While a win was very much in the hands of the Team Melli U-20 in the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017 final group C match against Portugal, a loosing mentality and a lack of self belief and confidence allowed the Portuguese to win the match and knock Iran out of the championship.
A brilliant header by Iran’s Reza Shekari from a corner kick put Iran in the lead as early as the fourth minutes. After the goal , Iran parked the bus and hoped that the Portuguese , who were quite pathetic in the first half , will not score.
Defending well without having any ambitions to score another goal finally resulted in what Iran wanted and that one goal lead at half time.
The second half, Portugal team must had a real grilling from the coach as the same players who were performing inadequately suddenly turned into winners. Not only Portugal had most of the possession, they created all the scoring chances as well. Iran was content with defending and sending long aimless balls just to clear their 18 yards. It was a sorry display of football by Iran which has a talented team that could have easily qualified for the next round but for the mentality of one amateur coach who has added yet another failure to his CV.
Portugal scored the equalizer after a poor clearance by Shehab Adeli , the replacement keeper, and a poor marking by Omid Noorafkan but frankly it was only a matter of time before the winner goal would be scored by the former champions and that goal unfortunately for Iran came in the form of a friendly fire. A harmless shot from the Portuguese player on the right of the keeper was deflected into Shehab Adeli’s goal late in the match to make it 2-1 for Portugal.
Ironically , after that goal , Iran U-20 team played it best football and in true offensive style, creating more chances in a 7 minutes remaining of the match (regular and added 4 minutes time) than the whole of the match. The Fans have the right to ask , why this capable team with so much talent was not directed to play in this style earlier, instead of sending hail Mary balls or play acting , grass rolling to waste time. The Iran U-21 could have scored another goal and then controlled the match but that was perhaps not in the coach’s gameplan.
Getting the best out of a talented pool of young players , require professional and high quality coaching. Peyrovani , is not in that class. He is a “B” or “C: coach without any pedigree and it was quite evident in South Korea that he just does not have it in him to lead an Iranian team at the world stage.
One of the best teams in Iranian age group departed the Championship at group stage, yet again.