Group F: Iran             Page 2

Iran Football Federation  

        Coach: Jalal Talebi

vs. YUGOSLAVIA

14.06.98 Saint-Etienne

vs. UNITED STATES

21.06.98 Lyon

vs. GERMANY

25.06.98 Montpellier

Team Colors: White, White pants, White socks

Confederation: AFC

Second appearance in the World Cup finals (1978,1998)

Three time winner of the Asian Championship (1968,1972,1976)

Key players: F Ali Daei (Arminia Bielefeld, Germany),

D Karim Bagheri (Arminia Bielefeld),

F Khodadad Azizi (Cologne).

Iran vs. Nigeria

Keep an Eye on: Khodadad Azizi: Talented attacking midfielder, the Asian player of the year. Scored the winning goal against Australia.

Karim Bagheri : The leading scorer in1998 qualification with 17 goals.

Medhi Mahdavkin: Rated as a a tough opponent

Ali Daei: Plays in Germany; the team's overall leading scorer.

Analysis: Who's the coach? Jalal Talebi is the most recent manager. Vieira, Ivic? Gone because they "didn't understand the nuances of the Iranian style of play"...whatever that means. Squad is merely average, but no team will have more pressure to succeed. Unlikely to make second round.

Look for both sides to make political hay of the United States vs. Iran game on June 21. Emotions might skew the encounter into a haymaker.

History: For several years now Iran has been one of the powers in Asian football. The Iranian federation was founded in 1920 but did not become afilliated with FIFA until 1945. It was only at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo that the national team had its first taste of international competition. In 1968 Iran became Asian Champions. It was to herald the start of a reign of domination in the region and one of the best periods in Iranian football. Two more Asian championships (1972 and 1976) and in 1978 their first ever appearance in the finals of the World Cup in Argentina. Iran were beaten 3-1 by Holland, lost 4-1 to Peru but managed an impressive 0-0 draw against Scotland. The team, with such stars as Ali Parvin, returned to Iran with their eyes firmly fixed on Spain in 1982. But shortly after their return revolution broke out, throwing the country into chaos. In 1980 Iran and Iraq were at war and football was quickly relegated in importance.

The 1980's were difficult for Iranian football. Despite such talented players as Changeeze Khan, Farshad Pious, Karim Bavi and Sirous Ghiaghran, the national team were unable to dominate Asia. After the war in 1988, Iran began to again make an impression, finishing third in the Asian Championship, beating host nation Qatar 2-0, the UAE 1-0 and China 3-0 on the way. Despite failing to qualify for the 1994 World Cup in the United States, Iranian football was still one of the powers in Asia. In 1996 it collected another third place in the Asian Championship. Iran qualified for France after a dramatic 2-2 draw over Australia in Melbourne. The Iranian were 2-0 down with 20 minutes to go but fought back to equalize and book their ticket for 1998 on away goals.

What we can say is that Iran is the most fortunate nation to be present in France next summer. Victory over Australia, if it can be called that after two draws, was deserved enough, given the weight of expectation against them, but it was the manner of their qualification that has left a slightly sour taste in the mouths of those who see the finals as a celebration of the best in world football. 

Finishing only second in Asian qualifying group A, they then lost a play-off against Japan for a place in the finals, only to be handed their third opportunity to qualify - against Australia - which they accepted. The nature of their qualification mattered not one bit to the Iranian supporters, however, who lined the streets in their hundreds of thousands to welcome home the victorious team from Melbourne. Much emphasis has been placed in Iran on the World Cup campaign, to the extent that Mayeli Kohan, the coach, was dismissed even while his side were still well-placed to qualify. He has been replaced by Ivic, from Croatia after an extensive and tourtous search.

Update: If there is a side that can be considered "Team Trauma", this is it. Just a month before the Cup began, the Iranian federation thought it was necessary to change coaches, yet again. Tomislac Ivic? Gone after not being able to win, but the official stament was that "he didn't understand the Iranian way of play." At least his wife will be happy. Ivic said that we wasn't going to see her until after the Cup was over. Uhmm..."Honey! I'm home!! Guess what?..."

Tomislav Ivic and the Iranian Federation President...before the deed was done. Wonder what he was looking up in the ceiling for...the ax that was about to fall?

Trivia for the Pub: The initials "I.R." over the Iran name on the shirt mean "Islamic Republic".

Home shirt

Away Shirt

Links:

Virtual Soccer
World Cup History

  • Emrooz Sobh E Iran - published in Los Angeles California, USA. It is devoted to serve and publish news concerned to the Iranian communities both inside and outside the country of Iran.
  • Hamshahri - online version of Tehran's daily paper.
  • Iran Weekly Press Digest - weekly review of the Iranian press in English.
  • Iranian-American Weekly Digest - addressing the curiosity of English speakers interested in Iran.

Possible Team:

POSITION NAME

G Ahmadreza Abedzadeh

G Gholamreza Hajesbouei

G Nima Nakisa

D Yahya Golmohammadi

D Mohammad Khakpour

D Ali Akbar Ostad Asadi

D Mehdi Pashazadeh

D Afshin Peyravani 

M Karim Bagheri    

M Hamid Estili

M Mehdi Mahdavikia

M Farhad Majidi

M Mehrdad Minavand

M Naim Saadavi

M Alireza Mansourian    

M Reza Shahroudi

M Dariush Yazdani    

F Alireza Akbarpour

F Khodadad Azizi    

Forward Ali Daei

F Ali Asghar Modir-Rousta  

F Ali Mousavi  

F Ebrahim Tahami

We never could come up with a picture of Mayeli Kohan, Iran's first coach. Sorry.

©CnnSi/AP

We had a picture of Vierra and we wanted to use it. Then he gets fired.

©AFP

We finally get a picture of Ivic. Then he gets fired.

©AFP

Here is Jalal Talebi, he looks pensive. At least we got the pic BEFORE he gets fired.

ISFA