1998 FIFA World Cup
Group F
Event1998 FIFA World Cup Group F
Date21 June 1998
VenueStade de Gerland, Lyon
RefereeUrs Meier (Switzerland)

United States v Iran, played on 21 June 1998, was a football match between Iran and the United States in the group stage of the 1998 FIFA World Cup at the Stade de Gerland in Lyon, France.[1] The match, which is described as the "mother of all games"[2] and the "most politically charged game in World Cup history",[2][3] ended with a 2–1 victory for Iran, the team's first ever victory in the history of the FIFA World Cup.[2]

Hamid Estili and Mehdi Mahdavikia scored for Iran, while Brian McBride scored for the US.[1]


Since the overthrow of the pro-Western Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, due to the Iranian revolution, and the attack on the American embassy in Iran, and the American support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, relations between the two countries had been hostile.[4][failed verification]

According to FIFA regulations team B should walk towards team A for the pre-match handshakes, and Iran were the team B, while the US were the team A; However, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic regime, Ali Khamenei, "gave express orders that the Iranian team must not walk towards the Americans". Mehrdad Masoudi, one of the FIFA media officer of the match, negotiated with the US team, and the due to that, the Americans walked towards the Iranians.[2]

During a delicately-choreographed pregame ceremony, the Iranian players gifted white roses to their American opponents, as a symbol of peace.[3]



United States 1–2 Iran
McBride Goal 87' Report Estili Goal 40'
Mahdavikia Goal 84'
Stade de Gerland, Lyon
Attendance: 39,100
Referee: Urs Meier (Switzerland)
United States
Assistant referees:

Laurent Rausisi (Switzerland)

Nicolae Grigorescu (Romania)

Fourth official:

Lucien Bouchardeau (Niger)


According to Mehrdad Masoudi, after the historical victory of Iran in this game, "people were dancing in the streets of Tehran."

Jeff Agoos, a former US defender, said that "We did more in 90 minutes than the politicians did in 20 years."[3] 18 months later, the teams played a friendly match at Pasadena, where the two played on a 1–1 draw.[2]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Germany 3 2 1 0 6 2 +4 7 Advance to knockout stage
2  FR Yugoslavia 3 2 1 0 4 2 +2 7
3  Iran 3 1 0 2 2 4 −2 3
4  United States 3 0 0 3 1 5 −4 0
Source: FIFA

Despite this, neither team made it out of the group stage as Iran finished 3rd and the United States finished dead last without a single point.

See also


  1. ^ a b "1998 FIFA World Cup France ™ - Matches - USA - IR Iran - FIFA.com". FIFA.com. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e "USA vs Iran at France '98: the most politically charged game in World Cup history". FourFourTwo. 6 June 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  3. ^ a b c O'Callaghan, Eoin (20 June 2018). "Great Satan 1-2 Iran: the most politically charged match in World Cup history". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  4. ^ Pylas, Pan (17 May 2018). "WORLD CUP: Peace reigns as US faces Iran at 1998 tournament". AP NEWS. Retrieved 15 July 2019.