USA vs. Iran World Cup match sparks student attention

Carissa Tsui and Lucianna Peralta

The quadrennial World Cup never fails to draw in large numbers of eager spectators from all over the world, and there’s plenty of excitement and disinterest alike at Palo Alto High School for the USA’s first World Cup appearance in eight years.

As some students in the library study, others watch the USA vs Iran World Cup match. Many matches are in the morning either before or during school, which means some students have to watch through unconventional means and devices. Sophomore Morris Tang said he wasn’t really keeping up with the World Cup, but caught glimpses of it anyways. “I’ve been watching live through [other] people’s phones,” Tang said. (Photo: Lucianna Peralta)

Junior Ari Smolar-Eisenberg said he doesn’t keep up with soccer regularly but tunes in for the World Cup.

“So many people watch it,” Eisenberg said. “It’s really fun to watch because it’s such a big thing that happens rarely.”

Many students are cheering for teams like Portugal, Brazil, and Argentina as many of the star players on those teams such as Ronaldo, Neymar, and Messi are retiring. France, which won the last World Cup, is also a strong contender. Sophomore Alec Bonnard said he is rooting for multiple teams.

“My favorite team is France so I’m rooting for them, but also the USA and Brazil,” Bonnard said. “Brazil or France is gonna win, I think. Overwhelming favorites.”

The USA team will be advancing to the knockout stage of the World Cup thanks to their 1-0 win against Iran yesterday morning in Qatar.

Despite all the hype, many students still have no interest in the World Cup. Freshman Ria Merchandani expresses no interest in the sport or competition at all.

“People are too obsessed with it [the World Cup],” Merchandani said. “It doesn’t make any sense. They’re just kicking a ball.”

Though the event has been highly successful, Qatar, the tournament’s host country, has been repeatedly criticized for its extremely conservative policies and human rights violations. Additionally, the World Cup is taking place in the winter this year instead of the summer when it usually happens.

“They [FIFA] should’ve put a little more thought into it [the time and place],” Thomas said. “It just shows they really didn’t think it through completely, especially since it’s a different time of year … all the players aren’t up to what they should be because they’re tired from regular season games.”

Despite all the controversies, people are still watching the event.

“They’re many problems with it [the location],” Bonnard said. “They [Qatar] aren’t very accepting of the LGBTQ community … but I’m watching the World Cup regardless of where it’s held.”

For a lot of people, it’s less about teams and more about the spirit and the sport.

“I’m not really rooting for anyone,” Eisenberg said. “I just want to see good, high-scoring games and a lot of goals.”

For those looking to watch future matches, Fox Sports streams the games live. The USA’s next match is at 7 a.m. Saturday against the Netherlands.