Related topics

Iran 2, United States 1

June 21, 1998 GMT

LYON, France (AP) _ Iran’s greatest sports moment was America’s worst soccer nightmare.

Finally, U.S. soccer was center stage, with a chance to prove its merit in the most-hyped, politically spiced game the national team has played. But plagued by an inability to find the net, the Americans are going home in humiliation after a 2-1 World Cup loss to the Iranians.

On a day featuring a group photo, flowers and pennants as gifts and clean, intense soccer, the Americans spent almost the entire game showing they really are the gang who couldn’t shoot straight. They scored only with four minutes left when Brian McBride put in a shot off defender Naim Saadavi.


McBride hit the crossbar in the third minute, hit the post in the 15th and Claudio Reyna hit the post in the 33rd.

``We went on the attack from the start,″ coach Steve Sampson said. ``We crashed three shots on the posts.″

Hamid Estili scored on a counterattack in the 40th minute. Mehdi Mahdavukia came through with a breakway goal in the 83rd, giving Iran its first World Cup victory _ and setting off wild celebrations in Tehran, where the United States had been ``The Great Satan″ for nearly two decades.

``We have to use this match as a learning experience, so we can play at this level,″ Sampson said. ``But I’m proud of our boys. They played like Americans, always on the attack, never giving up.″