Marcotti slams US soccer for scrubbing Iran flag (1:39)

The emblem of the Islamic Republic of Iran was removed from the national flag of Iran. 1:44

6:08 PM AST

The United States manager has insisted that the focus of his team is on the decisive Group and apologized for the US Soccer Federation posts that removed the central image of Iran's flag.

The USSF took down the offending posts but not before Iran lodged a complaint with the ethics committee. The Iranian people have been protesting over the treatment of women after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the country's morality police.

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The players and staff didn't know what was being posted. Things can happen that are out of our control. The result will be dependent on who puts more effort in and who executes better on the field. We don't focus on those outside things. We can only apologize on behalf of the players and the staff, but it's not something that we are part of.

The players and staff didn't know what US Soccer had in store. We're focused on this match. The guys that worked really hard for the last four years, we have 72 hours between England and Iran, and we are just focused on how we can go to this knockout

Our thoughts are with the Iranian people, but we are focused on this match.

The news conference took some unexpected twists and turns, with Berhalter and captain Tyler Adams asking about discrimination in the US, whether former US manager Jurgen Klinsmann was engaging in "psychological warfare" against Iran, and the negative effects of inflation.

Adams was reprimanded by an Iranian reporter for his mispronunciation. Adams apologized before he and Berhalter started talking about the other topics.

Berhalter believes that sport should bring people together. It's wonderful to see all those countries competing at the same time. People come from all over the world to participate in the World Cup. Sport has the ability to do that because fans come from all over the world and you get to compete as brothers.

Adams said that discrimination is pervasive in the US.

Gregg Berhalter (left) and Tyler Adams (right) were both asked about a number of cultural issues. Hector Vivas - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Adams said that it was a process. It's the most important thing if you see progress.

The US is facing a must win situation while Iran can progress with a draw.

"This is a knockout game for both teams, so it's going to be a high level of intensity," he said. Iran has done a great job, especially in the last game. The game is expected to be a closely fought one.

Berhalter was asked if the US manager lied to the media about Giovanni Reyna's condition after he did not play against Wales and if he asked him to lie as well.

The media will decide if Berhalter asked Gio to lie. I'm not that person. I don't represent that. Feel free, but I know what happened if you have to take Eric's word. I don't represent that. Gio is a member of the team that we care about the most and we know he can help the team. It's a question of when he can help us and how he can help us.

Berhalter was asked if he had an alternative to the central strikers. Josh Sargent and Haji Wright have done a good job for us, but it was up to their teammates to give them better service, according to Berhalter.

He said that they are comfortable with the three strikers that they have. We haven't considered putting Timmy Weah there, or Jordan Morris there. We have three that we have in camp.