In the Iranian capital of Tehran, some motorists expressed their glee after the World Cup defeat by the USA.

On Wednesday night, people in crowded places shouted, for example: "It was probably nothing with your national team".

They alluded to the high political and sporting expectations of Team Melli.

The players were under a lot of pressure in the face of the nationwide protests by the domestic football association.

Politicians had hoped for a victory against the arch-enemy USA and thus for backing in domestic politics.

A sports journalist in Tehran explained that Iran's leadership exerted a lot of political pressure before the game.

Frustration could also be heard on the streets, as eyewitnesses reported.

Videos circulated on social media of protest slogans being heard from neighborhood balconies.

People shouted "Death to the dictator" - as an allusion to the spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

After the kick-off, many Iranians had used the attention online to name the youngest victims of the protests.

"Now the revolutionaries are happy about the defeat of the Islamic Republic team," wrote the well-known Iranian social activist Atena Daemi on Twitter.

Queiroz denies threats

Meanwhile, Iran's national soccer coach Carlos Queiroz has vehemently denied reports of alleged government threats against his team.

"If someone takes information from an anonymous source, it's not professional.

That's sad.

Within two hours, what was silly turned into an alleged truth.

But that's the world we live in," Queiroz said.

The US news channel CNN had previously reported that the Iranian players and their families had been threatened with imprisonment if they failed to sing the national anthem again in the second World Cup group game.

As a source, CNN named a person responsible for the security of the World Cup.

"We've heard a lot of stories about threats players have allegedly received.

It's a shame," said Queiroz: "What I can say is: thanks to teamwork, we have players who smiled again.

They understood who they play for, understood their mission to play for Iran.”

During the game against the USA, activists from the Russian punk group Pussy Riot protested at the stadium for women's rights in Iran.

They wore T-shirts with the words "Woman Life Freedom" and the logo of the Football Union of Iran.

Some of them also had colorful balaclavas on their heads, as can be seen in the pictures.

A spokesman for Cinema for Peace confirmed to the German Press Agency that they were members of Pussy Riot.

According to a report by the AP news agency, the women also chanted the slogan of the protest movement in Iran.

Iran has been rocked by heavy protests for weeks.

The trigger was the death of the Iranian Kurd Jina Mahsa Amini in mid-September.

She died in police custody after being arrested for breaking Islamic dress codes.

According to estimates by human rights activists, at least 450 demonstrators have been killed and around 18,000 protesters arrested since then.