Asian Futsal Champion, Iran departed to Bogota to participate in the FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016 with great expectation.
Iran goes into the FIFA Futsal World Cup with significant momentum, claiming the 2016 AFC Futsal Championship where they racked up an incredible 48 goals. This is the sixth appearance for Futsal Team Melli in the World Cup which is now ranked in the top 5 teams in the FIFA Ranking.
Seyed Mohammad Nazemalsharieh will be hoping to lead his team to the final rounds of the competition after some sterling performances in the previous World Cup. Only two teams in the world had more participation in the FIFA Futsal World Cup than Iran’s 6 times. Both Brazil and Spain took part in 7 edition of the FIFA Futsal World Cup.
Iran will be up against some familiar faces in the group stage of the FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016, where they will take on not just Spain but also Morocco, whom Tayebi and Co edged past four years ago. Their third opponents, meanwhile, will be somewhat more of an unknown quantity in Azerbaijan.
The Asian champions will once again be kicking off against Spain, on this occasion in Medellin on 12 September. Tayebi stressed that he and his team-mates will be gunning for victory in this heavyweight bout: “I can assure you that every time the Iranian national futsal team enter the pitch, we do so to win, because we’re among the world’s powerhouses in this sport. We respect the Spaniards but we want to win our first match in Colombia. Encounters between Spain and Iran are always spectacular and tight affairs, but we’re determined to get the win.”
“We know that Azerbaijan have a strong team, even though we’ve never faced them,” he continued. “The coaching staff have watched two of their games, though, and told us that they play some good stuff. As I said before, we play to win and that match will be no exception.”
Despite his confidence in his own side’s abilities, Tayebi is nevertheless mindful that several other countries have kicked on in recent years and so it will prove a tough task for Iran to achieve their goal of advancing to at least the last four.
“I think most teams’ level has improved, which means the competition will be stiff and there will be no easy games. There are no favourites on paper and every side will be made to work hard for wins.”
“We’re going to do our best to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup and play with heart. We respect all the other teams a great deal, but we’re determined to succeed.”
Inspired by Shamsaee
Tayebi is hopeful that the strike he bagged in Thailand four years ago will not be his last on the world stage, although collective glory remains his number-one target. “I was delighted to find the net against Spain. It was the most important goal of my career. Scoring at a World Cup is something unforgettable for any player,” he said, before quickly clarifying that, “As far as I’m concerned, the team’s success comes before my scoring statistics.”
“It’s exciting to see your name on the scoresheet in a World Cup match but, like I said, the team’s targets are more important. The fact that I’ve scored at a World Cup before shows that I can play my part within the group.”
In his eagerness to do his bit and perform his role with aplomb, Tayebi is inspired by the example of former Iran stars such as ex-national team captain Vahid Shamsaee, whom he described as “one of the best players in futsal history”.
“Vahid is a real legend and I have tremendous respect for him. He’s a great man who had a lot of success in his career. I’m proud to be his compatriot. I love the way he played and I’m going to try to follow in his footsteps by living long in all the Iranian fans’ memories.”
Colombia 2016 could provide the perfect platform for Tayebi to fulfil this dream by not just adding to his World Cup goal tally, but accomplishing something that not even the great Shamsaee was able to – helping his country through to the semi-finals of the global showpiece.
This year’s competition will be a total of 6 groups in the competition with each group having four teams. After the group stages, the top 2 teams from each group will proceed to the knockout stage along with the 4 highest ranked third place finishers.
11 times Asian Champion Iran team has been actively preparing for the FIFA Futsal World Cup for over 4 months and played several tough matches. In Mashad, Team Melli played two matches against fellow qualifiers Uzbekistan with convincing wins 3-0 and 6-3 for Iran. Earlier, Iran participated in a 4 nation Futsal tournament in Thailand, where they drew with Kazakhstan 3-3, lost to Thailand 7-5 and beat Japan 4-2.
1 Sepehr MOHAMMADI Goalkeeper 27 years old
2 Alireza SAMIMI Goalkeeper 29 years old
3 Ahmad ESMAEILPOUR Pivot 27 years old
4 Mohammad KESHAVARZ Defender 34 years old
5 Hamid AHMADI Defender 27 years old
6 Mohammadreza SANGSEFIDI Wing 26 years old
7 Ali HASSAN ZADEH Wing 28 years old
8 Ghodrat BAHADORI Wing 26 years old
9 Afshin KAZEMI Defender 29 years old
10 Mohammad TAHERI Wing 31 years old
11 Mehran ALIGHADR Wing 27 years old
12 Hossein TAYEBI Pivot 27 years old
13 Farhad TAVAKOLI Defender 27 years old
14 Mahdi JAVID Pivot 29 years old
Head Coach: Seyed Mohammad NAZEMALSHARIEH (IRN) 46 years old
Assistant Coach: Mohammad HASHEMZADEH (IRN) 39 years old