been worse, for example in the group with Spain and Germany – according to Skocic’s assessment.

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As in the 1998 World Cup, the Americans again found Iranians. Both countries did not restore diplomatic relations after they broke off in 1980. Then the Iranian football players, in a gesture of conciliation, brought their rivals white roses. There was no courtesy on the field and the Arabian Gulf team won 2:1.

– We’re 24 years into this event. I think the further away we are from the 1970s, the more developed both countries are. For us, it will be basically a football match – announced Team USA coach, Greg Berhalter.

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The diplomatic relationship between Britain and Iran appears to be valid, but in 2011 the British Embassy in Tehran closed for two years after attacks by protesters. The incident caused the biggest crisis in relations between the two countries since the resumption of diplomatic relations in 1999.

Unsportsmanlike excitement was clearly visible in the Doha Conference Center when the last team of Group B was selected. Due to the armed invasion of Russia, Ukraine was unable to participate in the play-off matches in March, which in its case was postponed to June. However, if the Ukrainians beat Scotland and then Wales, they would qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 2006.

Ukraine is a team that everyone is focused on in some way because of the situation they find themselves in – Berhalter commented.


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