No time. The Iranian defensive midfielder could do nothing as the Al Tumama Stadium referee blew the final whistle, declaring a 1-0 victory for the United States.

@getty images

He sat on the lawn in the middle of the dark Qatari night, his head in his hands, and he let the tears flow.

@getty images

United States forward Josh Sargent struggled in the first half, keeping the Americans in search of a goal until Christian Pulisic scored after 38 minutes.

@getty images

The sergeant knelt beside him and held Ejatolahi as he spoke kindly and sympathetically. Soon, USA noticed the condition and pain on the Iranian player's face

@getty images

He was replaced by Brendan Aaronson. So did DeAndre Yedlin.Tim Weah adios with them too. Veeh lit up with joy as she approached something more serious.

@getty images

Weah grabbed Ezatolahi by the hands and helped him to his feet as he struggled to gather himself. They then hugged and whispered in each other's ears.

@getty images

Weah said to me as he exited the arena to head back to the team's Doha headquarters, "I think it's more than just football.  

@getty images

I just wanted to spread peace and love and show him we come from various backgrounds and we grew up differently.  

@getty images

"I think the United States and Iran have had so many political conflicts, and I just wanted to convey that we are all human beings and we love one other. 

@getty images

He is still a member of my family, my brother, and I still adore him in the same manner as the boys I spent my formative years with.

@getty images

The depth of the political subplot surrounding the Iran match, which decided second place in Group B, sent Greg Berhalter's side into the round of 16 against the Netherlands.

@getty images

It's probably something you've noticed unless you've been camping, hibernating or technology detoxing for the past week.

@getty images

Arrow
Arrow