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FIFA World Cup 1998

 

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 Iran road to qualification for the FIFA World Cup 1998 France was protracted, bumpy, dramatic and highly emotional. This was the most exciting campaign of Iran’s football in the history of any competition.

Never in the history of FIFA a team had to play 27 matches to qualify for the finals, Team Melli did it and the end result was something for the whole nation to be proud of and will remain in the memory and the history books for a long time.

Never in the modern history of Iran football the fans have seen so much emotion from the heartbreaking final minutes loss against Japan , to the excitement and joy of coming from two goals behind in Melbourne and virtually out of the World Cup , for the boys to score two goals , one by Karim BAGHERI and the decider by Khodadad AZIZI that took Iran to the World Cup.

a magnificent result that lead to millions of Iranians hitting the streets in joy.

Khodadad Azizi celebrating with Iranian fans in Melbourne Cricket Ground 97
Khodadad Azizi celebrating with Iranian fans in Melbourne Cricket Ground 97

The team that entered the qualifications was basically the same team that played in the AFC Asian Cup 1996 in Emirates. In the aftermath of Iran’s very disappointing failure to qualify for the 1994 World Cup, the team went through a major re-building. A young coach called Mohammad Mayeli-Kohan was given the responsibility in 1996. The daring coach made major changes dispensing with older players and bringing a large contingent of younger talents, some of whom were unknown to many Iranian fans.

Mayeli-Kohan’s gamble was quite a success. Not only, Iran managed to stun the Asian football with some incredible results, including the destruction of the Asian Powerhouses South Korea with a 6-2 result and the eventual winner, Saudi Arabia 3-0 in the group stages, the exciting football the team played was a breath of fresh air in the competition. Team Melli attracted many admirers for the style of their football and the players’ individual skills. Unfortunately Iran’s luck ran out in the semifinals with a penalty shootout against the Saudi’s. Iran remained the only undefeated team in the AFC Asian Cup 1996.

The young team Mayeli-Kohan has built , would produce future world-renowned players in the caliber of Ali DAEI, Khodadad AZIZI, Karim BAGHERI and Mehdi MAHDAVIKIA all of whom player their football in Europe eventually.

The World Cup 1998 squad was essentially the backbone of the same team that won the third place in Asian Cup 1996.

 

The format set by FIFA for qualification to the finals in France was as follows

   First Round: The 36 teams were divided into 10 groups of 3 or 4 teams each. The teams played against each other twice, except in Group 10, where the teams played against each other once. The group winners would advance to the Final Round.

Iran was placed in Group 2 alongside Syria, Kyrgyzstan , Maldives.

   Final Round: The 10 teams were divided into 2 groups of 5 teams. The teams played against each other on a home-and-away basis. The group winners would qualify. The runners-up would advance to the AFC Play-off.

   Play-off: The 2 teams played against each other once in Malaysia. The winner would qualify. The loser would advance to the AFC / OFC Intercontinental Play-offs.

The campaign started very well with a World Cup record win when Team Melli defeated Maldives 17-0. The round ribbon format was staged in two parts. First round played in Damascus and the second in Tehran. Team Melli went through with little effort in the group 2 stages

In the Finals rounds of qualification, Iran was grouped with China, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. Team Melli continued its exciting performance by defeating China away with a final score of 4-2. Team Melli was two goals behind, before Karim BAGHERI scored a penalty and then Mehdi MAHDAVIKIA folled with two stunning goals , one from a long-range. While the Chinese players were still trying to recover from the shock , Ali Asghar MODIR ROUSTA scored a fourth to strike the final nail in the coffin.

 

 

 

 

 

Date Home team Away team Result Scorers
02.06.1997 Maldives Iran 0 – 17 Karim BAGHERI (9)
Karim BAGHERI (13)
Karim BAGHERI (16)
Hamidreza ESTILI (29)
Khodadad AZIZI (35)
Khodadad AZIZI (36)
Hamidreza ESTILI (47)
Hamidreza ESTILI (55)
Reza SHAHROUDI (56)
Karim BAGHERI (60)
Mehdi MAHDAVIKIA (63)
Karim BAGHERI (66)
Karim BAGHERI (67)
Ali DAEI (75)
Ali DAEI (77)
Karim BAGHERI (83)
Mehrdad MINAVAND (87)
04.06.1997 Kyrgyzstan Iran 0 – 7 Karim BAGHERI (35)
Karim BAGHERI (51)
Ali DAEI (57)
Farhad MAJIDI (68)
Mehrdad MINAVAND (76)
Ali MOUSAVI (82)
Farhad MAJIDI (88)
06.06.1997 Syria Iran 0 – 1 Ali DAEI (65)
09.06.1997 Iran Kyrgyzstan 3 – 1
11.06.1997 Iran Maldives 9 – 0 Alireza MANSOURIAN (15)
Karim BAGHERI (22)
Ali DAEI (33)
Mehdi MAHDAVIKIA (38)
Karim BAGHERI (39)
Ali DAEI (43)
Alireza MANSOURIAN (44)
Reza SHAHROUDI (68)
Khodadad AZIZI (87)
13.06.1997 Iran Syria 2 – 2 Reza SHAHROUDI (10)
Alireza MANSOURIAN (30)
13.09.1997 China Iran 2 – 4 Karim BAGHERI (pen.) (61)
Mehdi MAHDAVIKIA (67)
Mehdi MAHDAVIKIA (73)
Ali Asghar MODIR ROUSTA (86)
19.09.1997 Iran Saudi Arabia 1 – 1 Karim BAGHERI (64)
26.09.1997 Kuwait Iran 1 – 1 Karim BAGHERI (90)
03.10.1997 Iran Qatar 3 – 0 Ali DAEI (31)
Karim BAGHERI (42)
Karim BAGHERI (56)
17.10.1997 Iran China 4 – 1 Alireza MANSOURIAN (2)
Ali Asghar MODIR ROUSTA (44)
Karim BAGHERI (69)
Ali DAEI (73)
24.10.1997 Saudi Arabia Iran 1 – 0
31.10.1997 Iran Kuwait 0 – 0
07.11.1997 Qatar Iran 2 – 0
16.11.1997 Japan Iran 3 – 2 AET Khodadad AZIZI (46)
Ali DAEI (58)
22.11.1997 Iran Australia 1 – 1 Khodadad AZIZI (39)
28.11.1997 Australia Iran 2 – 2 Karim BAGHERI (71)
Khodadad AZIZI (75)

Creat

 

Team Melli Squad

World Cup 1998 France

No.  
4

BAGHERI, Karim


20-Feb-74
24 years
Arminia Bielefeld (GER)
Midfield
44 Caps
9

ESTILI, Hamidreza


01 -Apr-67
31 years
Bahman
Midfield
44 Caps
11

AZIZI, Khodadad


22-Jun-71
26 years
Arminia Bielefeld (GER)
Forward
27 Caps
12

MAHDAVIKIA, Mehdi


24-Jul-77
20 years
Persepolis
Midfield
24 Caps
25

MINAVAND, Mehrdad


30-Nov-75
22 years
Persepolis
Midfield
23 Caps
10

DAEI, Ali


21-Mar-69
29 years
Arminia Bielefeld (GER)
Forward
50 Caps
1

ABEDAZDEH, Ahmadreza


25-May-66
32 Years
Persepolis
Goalkeeper
66 Caps
2

SAADAVI, Naim


16-Jun-69
28 years
Perspolis
Defender
8 Caps
3

OSTADASADI, Ali Akbar


17-Sep-65
32 years
Zob Ahan
Defender
29 Caps
5

PEYROVANI, Afshin


6-Feb-70
28 years
Persepolis
Defender
37 Caps
6

DEENMOHAMMADI, Sirous


2-Jul-70
27 years
Shahrdari Tabriz
Midfield
16 Caps
7

MANSOURIAN, Alireza


12-Dec-71
26 years
Esteghlal
Midfield
33 Caps
14

KHAKPOUR, Mohammad


20-Feb-69
29 years
Bahman
Defender
37 Caps
22

NAKISA, Nima


1-May-75
23 years
Persepolis
Goalkeeper
6 Caps
24

LATIFI , Ali


20-Feb-76
22 Years
Bahman
Forward
0 Caps

MOHAMMADKHANI, Nader


23-Aug-63
34 Years
Polyacryl
Defender
16 Caps

SHAHROUDI, Reza


21-Feb-72
26 Years
Persepolis
Midfield
34 Caps

ZARRINCHEH , Javad


23-Jul-66
31 Years
Esteghlal
Defender
55 Caps

HAMEDANI, Sattar


06-06-74
24 Years
Bahman
Midfield
3 Caps

SERAJ , Behnam


19-Jun-71
26 Years
Sanat Naft
Forward
0 Caps

PASHAZADEH , Mehdi


27-Dec-73
24 Years
Esteghlal
Defender
4 Caps

BOROUMAND, Parviz


11-Sep-72
25 Years
Esteghlal
Goalkeeper
0 Caps

 

 

             
# Name Caps Goals Birth Date Age Club
1 ABEDZADEH, Ahmadreza 79 0 25-May-66 32 Perspolis
22 BOROUMAND, Parviz 19 0 02-Aug-75 23 Esteghlal
12 NAKISA, Nima 11 0 01-May-75 23 Perspolis
             
4 KHAKPOUR, Mohammad 52 2 20-Feb-69 29 Bahman
21 MINAVAND, Mehrdad 68 4 30-Nov-75 23 Perspolis
14 MOHAMMADKHANI, Nader 64 4 23-Aug-63 35 Poli-Ekril Isfahan
15 OSTADASADI, Ali Akbar     17-Sep-65 33 Zob Ahan
7 PASHAZADEH, Mehdi 12 0 27-Dec-73 25 Esteghlal
5 PEYROVANI, Afshin 69 0 06-Feb-70 28 Perspolis
3 SAADAVI, Naim 20 1 16-Jun-69 29 Bahman
16 SHAHROUDI, Reza 40 5 23-Mar-72 26 Altay Izmir
17 ZARRINCHEH, Javad 80 1 23-Jul-66 32 Esteghlal
             
6 BAGHERI, Karim 86 51 20-Feb-74 24 Arminia Bielefeld
8 DEENMOHAMMADI, Sirous 43 6 07-Oct-70 28 Shahrdari Tabriz
9 ESTILI, Hamidreza 82 12 04-Jan-68 30 Bahman
18 HAMEDANI, Sattar 38 1 16-Mar-73 25 Bahman
2 MAHDAVIKIA, Mehdi 108 13 24-Jul-77 21 Perspolis
7 MANSOURIAN, Alireza 46 7 02-Dec-71 27 Esteghlal
             
11 AZIZI, Khodadad 47 11 22-Jun-71 27 FC Cologne
10 DAEI, Ali 151 110 21-Mar-69 29 Arminia Bielefeld
13 LATIFI, Ali 2 0 20-Feb-76 22 Perspolis
19 SERAJ, Behnam  2 0 19-Jun-71 27 Sanat Naft Abadan

Germany-WC1998 Iran-WC1998 USA-WC1998 Yugoslavia-WC1998

 

14.06.1998 at 17:30 Stade Geoffroy Guichar , Saint-Etienne Attendance: 30392
Yugoslavia

1 – 0

Iran
Referee: NORIEGA, Alberto – Peru FIFA World Cup / Group F-match

 

Goalscorers
MIHAJLOVIC Sinisa (72′) None.
Opening squads
KRALJ Ivica (GK)
MIRKOVIC Zoran
DJOROVIC Goran
JOKANOVIC Slavisa
BRNOVIC Branko
MIJATOVIC Predrag
JUGOVIC Vladimir
STOJKOVIC Dragan
MIHAJLOVIC Sinisa
PETROVIC Zeljko
MILOSEVIC Savo
Nima NAKISA
Javad ZARRINCHEH
Mohammad KHAKPOUR
Mehdi PASHAZADEH
Nader MOHAMMADKHANI
Mehrdad MINAVAND
Mehdi MAHDAVIKIA
Karim BAGHERI
Hamidreza ESTILI
Ali DAEI
Khodadad AZIZI
Substitutes
STANKOVIC Dejan
OGNJENOVIC Perica
KOVACEVIC Darko
Ahmadreza ABEDZADEH
Naim SAADAVI
Afshin PEYROVANI
Alireza MANSOURIAN
Sirous DEENMOHAMMADI
Substitutions
STANKOVIC Dejan -> BRNOVIC Branko 50′
OGNJENOVIC Perica -> MILOSEVIC Savo 58′
KOVACEVIC Darko -> STOJKOVIC Dragan 68′
Alireza MANSOURIAN -> Hamidreza ESTILI (68)
Yellow cards
PETROVIC Zeljko 42′
STOJKOVIC Dragan 60′
None.
Red cards
None None.

Match report

21.06.1998 at 21:00 Stade Gerland , Lyon Attendance: 44000
USA

1 – 2

Iran
Referee: MEIER Urs – Switzerland FIFA World Cup / Group F-match

 

Goalscorers
Brian McBRIDE (87) Hamidreza ESTILI (40)
Mehdi MAHDAVIKIA (84)
Opening squads
Kasey KELLER (GK )
Frankie HEJDUK
Eddie POPE
Thomas DOOLEY
David REGIS
Roy WEGERLE
Joe-Max MOORE
Tab RAMOS
Brian McBRIDE
Claudio REYNA
Cobi JONES
Ahmadreza ABEDZADEH
Nader MOHAMMADKHANI
Mohammad KHAKPOUR
Javad ZARRINCHEH
Mehrdad MINAVAND
Mehdi PASHAZADEH
Mehdi MAHDAVIKIA
Karim BAGHERI
Hamidreza ESTILI
Ali DAEI
Khodadad AZIZI
Substitutes
Predrag SRADOSAVLIGEVIC
Ernie STEWART
Brian MAISONNEUVE
Eric WYNALDA
Jeff AGOOS
Nima NAKISA
Afshin PEYROVANI
Naim SAADAVI
Sirous DEENMOHAMMADI
Alireza MANSOURIAN
Substitutions
Predrag SRADOSAVLIGEVIC -> WEGERLE Roy (57)
Ernie STEWART -> Tab RAMOS (57)
Brian MAISONNEUVE -> Thomas DOOLEY (82)
Alireza MANSOURIAN -> Khodadad AZIZI (73)
Afshin PEYROVANI -> Nader MOHAMMADKHANI (74)
Naim SAADAVI -> Javad ZARRINCHEH (77)
Yellow cards
David REGIS (18) Mehrdad MINAVAND (8)
Javad ZARRINCHEH (77)
Red cards
None None.

 

 

26.06.1998 at 21:00 Stade de la Mosson , Montpellier Attendance: 33500
Germany

2 – 0

Iran
Referee: GONZALEZ CHAVEZ Epifanio – Paraguay FIFA World Cup / Group F-match

 

Goalscorers
BIERHOFF Oliver (50′)
KLINSMANN Jurgen (57′)
None.
Opening squads
KOPKE Andreas (GK)
WORNS Christian
HEINRICH Jorg
KOHLER Jurgen
HELMER Thomas
THON Olaf
MATTHAUS Lothar
HASSLER Thomas
KLINSMANN Jurgen
BIERHOFF Oliver
TARNAT Michael
Ahmadreza ABEDZADEH
Mohammad KHAKPOUR
Javad ZARRINCHEH
Mehrdad MINAVAND
Mehdi PASHAZADEH
Nader MOHAMMADKHANI
Mehdi MAHDAVIKIA
Karim BAGHERI
Hamidreza ESTILI
Ali DAEI
Khodadad AZIZI
Substitutes
HAMANN Dietmar
ZIEGE Christian
KIRSTEN Ulf
Oliver KAHN (GK)
Jens JEREMIES
Andreas MOELLER
Stefan REUTER
Markus BABBEL
Nima NAKISA
Afshin PEYROVANI
Naim SAADAVI
Ali Akbar OSTADASADI
Sattar HAMEDANI
Alireza MANSOURIAN
Reza SHAHROUDI
Sirous DEENMOHAMMADI
Substitutions
HAMANN Dietmar -> THON Olaf 46′
KIRSTEN Ulf -> HASSLER Thomas 69′
ZIEGE Christian -> TARNAT Michael 76′
Sirous DEENMOHAMMADI -> Javad ZARRINCHEH (70)
Yellow cards
HASSLER Thomas 46′
KLINSMANN Jurgen 31′
Ali DAEI (47)
Red cards
None None.
Match report
Iran Gives Its Heart To Soccer-Apr 1998
World Cup bound Iran ousts coach - May 1998
Edgy Yugoslavs scrape past the resilient Iranians; YUGOSLAVIA 1 IRAN 0.-Jun 1998
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