Category: Topics

Pierre Carlo: The Polish Goalkeeper Who Found a Home in Iran

Among the names of Iran’s Team Melli players, one stands out for fans: Pierre Carlo, also known as Carlos. His story is a fascinating blend of football, migration, and national identity.

A Journey from Poland to Iran

Pierre Carlo was a Polish immigrant who arrived in Iran during World War II. The tumultuous events of that era forced him to seek refuge far from his native Poland. German forces invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, leading to the defeat of the Polish Army. As a result, millions of Poles found themselves under Soviet authority due to territorial changes dictated by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

In 1941, during the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran, the Soviets agreed to evacuate part of the Polish formation to Iran. Among these non-military refugees was Pierre Carlo, who crossed the Caspian Sea to find safety in Iran.

Settling in Iran

Despite the challenges, Iranians welcomed Polish refugees openly. The Iranian government facilitated their entry and provided provisions. Polish schools, cultural organizations, and businesses were established to create a sense of home for the displaced Poles. Carlo settled in the port city of Pahlevi (now Anzali), which became a major landing point for Polish refugees arriving from the Soviet Union.

From Refuge to Football Stardom

Carlo’s journey took an unexpected turn when he found his way to the famous Tehran club “Docharkhe Savaran” (later known as Taj, currently Esteghlal). On April 6, 1945, he signed an agreement to play for the club, initially as a temporary arrangement. However, Carlo’s brilliance as a goalkeeper soon made him a key player for Taj.

His impact extended beyond club football. In 1947, Carlo changed his nationality and played for Iran’s national team. He became the first foreign player with two distinct stints in Iranian football. His goalkeeping skills earned him honors, including winning the Tehran Club Cup in 1947, 1949, and 1956, as well as the Tehran National Cup in 1351.

Team Melli Appearances

Carlo made two appearances for Iran’s Team Melli, both against Turkey in October 1947. Turkey, a formidable European team, defeated Iran 3-1 in the first match, while the second ended in a 1-1 draw. Unfortunately, the match was abandoned due to excessive rough play and violence by both teams’ players.

Legacy and Final Resting Place

Hossein Sedghiani, a talent scout credited with discovering great players, and Ali Danaei Fard, the first head coach of the former cyclists’ club, had unwavering faith in Carlo’s goalkeeping abilities. After retiring from football and even pursuing an acting career, Pierre Carlo remained in Iran. He passed away in the country and was buried there, alongside many other Polish immigrants. The same land that once offered him refuge became his final resting place.

Pierre Carlo’s story serves as a testament to the power of football to transcend borders and create lasting connections. His legacy lives on as a unique chapter in the rich tapestry of Iranian football history.

Team Melli fans are the least excited for the FIFA World Cup 2022.

Although the result is a bit of a surprise for Iran, which has one of the most passionate football supporters in the world, looking back at the event of the last few months, it is hardly a surprise that the fans have lost faith in their team.
Poor preparations of Team Melli. lack of friendly games, disunity and internal conflicts between players, the saga of Head Coach   Skocic disqualification and reinstatement, the shambolic management of FFIRI, political interference, the desperation of the nation with daily economic hardship, a great number of fans migrating towards Iran’s volleyball team and many other factors have dampened the enthusiasm of the Iranian fans toward Team Melli in the World Cup 2022.

The experts over at have analyzed Social Media sentiment data from the last 12 months using the social listening tool Linkfluence in order to determine which nations’ supporters are most hyped about the upcoming  2022 FIFA World Cup.

Saudi Arabia is the most excited country (33%) in the world.

Portuguese fans are the most excited country in Europe about the 2022 FIFA World Cup, with almost a quarter of fans already excited (25%).

Costa Rica, despite not being among the front-runners, is the most excited team across America (29%).

The European Nations Most Excited for Game Day

Comparing Social Media data across Europe, it’s clear that Portugal is the most excited country about the  2022 FIFA World Cup. With almost a quarter (25%) of Portuguese citizens speaking positively about the event, it’s clear that they are hyped to see Cristiano Ronaldo back playing for his nation.

Belgium, who came in third place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow, is found to have over a fifth of their fans (21%) ready for the action.

2018 winners France are joint-third with Spain (20%) and both teams are full of talent. The pair will be aiming to reach the latter stages of the competition, with France hoping to take home their third trophy.

The English are equally excited about the tournament (13%) as the Welsh despite the Premier League being interrupted mid-season for the first time.



Nation    (FIFA Ranking)  Positive

Portugal     8th                   25%

Belgium     2nd                  21%

France        3rd                  20%

Spain          7th                  20%

Denmark    11th               14%

England      5th                 13%

Wales         18th               13%

Croatia       16th               12%

Switzerland 14th             11%

Germany     12th              6%

Serbia         25th               17%

Poland.      26th                 7%

Netherlands 10th              7%


Costa Rica

The Americas’ Most Excited World Cup Countries

Eight North and South American countries have qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and fans of Costa Rica are not holding back. Despite having the worst odds of the tournament, 29% of people in Costa Rica are excited about the tournament’s kick-off on the 23rd of November.

Uruguay, who are hoping to improve on their 2010 semi-final finish with the aid of star strikers Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, recorded a 24% positive sentiment.

Perhaps surprisingly, the USA  which is facing Iran, England, and Wales in the World Cup, has ranked bottom of the excitement list.

Nation     (FIFA Ranking)   Positive

Costa Rica     31st                29%

Uruguay         13th                24%

Ecuador         46th                21%

Mexico          9th                 18%

Brazil             1st                  18%

Canada         38th               16%

Argentina     4th                 15%

USA               15th                8%

Rest of the World: Countries Ranking Among Most Excited

With the tournament being held next door in neighboring Qatar, Saudi Arabia ranked as the most excited team around the world with a high 33% positive score across Social Media.

In fact, Qatar is also among the most excited, with a positive score of 28%. Little wonder, given that they are the hosts.

Senegal has recently won the Africa Cup of Nations and the hype has not stopped with fans having a 31% positive sentiment score across the last 12 months. Supporters will be hoping that the in-form team led by the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly, Edouard Mendy, and Sadio Mane can better the nation’s previous best quarter-final finish.

Iran lies at the bottom with only 2% positive score.


Saudi Arabia

Nation     (FIFA Ranking)   Positive

Saudi Arabia  49th              33%

Senegal          20th              31%

Qatar              51st               28%

Ghana            60th               27%

Cameroon      37th              26%

Japan             23rd              22%

Australia        42nd              22%

South Korea   29th              17%

Morocco          24th             9%

Tunisia            35th             5%

Iran                 21st             2%

FFIRI to pay Wilmots a further 3 Million Euros

The former head of the Legal Department of the Football Federation said: “The ruling of the Wilmots case has been issued and we have to pay an amount of around 3 million euros to this coach.”

According to Mehr reporter, Safiullah Faghanpour said ” as a result of the former Team Melli coach filing a claim demanding payment of 6 million Euros in back pay and damages, FIFA Disciplinary Committee ruled for the Belgian coach and order FFIRI pay Wilmott an amount of 6 million euros after, however, after FFIRI appealed against the amount, the case was sent to arbitration at CAS, which issued its verdict and the amount was reduced to 3 million Euros.

Faghanpour said: “There was a lot of concern here and everyone thought that we would be condemned in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), but I consider what we achieved as a great success !!. The only case that we have won over the years in international tribunals is the Wilmots case, which was in CAS and the verdict was broken.”
Faghanpour mentioned that it (CAS) reduced the amount of Wilmots against Iran, but it could have reached about 12 million euros. Now the Supreme Sports Court has disregarded the claim and made the final payment due to the coach to less than 3 million euros.

Faghanpour claimed that this was a great success for the Federation and in a bizarre statement, claimed: “Now we have to pay an amount that is not very significant! ”  Faghanpour, who was talking to “Good Morning” TV show, was asked whether this decision on Wilmots’ case is final and official? He emphasized: “Yes, the verdict was issued. Probably, it will be announced this week. What I said is certain.”

Faghanpour then went on to congratulate himself on the victory !!! “I must congratulate the success we achieved in the Supreme Court of Sports!

The Belgian Marc Wilmott was appointed as the head coach of Team Melli in 2018 replacing Carlos Queiroz. He was in the job for less than 6 months and received 2 million euros from the Football Federation before losing to Bahrain and Iraq. Based on Faghanpour’s words, Wilmots has earned around 1 million euros each month in his short and disastrous time in Iran, yet he has the audacity to congratulate himself and the FFIRI for not paying 12 million euros as he claimed!

In contrast, The Croatian Dragan Skocic, whose contract is in local currency draws a salary of nearly US$100,000 a month, i.e. only 10% of what Wilmott’s earned.

It is a desperate time for Iran’s Football management and leadership. It seems the FFIRI as an organization attracts lots of charlatans, incompetent and inept people who do nothing but harm football and the country’s reputation, not to mention damage its finances. One person who is responsible for the Wilmotts debacle, Mehdi Taj is putting his name forward as a candidate for the Presidency of the FFIRI in the coming election next month!



A repeat of Dehdari era revolt.

The revolt of players or players’ power, whichever one wants to call it, is nothing new in Iran’s Team Melli. Nothing, however, was more famous, that the mass protest of players against Parviz Dehdari in the mid 80’s.

Parviz Dehdari was as much a gentleman of ethics, morality, and good behavior as a football coach. He was known among those who knew him that the ethics and values of sports were driven by the mood of the people who would exercise his moral teachings.

As a player and a successful coach with clubs like Persepolis, Homa and Team Melli , there was no person as honest, principled, and respected as Dehdari. With strict discipline along with fairness and impartiality, he was quite revered and feared by the players at the same time. However, there are alway one or two players who won’t like strong leadership and think they are above the law and more favorable than the coach.

There was a player called Mohammad Panjali who had these ideas of grandeur and at the time believed he was above the laws of discipline. Panjali was the Captain of Team Melli when Dehdsari was the head coach. Panjali was getting on while Dehdari was looking at young blood for the future of the team. The wise man of football, or Ustad as many called him, quietly dealt with the issue by benching Panjali during the opening match against Japan in the 1986 Asian Games in Seoul. Korea. Panjali did not like that and demanded that he plays in the starting line-up.

On the return flight back home, 15 players submitted their resignation letters to the federation. Sirous Ghayeghran quickly withdrew his signature to leave 14 players on the list. Those players thought that the football federation would have no choice but to support them by removing Dehdari and his colleagues, including Reza Vatankhah, and appointing another person as the head coach, but that did not happen.

This mass resignation which was instigated by Panjali, became one of the darkest events in Iran’s football. Credit t the Federation, they stuck with Dehdari against half of the squad.

One of those 14 players who resigned back in 1986 was Morteza Fonoonizadeh. The Persepolis veteran of Persepolis commented on the recent drama in Team Melli and the subsequent retention of Dragan Skocic:

“I approved Mr. Skocic from day one. He worked hard to win qualification for Team Melli to the World Cup in the easiest way. I even asked to have a birthday party for Mr. Skocic and pay for it.  The board of directors and the technical committee were at odds with each other and finally did not reach an agreement.”

Fonoonizadeh was asked to comment on the similarity between the current Team Melli situation with the differences between the players regarding the coach and the situation back in 1985 when he was involved in the mass resignation in protest against the legendary Dehdari: “Yes, I was one of the fourteen players and it was by far the worst mistake of my career. I was 22 years old and I was one of the fix players on the team. I just got it wrong. Team Melli is not the legacy of anyone’s father. No one has the right to such claims. No player is as important as the team. Now that someone says I don’t want Skocic and someone says I do, should we fire everyone? You fired him once and brought him back again. As soon as you brought him back, you ruined it.”

“He may be the best player in Europe, but the most important thing is to preserve the sanctity of the national team. The player’s duty is not to pick the coach, it is not why he is in Team Melli. We tried to do this to Mr. Dehdari a few years ago, and they kicked us out one by one while the federation kept Mr. Dehdari. He (Dehdari) was a gentleman through and through and had no grudges against anyone. He only demanded an apology to the people of Iran, not himself,  and he would take those who apologized back to the team.  We did that in an open letter published in the newspaper and mentioned that we were wrong. I, Farshad Pious, and Karim Bavi were taken back in Team Melli.

After this incident, Dehdari built a new team and a new generation of footballers was born. The young Team Melli won third place in the AFC Asian Cup 1988. Instead of those who were banned from Team Melli, Dehdari introduced players such as Abedzadeh, Zarincheh, Marfavi, etc., who became the main pillars of Iranian football. Despite finishing third in the Asian Cup, he was targeted by fans who considered club allegiance bove the national team. He was subjected to obscenities from some fans as a reward for building a young team and getting rid of rebel players. He resigned before the start of the FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers in 1990 . Dehdari finally passed away on November 23, 1992, due to kidney complications.

Team Melli instability continues to raise concerns.

The countdown to the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has reached 134. While all the teams in the most important football tournament in the world have prepared their plans with the necessary support, resources, and detailed requirement in order to get the best performance tout of their teams, the case in Iran is quite different.

Team Melli is facing many challenges and struggling despite the fact that they qualified early and with many matches to spare. The crisis began after the dismissal of the Head of the federation, it is now embroiled in rumors of the impending dismissal of Dragan Skocic from his post as head coach of the national team.

“Behind the scenes, the intervention of people outside the football federation to bring about change has put undue pressure on the federation. Controversially several players of Team Melli are playing significant roles to push for change. Mirshad Majedi, the acting head of the Football Federation, entered the fray after seeing the two parties that had arisen among Team Melli players in stories supporting or criticizing Dragan Skocic, to end the matter for good by contacting them directly.
Majedi conveyed his displeasure about the behavior of the players to the senior members of the Iranian national team. He, who was surprised by the arrival of several new players in the recent camp of the team, postponed dealing with them to another time to show that he has decided to talk to the main players of the squad and calm the created atmosphere.

Among the strong supporters of Skocic, Azamoun and Taremi have been the most vocal. In an act of sedation, some new players, led by provocateurs are supporting the other side. The partisan is also clearly felt in the media which are taking sides, instead of encouraging stability and accepting the Croat.

The efforts of Majedi to change the atmosphere team’s dressing room have been counteracted by secret meetings in the corridors of the Ministry of Sports. Majedi, who no longer categorically dismisses Dragan Skocic’s departure, is now struggling with all kinds of demands to replace the Croatian head coach. The catalyst of these demands comes from the Ministry which has a long history of interference behind the scenes and applying all sorts of pressures to the extent of threats to get to their demands. In public, however, The Ministry always manitains the official policy of non-interference in FFIRI affairs and respect for the federation as an independent entity.

Some patrons of Carlos Queiroz have secretly held meetings with the officials of the Ministry of Sports during Majedi’s tenure as acting head and demanded the return of the Portuguese. Meetings that were supported and perhaps attended by several representatives of the Islamic Council (the Parliament) who demanded the explicit intervention of Hamid Sajjadi, the Minister of Sports in the affairs of the FFIRI. However, Sajjadi, aware of FIFA’s sensitivity to the subject and Iran being very close to being sanctioned because of several issues, including females attendance in stadiums, has announced that he will not get directly involved in the story, but an old Queiroz advocate who is closely related to Sajjadi has given strong indications of the return of the Portuguese man creating an atmosphere of insecurity and agitation.

 Will Skocic achieve his dream of sitting on the bench of the national team in the World Cup? Will Queiroz becomes the head coach of Team Melli due to external pressures? Will an Iranian option leads the national team? You have to wait a few more days to get answers to these questions

Geopolitics of Football.

The recent news of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s criticism against “Canada Soccer” for arranging a friendly international match against Iran in Vancouver, reflects on how geopolitics is affecting the game as much as how hypocritical and biased the western politicians are becoming.

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the geopolitics of the invasion crept into the world of football. FIFA, the world governing body, under pressure from the west addressed the Russian invasion by suspending Russia and its football clubs from all competitions on February 28, including the ultimate one: the 2022 World Cup tournament in Qatar. The Justification was poor and unprecedented. There was no global and agreed UN resolution of any kind. FIFA never suspended the USA for invading Iraq or Afghanistan and committing genocides in the process.

The non-western world was shocked by such influence of politics on football. while FIFA always enforced its policy against the government and political interference in the game, it has historically tried to avoid geopolitics impacting the sport in principle. However, it is now clear that the game is not played on even grounds.

Nevertheless, the biggest shock that exposed the mentality of prejudice was the western Media’s hypocrisy and double standard. Although nothing to do with football, white reporters kept on highlighting the plight of civilized Ukrainian refugees, with white skin and blue eyes, in such acts of duplicity, prejudice, and downright bias that exposed the inherent bias against non-whites and people of other ethnic groups, races and/or religions. Embracing hate against non-whites, was perhaps subdued and carefully vetted but Ukraine made it flagrantly clear that extreme right and white supremacy is on the rise and sometimes flagrant.

It also highlighted that when it comes to their self-interest, the spirits of Olympics, sports, and others are dumped in the bin.

Russia’s suspension by FIFA was significant for two reasons. First, FIFA historically doesn’t punish countries for intrastate conflicts. Secondly, this is the first time that FIFA sided with boycotters. Moreover, the integration of politics with the World Cup goes beyond the Russian invasion, as the choice of Qatar as the host nation invited a significant backlash.

Normally, it is the role of the United Nations (UN) to sanction countries and member states following the resolution agreed upon. FIFA’s speedy suspension of Russia marks the first time since 1950 that FIFA allowed the intrastate conflict to play a role in its disciplinary decision-making without a prior United Nations (UN) resolution preempting it. Since World War II, most intrastate conflicts haven’t resulted in suspensions from FIFA. Two prominent examples stand out. England and Argentina participated in the Spain World Cup in 1982, despite the UK considering withdrawal during the Falkland War occurring earlier that year. Additionally, Iran and Iraq fought a brutal eight-year war during the 1980s, but FIFA suspended neither nation from the 1982 and 1986 World Cups (with Iraq being the aggressor).

Iran, itself has been condemned umpteen times for mixing politics with sport. Its boycott of the state of Israel is well known in every sport. Its Judo federation was finally suspended due to that. It is fortunate that Iran and Israel are far apart when it comes to football with The Jewish state not qualifying for the World Cup since its only appearance in Mexico in 1970. Can you imagine if Iran refused to play a country it does not recognize in a World Cup?

We have to face reality and that this world is controlled by the mighty powerful and the rich. Equality, human rights, peaceful existence, friendship, and understanding are all slogans that the west preaches to us and will use in their quest to dominate and influence the world. Unfortunately, football has fallen victim to this strategy. A character such as Trudeau, who is a known vehement anti-Iran politician with a special bias against the theocracy of the Mullahs, is part of such domination strategy and thus feels obliged to express his objection against a football match!

Fortunately, Canada is a democratic society where one person cannot dictate his whims or rules without the consent of the parliament. That cannot be said of Iran, of course.

And hence, Canada vs Iran match in Vancouver is on and 95% of the tickets have already been sold. Take that!

How Iran fared against the opponents ?

Iran’s records against the teams of the group are quite healthy and that is quite a boost for Team Melli players ahead of the first game on November, 21st.

Team Melli played four times against possible and actual opponents. England remains the only team that has not faced Iran before. Team Melli managed 2 wins, 1 draw, and 1 loss to the teams in the preliminary group.

By far the biggest and most famous result against the opponents here was in Lyon on 21st June 1998 when Iran beat USA 2-1 in one of the most anticipated matches of the 1998 World Cup. Estili and Mahdavikia were the heroes of the day scoring for Iran. But 20 years before that in Argentina, when the world cup had only 16 elite participationg teams, Team Melli gained a famous draw with overhyped Scotland or the Tartan Army coached by Ally McCloud who was promising the Scotland team will return home lifting the World Cup before a ball was even kicked. The Scottish team was a star spangle group of the best player in the English First Division, the predecessor of the Premiere League.

Team Melli also played a single match against Ukraine in a friendly international which at the time was making a name for itself in European football, in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. Ali Daei scored the only goal of the match.

Iran’s loss to Wales came in a friendly match in the Araymehr Stadium and was part of the team’s preparation for the Argentine 1978 World Cup.

USA asked Iranian for a friendly in the states in 2000 hoping to get revenge for the loss in Lyon two years before. This match was played in the Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California in front of 50,000 fans. Mahdi Mahdavikia was once again the scourge of the American team when he scored early in the sixth minute of the match. US team equalized through Armas in the second half, the match ending in a 1-1 draw with the USA not being able to exact revenge.

So, for all intent and purposes, Team Melli has no psychological disadvantage in preparing for the World Cup. Such head-to-head results should boost Iran’s hopes of qualifying from the group stages for the first time in history.

Head2Head Table

England 0 0 0 0 0
USA 2 1 1 0 1
Wales 1 0 0 1 -1
Scotland 1 0 1 0 1
Ukraine 1 1 0 0 1


Iran Beach soccer starts with a victory vs. Mexico

Defending Champions Iran Beach soccer national team played its first match in the Intercontinental Cup 2019 and ended it with a comprehensive win against CONCACAF Champions Mexico.

On Tuesday, in the ninth edition of the tournament of the UAE-hosted intercontinental Beach tournament ,  Hashempour’s Iranian national team defeated Mexico 7-4 in their first match for both teams.

In the first period of the match, both teams scored two goals apiece, Iran’s goals were scored by Mohammad Ahmadzadeh and Mohammad Ali Mokhtari. In the second period Iran, playing a better game than the first, scored two more goals. The goals were scored by Mohammad Ali Mokhtari and Amir Hossein Akbari. The third period of the match further goals were scored by the Iranian side by Amir Hossein Akbari who scored Iran’s fifth goal. Meanwhile, Mohammad Masoumizadeh scored the sixth Iranian goal while the final goal was scored by Mohammad Ahmadzadeh.


The full results of the First Round


November 5, 2019

Group A Japan   Japan 6 – 4 Italy    Italy
Group A Spain   Spain 2 -2 

(2 -1) PSO

Group B Egypt   Egypt 3 – 5 Russia  Russia
Group B Iran   Iran 7 – 4  Mexico  Mexico



The next match will be on Wednesday 19:30 Tehran time when Iran will face Egypt.

This competition is considered to be the most prestigious beach football event after the FIFA World Beach Soccer Cup under the supervision of FIFA and the World Beach Games held by Anouk (National Olympic Committees).

Iran Beach soccer stuns the Brazilians

Iran continued their superb run with their second scalp of Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental competition with a gutsy 3-1 tie-breaker win after the game finished 4-4 against multiple world champions Brazil in an exciting Group B encounter.

The competition is being played in the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) on Wednesday night

Keeping Asian champions Iran in the fray all through the match was goalkeeper Seyed Peyman Hosseinilargani as he denied the talented Brazilians.

The goalkeeper was crucial in the shootout, saving the second penalty from Jose da Silva to stun Brazil who are desperate to add the Intercontinental Cup to their collection.

The Iranian Beach Soccer team also defeated world champion Russia in Group B on Tuesday.
Marco Octavio’s men will play Italy on Thursday.
Group A consists of the UAE (host), Switzerland, Morocco and Mexico.

Meanwhile, Russia got their campaign back on track with a 6-3 win over Italy in a Group B match to keep their hopes alive for the fourth and final semi-final spot. The group is wide open as Iran have four points after winning both their matches in the tie-breaker.

Russia, who lost to the Asian champions on Tuesday, have three points following their win over Italy.

But on the final day of preliminary round matches, the world and defending champions will have to defeat Brazil to secure their spot in the last four stages.


Team Melli beach soccer bow out in style.

Iran’s Beach soccer bowed out of the 2013 FIFA Beach Soccer World cup after a gallant display against the defending Champions, Russia.

Russia , who recovered a two-goal deficit to edge Iran 6-5 , booked a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup semi-final date with hosts Tahiti. Dmitrii Shishin, the star of a stunning upset of Brazil in the Ravenna 2011 decider, settled an engrossing game in the defending champions’ favor with just 124 seconds remaining. The game which saw both teams exchanging the lead in three periods of the match was heading for a 5-5 draw and extra time, when a hopeful mild shot form the Russian Shishin bounced off an Iranian defender leg to end up in the roof of the net with Team Melli’s goalkeeper Hosseini at full stretch, but unable to save it and .

Russia were the heavy favorites before kick-off, but they were given a grueling examination in Papeete. Moslem Mesigar and Farid Boulokbashi fired Iran into a 2-0 lead and although Egor Eremeev swiftly pulled one back, the Asians’ stellar marking and physical approach largely stifled Mikhail Likhachev’s game plan for long periods.

Yury Krasheninnikov did equalize midway through the second period, before Anatoliy Peremitin capitalised on a seldom defensive error to put Russia ahead for the first time. That advantage lasted just 12 seconds as Boulokbashi thumped home his second to ensure the teams began the concluding third at deadlock.

Mesigar completed his brace shortly after the restart to restore Iran’s lead, but Russia began to exact their superiority thereafter. Goals from Kirill Romanov and Eremeev sent the Europeans 5-4 ahead, only for Mohammad Ahmadzadeh to level the scores, against the run of play, on 32 minutes.

Likhachev urged his charges to find a winner and cometh the hour, cometh the man. That man was the ever-reliable Shishin, who netted an engrossing contest’s 11th and final goal to keep the Russian dream alive and move himself joint-top of the tournament’s scoring chart.

Russia and Tahiti, who stunned Argentina 6-1 in their quarter-final, will now have a one-day rest before meeting on Saturday for a place in the final.


6:5 (1:2, 2:1, 3:2)
Match 28 , Papeete ,  To’ata Stadium
Goals Russia


Group matches

19/09  vs Brazil  1-4

21/09 vs Senegal 5-3

23/09 vs. Ukraine 2-3