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Iran vs. Qatar : “keep it tight at the back”

14th January 2015

In addition to being the match that could decide Team Melli qualification, the match against Qatar on Thursday, will also be another test of Carlos Queiroz’s defensive game plan. A win by Team Melli will take it to the sixth consecutive quarter finals appearance of the Asian Cup. Iran’s proud record started in 1996 edition , in which Team Melli played in 5 consecutive tournament and never losing a match in regulation time.

Iran will be facing a wounded Qatar, and that could be a two edged sword. The multi-National team of Qatar could have already conceded although publically they are putting up a brave face and a defiant attitude. On the other hand, they still believe that there is nothing to lose, they still stand a chance for qualifying and end up playing their best football, the one that we have seen they can excel in, in front of Team Melli.

Ismaeel Abdulatif batteling with Morteza Pouraliganji

Djamal Belmadhi has assembled a decent team including many new faces. He dispensed with the Latin American contingents as they were failing to deliver and instead he picked a few North Africans and players from his native Algeria to replace the likes of Fabio Cesar, Andrés Sebastián Soria. Neutralizing foreign players is a fundamental standard procedure in Qatar sport including the National Football team.

The result against UAE was hardly an indication of Qatar weakness neither was it in any way and sign of the might of the UAE team. The difference between these two Gulf nation teams are minimal hence a 4-1 result was a freak result that should not be read too much into.

The reality remains that Qatar is strong opponent for any team and still stands a chance in the tournament. The Qataris will be hoping that Thursday’s match will be the turnaround point in their fortunes.

On the other hand, Iran is placed comfortably in the table. A win will be a perfect result, but a draw is not going to be a disaster either. No Team Melli fan should hold his breath hoping that Team Melli will be going to the jugular either. Carlos Queiroz will stick, and religiously so , to his strong defensive ideology regardless to the opposition.

 Since the World Cup and the term parking the bus was associated with Team Melli , even the offensive minded Iranians are becoming convinced with the Queiroz ideology in a classic bandwagon effect. The reality is that Team Melli does not have the ingredients of an lethal offensive team , so why play some tactics that the coach does not have the right resources for it? It makes sense to everyone even with a stronger position and a few field advantages over Qatar, for Team Melli to play the same old game plan hoping for a low margin win.

If you do not have the players like Khalatbary to run havoc on defenders , or a schemer such as Mojtaba Jabbari or Ali Karimi to masterfully orchestrate the midfield and feed your forwards, then offensive plans have to be shelved and Queiroz stick to “keep it tight at the back” approach.

Carlos Queiroz has to be credited with introducing the new players in the defense line, hopefully he would give more playing time to Azmoun and Jahanbakhsh instead of the inert Shojae, whose selection remains an enigma with his pathetic and lethargic performances.

also It will be a tight match but surprises in football can be expected. We hope those would be in the shape of a handsome victory for Team Melli.

Reza Ghoochannejad chased by Hussain Ali Baba of Bahrain

Head 2 Head

This will be only the second time that Iran and Qatar meet in the Asian Cup. The first was in Doha in 1988 edition when Team Melli beat the host nation Qatar 2-0 with goals from Karim Bavi and Farshad Peyous. That match was also the first official game between the two teams.

H / A / N Matches W D L Goals + / –
Home 6 4 2 0 16 – 4 +12
Away 13 7 3 3 15 – 11 +4
Neutral 0 0 0 0 0 – 0 +0
Total 19 11 5 3 31 – 15 +16
Date Comp. H / A / N Final score Stadium Attendance
04.06.2013 World Cup Qualifier A 1 – 0 AlSadd Stadium , Doha 11872
12.06.2012 World Cup Qualifier / Round 4 H 0 – 0 Azadi Stadium , Tehran 80000
29.02.2012 World Cup Qualifier / Round 3 – Group E H 2 – 2 Azadi Stadium , Tehran 55000
06.09.2011 World Cup Qualifier / Round 3 – Group E A 1 – 1 Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium , Doha 8125
28.12.2010 Friendly A 0 – 0 Khalifa Stadium , Doha 3000
28.12.2009 Friendly / Qatar Intl. Friendly Tournament A 2 – 3 Suhaim Bin Hamad-Doha Qatar Stadium 3000
09.11.2008 Friendly A 1 – 0 Al Saad Stadium , Doha 5000
11.08.2008 WAFF H 6 – 1 Takhti Stadium , Tehran 5000
10.01.2008 Friendly A 0 – 0 Al Saad Stadium , Doha 2000
24.03.2007 Friendly / Friendly A 1 – 0 AlGharafah Stadium , Doha 7000
13.10.2004 World Cup Qualifier / WCQ A 3 – 2 Doha 3000
18.02.2004 World Cup Qualifier / WCQ H 3 – 1 Azadi – Tehran 0
01.08.2001 Friendly / Friendly A 1 – 2 Doha 0
27.09.2000 Friendly A 2 – 1 Al Sadd Stadium , Doha 5000
07.11.1997 World Cup Qualifier / WCQ A 0 – 2 Doha 20000
03.10.1997 World Cup Qualifier / WCQ H 3 – 0 Azadi – Tehran 70000
01.06.1996 Friendly / Friendly A 1 – 0 Khalifa Stadium , Doha 10000
17.05.1996 Friendly H 2 – 0 Takhti Stadium , Tabriz 30000
02.12.1988 Asian Cup / Group 1 A 2 – 0 AlAhli FC Stadium , Doha 20000

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