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WILD Story From The 1998 USA-Iran World Cup Match. Government Officials Seized Iranian Players' Passports At Halftime

Former USA coach Steve Sampson has claimed the Iranian government intervened at halftime of their 1998 World Cup clash, saying officials confiscated the Iran team's passports and threatened their safety if they failed to beat USA.

Sampson claims he was told by Iran manager, Jalal Talebi, that Iranian government officials confiscated passports of the players at the halftime break, with Iran leading 1-0. 

And apparently players were told 'if they didn’t beat the United States, they were not welcome back into Iran, nor were their families welcome to leave Iran.'

Has Iran gone soft? A generation ago the government threatened players and their families if they didn't beat America in the World Cup. Fast forward to 2022 and the government can't even get the players to sing their own national anthem. 

This is one of those stories that even if it's not 100% factual makes you feel lucky to live in America. Just the fact that it feels like it could be factual tells you everything you need to know. Win and you're in. Lose and you can never see your wife and kids again. Those are the stakes in other places, but not in the States. We aren't perfect, but we ain't that. 

Absolutely HUGE game coming up. Not going to lie, I am a little nervous playing Iran because of the geopolitical motivations that they can't escape. They aren't playing for their government, but they are playing for their people. That is a powerful thing. All the marbles on Tuesday. We have better players. That is without question. Need to come together and send them home...assuming they are allowed to go home.