Both goalkeepers were into the action straight away, with Hamed
Ghorbanpour testing the reflexes of his opposite number Luis
Montanez. The tide turned soon after when Hassan Abdollahi was sent
off in the eighth minute, leaving Iran a man down for two minutes
during which time Joshua Nolz and Mario Chimienti gave USA a
When it was back to five against five at the start of the second period, the Americans rapidly lost their way, with a powerful free kick from Ali Aligoli and a brace from Mohammad Ahmadzadeh turning the match upside down and giving the Iranians the lead. This was the wake-up call that USA needed, and within minutes, Yuri Morales, Benyam Astorga and Nolz had turned a 2-3 deficit into a 5-3 lead.
There was more of the same to come in the final third, with Mehdi Davoudi halving the deficit and Ghorbanpour equalising, with a little help from Zak Ibsen who put the ball past his own keeper. From the kick-off, however, Chimienti put the Stars and Stripes back in the lead before Ibsen made up for his earlier mistake and made it 7-5 three minutes later. Iran threw everything into attack but could only manage one further goal and are now out of the running for a quarter-final slot. The fact that they were part of the tournament's most exciting match so far will be of little comfort to them.