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Journalism of Courage

Compassion at its finest: US player consoles Iranian opponent after his team’s FIFA World Cup elimination

After losing Wednesday’s match to the US, the Iranian football team was eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

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Despite cut-throat competition and heightened emotions, the prevailing idea of sports tournaments remains sportsmanship. This sentiment was best showcased after Wednesday’s 2022 FIFA World Cup match between the US and Iran in which the latter lost and was eliminated from the tournament.

After the big loss, Iran’s Ramin Rezaian could not stop his tears. During this vulnerable moment, he was consoled by US’s Antonee Robinson who embraced Rezaian and said comforting words to him. In terms of politics, the US and Iran are considered rivals, which makes this interaction even more meaningful.

On Wednesday, Karim Sadjadpour, an Iranian-American policy analyst, shared a video of this heartfelt moment and it soon went viral with over 1.6 million views.

Commenting on this video, a Twitter user wrote, “This is what sports can do and why we need it in the world. It’s the only thing that brings us all together as “people”. We need more love in the world, too much bicker and beef.”

Another person said, “In western media, Iran is often portrayed as this hard, unforgiving. forbidding place but the irony is that, culturally and emotionally Persians are the biggest softies you’ll ever meet: quick to laugh and cry at the drop of a hat.”

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The 2022 FIFA World Cup has been draining for Iranian players who had to play against the backdrop of ongoing protests in their home country. They have shown solidarity with the anti-regime and anti-compulsory veil protests by refusing to sing their national anthem during the start of the matches.

First published on: 01-12-2022 at 11:11 IST
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