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Report: US approach Iran for friendly

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FOX Soccer Daily: Why are the upcoming USA World Cup qualifiers crucial?
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Relations between the USA and Iran have been rocky to say the least for decades, but reports have emerged indicating that the beautiful game could be used to bring the countries closer together.

Reports circulating in the Iranian media claim that the US have approached Iran to take part in a mini-tournament on American soil before next summer's World Cup in Brazil.

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While the U.S soccer federation has not moved to either confirm or deny the reports, U.S State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told a briefing Monday: "We've always said we were open to direct negotiations and talks with the Iranians, so where a better place than on the soccer field, right?"

Certainly, it seems as though soccer could begin the remedy to the conflict.

The plans, if any even exist, are a long way away however. No date or location has been touted and, though it has been suggested that four teams will take part in the tournament, there is no indication of who else will compete.

While the U.S haven't moved to comment on the speculation, the head of Iran's football federation, Ali Kafashian, has been quoted as saying: "We have obtained the approval from the US football federation for a football tournament that will involve both national teams".

A spokesman for U.S Soccer, Neil Buethe, could only offer the following when questioned however: "We have been actively talking to numerous federations that have qualified for the World Cup about playing in the U.S. in late May and early June."

He added: "All of these discussions are preliminary and we do not have any matches set at this point."

Iran’s Tasnim News Agency has been perhaps the most vocal aspect of the media surrounding the reports.

The agency claims that Iran coach Carlos Queiroz, formerly of Manchester United and Real Madrid, has been contacted by the U.S about possible future friendly plans.

Also, they understand that one team from Europe and one from South America would join the U.S.A and Iran in the mini-tournament, with late-April touted as the tournament's kick-off date.

The last time the two sides met in international competition on the field was at the 1998 World Cup in France, where minnows Iran stunned the soccer world by triumphing 2-1 and knocking the Americans out at the group stage.

They played each other 18 months later in their only other game, a 1-1 draw at Pasadena, California.

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