Category: World Cup 2014

AFC qualifiers for FIFA World Cup 2026

The seeding for FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers in Asia have been determined.

After winning the title of CAFA Nations Cup 2023, Team Melli would be busy preparing for the AFC Asian Cup and the next round of World Cup qualifiers. Iran will not be involved in Round 1 of the qualifiers but will start its games in Round 2.

The qualifiers starting in 2023 will be a marathon of matches in a similar pattern to the previous edition of the World Cup in Qatar.

The FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers will start in the Asian continent on Thursday, October 12. In the first round, 22 AFC teams from the lowest FIFA ranking will take part, with 11 of them will advance to the group round.

The second round of the qualifiers will see Iran’s presence. Team Melli is currently ranked second in Asia after Japan. The AFC second round of 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification, which also serves as the second round of 2027 AFC Asian Cup qualification, is expected to be played from 16 November 2023 to 11 June 2024

A total of thirty-six teams will be drawn into nine groups of four to play home-and-away round-robin matches. They include the twenty-five teams (teams ranked 1–25 in the AFC entrant list) which received byes to this round and the eleven winners from the first round.

Eighteen group winners and runners-up advance to the third round and qualify for the 2027 AFC Asian Cup. The third and fourth-place teams will advance to the third round of the 2027 Asian Cup qualification.


The 11 teams that advanced from Round 1, along with the top 25 teams in Asia, form a total of 36 teams that must be placed in 9 four-team groups. The classification of this round of competitions is as follows:

Seed 1: Japan – Iran – Australia – South Korea – Saudi Arabia – Qatar – Emirates – Iraq – Oman

Seed 2: Uzbekistan – China – Jordan – Bahrain – Syria – Vietnam – Palestine – Kyrgyzstan – India

Seed 3: Lebanon – Tajikistan – Thailand – North Korea – Philippines – Malaysia – Turkmenistan – Kuwait – Hong Kong

The top two teams from each group will advance to the third round of the World Cup qualifiers in the Asian continent and the third and fourth teams of the group are also eliminated.


The schedule is expected to be as follows, according to the FIFA International Match Calendar.

Matchday 116 November 2023
Matchday 221 November 2023
Matchday 321 March 2024
Matchday 426 March 2024
Matchday 56 June 2024
Matchday 611 June 2024

Mehrdad Pooladi is declared a free agent.

Team Melli left back and ex-Persepolis player, Mehrdad Pooladi has been declared as a free agent.

Pooladi was involved in a long dispute after the conclusion of the FIFA World Cup 2014 with Persepolis. While the players has repeatedly said that he is a “Free Agent” as his contract with the club has expired by the end of last season, Persepolis insisted that Pooladi is contract bound and must report back to duty and training else they will take disciplinary measures against him. In the meantime, Pooladi was seeking a new club.

Although there has been some interest from Europe, Mehrdad Pooladi , who was the best performing Iranian player in the World Cup , failed to conclude any deal in Europe. The next destination was closer to home. Al Shahaniya club of the Qatar Star League promptly showed interest and began verbal negotiation on the knowledge that Pooladi is available. The two sides were close to agreeing terms except that Al Shahaniya demanded a release in form of ITC from Persepolis as a condition for recruiting the Iranian defender.

Persepolis refused to release the player or cooperate with the Qatari club. With time running out to the closing of the transfer windows, Al Shahniya withdrew their offer to Pooladi due to lack of progress and documentations issues and instead the newly promoted team to the QSL , signed Pooladi’s compatriot and Team Melli teammate , Masoud Shojaei. 

Pooladi took his case to the Board of Arbitration of the FFIRI. Today the board issued a statement declaring him as Free Agent. The Board also declared that Pooladi’s financial settlement with Persepolis club is still unresolved and not settled. According to the contract, Pooladi is still to receive a substantial payment from the club outstanding from last season.

On a side note, The newly appointed Persepolis coach , Hamid Derakhshan was asked yesterday by a reporter about  the whereabouts of Mehrdad Pooladi and the reason for his absence from the team’s training session. Instead of speaking facts and truth, Derakhshan attributed Pooladi’s absence to the problems he has with the Military Service Release Form (…) ! 

Mansourian “League’s goal scarcity is archetypal of the World Cup teams.”

Three weeks of the Persian football League 2014/15 has produced one of the lowest ever goals tallies, a fact that has alarmed many experts while raising some heated debates amongst the concerned. 4 teams have yet to score a single goal in 3 matches, while four of them have scored less than 1 goal per game. Thanks goodness, Sepahan is an exception , with a perfect start leading the table with 9 points and 7 goals scored.

 Many of the experts opined that this is a classical reflection of Team Melli’s performance in the World Cup , where sheer defense was the name of the game , leaving very little for imagination , attractive football , offensive plans and individual show of skills to be displayed .


Alireza Mansourian , a coach of Iran’s U23 until recently and currently the head coach of Naft Tehran , was one of the coaches who blamed the World Cup. “ In the World Cup , we witnessed South American teams challenging the Europeans and taking the game to the last minutes. The most successful coaches where the ones that closed their defenses well and then targeted quick counters where they hoped to snatch a goal. It seems that our coaches in Iran have quickly picked up this strategy. Their defensive game plans have something to do with Job Security as well as none wants to be beaten and get the sack!” Mansourian , however , was diplomatic in his approach , refraining from commenting on Team Melli’s defensive strategy while many others openly pointed the finger at Team Melli


There was one defender of Team Melli game plan amongst the crowds and that is Morteza Mohasses. The Coaching instructor and lecturer, who is also a leading member of the Federation’s Technical and football development committee, rebutted the claims that the Team Melli is setting the example and laughed off the suggestion that dearth of goals in the league is because of the defensive plans as played in Brazil.

“The fact is , our national coaches are just not good enough. They have failed to implement offensive plans preferring instead to build up their defenses. Even in the midfield, they prefer holding or defensive midfielders rather than the offensive type. With such mentality, year after year, the end result would be lack of goal scoring and shortfalls in producing quality strikers. It has nothing to do with Team Melli that played a wise defensive game plan in its first two games!”

Mohasses’ logic , however , is found wanting. As a lead instructor in FFIRI, he bears much responsibility in producing what he refers to as “not good enough coaches”. In fact he is largely condemning himself as it appears that his year of guidance, tactical planning , lecturing , and teaching these Iranian coaches, has failing to yield the optimal results. His defense of Team Melli’s game plan seems to be blatantly off side too. What the clubs are copying from the national team, in itself is not a bad practice as many countries are on such approach. However, If the National Team game plan is fine and admirable, why does it become ugly if the clubs are following the same game plan?


There has been various articles in the newspapers and news agencies criticizing the standards of football displayed by the league teams this season. Of course m, there are some genuine concerns, but this is only the start of the season where most teams are not at their optimum because of changes in personnel or other factors. Like everything else in Iran , there has to be some political agenda behind these veiled attacks.


Talks of the Parliamentary investigation committee finding a wide range of corruption in football, has not raised much eyebrows amongst the elite in the Iranian football. Corruptions of all types , is one of the worst kept secrets in Iran, but naming Kaffashian as a possible culprit , has raised the level of interest in the press zone. The final report will be submitted to the Head of the parliament for his

Team Melli fans’ aspirations, are they being misled?

Team Melli fans: Aspirations , misleading or loss of focus

The responses to the polls conducted by Team before the FIFA World Cup 2014, and then during and after the World Premiere football show , was really intended to gauges the response and the heartbeat of the fans across the World. In a sense, we wanted to know was what were/are the expectations of the fans and whether the results of the World Cup met their expectations.

The results of the polls caused some intriguing discussions and some amount of confusions and soul-searching.

on June 17, 2014 , we asked the fans “ What is the level of your expectation of Team Melli in the World Cup? What would you consider as a satisfying outcome?”

51% answered Qualify for the next round while 19% only said “play beautiful football:

Jus to to make sure that we understand the fans right , we asked “ How many points Iran will get in the World Cup 2014?” the overwhelming majority 71%, said 3 points or more. While only 13% said 1 point only.Mehrdad Pouladi heads the ball during a group F World Cup soccer match between Bosnia and Iran at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador

Team Melli neither qualified for the Next round nor did it play a beautiful or impressive football. Almost all of the few legionnaires we had in Europe were relegated with their clubs and ended up migrating to the warmer shores of the Persian Gulf leagues. This is a sharp contrast to every other World Cup Iran took part in which many of the players found interested European suitors and ended up playing in reputable European leagues.

This time , it was clear that Team Melli had one of the worst World Cups on and off the field. It certainly fell short of the expectations of the fans and the aspiration of qualifying for the next round. However, the whole picture suddenly got blurred in our next poll when we asked:

“How would you rate Queiroz work in the 3 ½ years with Iran including the 2014 FIFA World Cup?”

51% said Good, while another 34% rated his work as “Excellent, The best choice and the best result” ! That would be a total of 84% of the voters who have expressed their satisfaction with the performance of a coach who, as the major influence in the team performance and result, attained the poor result in a team which was really pretty mediocre to say the least! If we leave emotions aside, Iran actually played some ugly footballing ranking the bottom of the 32 teams in passing and major stats.

There are many scenarios that can be assumed from such polls, depending on what angle it is looked at. One of such is that the fans have accepted the low level for Iranian football and have little ambition that this team can win the long-lost glories of the Team Melli of the seventies when it ruled Asia for decades. Therefore the slightest of a positive, such as a good defense or not allowing to be heavily defeated , is considered a great achievement !

The other scenario is the loss of confidence by the fans in Iranian football of anything domestic be it the players, Managers, Coaches and administration in general. In a scene like this, a foreign coach appears, and despite his inferior delivery, he is considered as a Messiah amongst a bunch of incompetent operators.

One more scenario can be that the fans really do not follow Iranian domestic football close enough , and who can blame them for that , hence their perspectives, information and aspirations become cloudy. The Persian Gulf League that has started this season already, was hardly exciting for anyone bar the diehards. It is safe to say that club football in Iran is going downhill and that is clearly reflected in Team Melli despite attempts to inject dual-nationality European based players.

It is really regrettable that nobody is really interested in Iranian football after the World Cup. In we have experienced this first had. After the plethora of the inquiries, request for information and various media activities , the disappointing performance left the rest of the world focusing on other teams and ignoring Iran and Asia altogether.

In reality, who is really interested in watching a team whose entire mission in life is to park the bus in front of the goal, and everything else such as passing , penetrating the defenses, shooting and scoring are secondary and less important elements of the game.

However, we believe that there is much more potential in Iran’s football that what is being presented to us right now.

Iran is a championship breeding nation. Iranian teams and individual athletes have proven to the world that they can compete at the highest level of any competition in many sports. However, if the fans are misled into thinking or heaven forbids, tricked to be satisfied with the current results and performances of their football teams, like we witnessed in the World Cup, then what is there to force those people at the helm to change for the better? What is the catalyst for change? The football federation and the system supporting it , think they are doing a great job and slowly but surely , convincing the fans as well , and that is precisely where the tragedy could occur!

messi vs Iran

A typical example, is the recent statement that “the AFC Asian Cup 2015 is not a priority, The World Cup 2018 is” that was quoted by Kaffashian and Queiroz. While we believe that such a statement and mentality is an insult to the aspiration of the Iranian football fans, other fans and even media reporters, might actually be tricked into believing this rhetoric. This is a notorious tactic used to buy time which has been deployed by many administrations and coaches to cover their shortfalls and lack of success. In short promising that the next championship , which is normally on a four years cycle, will be better , puts the pressure of the coaches and the administrations to deliver good results!

Any match that Team Melli is involved in , the team and the squad is representing the good name of Iran and its people. Every match is important. Every championship is important, especially and particularly the Asian Cup, where at least there is a good chance of winning the trophy. Trying to dilute this historic competition where Iran is a pioneer and three times champions , is nothing short of escapism, diversion and insult to the fans.

AFC President positive on Asia’s potential

Published: 27 June 2014

The 2014 FIFA World Cup can so far be succinctly summarized as one of the most intriguing World Cup in recent memory. With several big teams exiting early and some surprise packages showing their mettle unperturbed by reputations, the World Cup has been a joy to watch.

Unfortunately for the Asian confederation, the journey has come to an abrupt end. With teams closer to the locality of the competition – this time around teams from the American continents – traditionally performing well during the World Cup as evidenced in the current tournament, the players of Japan, Iran, Korea Republic and Australia had their work cut out in each of their respective groups.

Although each team gave it a go, with Australia and Iran in particular close to causing an upset against giants of world football Netherlands and Argentina, in the end the Asian teams found it hard to break down resolute opposition defences in most of their matches; and in games where they were able to do so, their own line of resistance failed.

Qualification to the next stage of the tournament may have been out of reach for the Asian teams, but AFC President, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, believes that the tournament was not a lost cause for Asian football.

“This World Cup serves as a lesson to all Asian nations. The Asian teams are rather young on average so they can only get better, but what is of particular importance now is that we stay united. We have shown time and again that we can compete with the best of the global game, and with total commitment from everyone we will definitely improve ourselves and catch up on the rest of the world,” he said.

“Asia must acknowledge its shortcomings, but at the same time we must believe in our own ability. The AFC is determined to unlock the full potential of Asian football, and that can only be achieved through hard work, dedication and unwavering support in the AFC’s efforts to have equal and sustainable football development across the continent,” he added.

Shaikh Salman further stated, “We must bring our game to the next level and there is no time to wait. Football will not slow down and nor will the rest of the world. Our brand new initiatives are planned with progress in mind, as we look to enhance the overall quality of our football, from infrastructure, commercial, competition to administration, and hopefully its effects are evident by the next World Cup”.

The 2014 World Cup might be an unpleasant experience for Asia, but all teams would do well to brush themselves off quickly as the AFC Asian Cup 2015, which will be held in Australia in January, is just around the corner.

Are we surprised at Team Melli’s results in the World Cup 2014?

It is all over for Team Melli at the World Cup. Iran exited in a disappointing, heart breaking and less than exciting manner. A deserved goal-less draw and a last minute defeat temporarily made us believe and have faith but then the reality hit everyone quite hard in the last match. Emotions aside, Team Melli got what it deserved nothing more nothing less. If it had made the next round ahead of Bosnia or Nigeria , it would have been an injustice to football in general but most importantly it would have falsely covered the derisory state of the football in Iran .

The teams that made the World Cup finals have worked hard, planned well, played number of competitive practice matches and their federations wasted no resources in trying to support their teams to reflect their nations’ pride.  In contrast Team Melli was an ill-prepared team , run by a federation that had comical and acute lack of resources , trained by a coach who had little confidence in his players, and  a coach who was not versatile enough to change tactics when it was most required. Expecting success under these circumstances is pretty much a wishful thinking.

Despite all that, we have to respect the performance of our players who all gave more than 100%. No one can deny the fact that they tried hard and simply went out of steam. Again, with the training regime of Queiroz who spent the majority of the valuable training camps physically pushing his players to the limit , it would have been a matter of time before they would collapse at some stage. Unfortunately, it was the last match and the one that mattered most where Team Melli players came short. Fatigue was killing them, two weeks in South Africa and another in Austria , with very little rest , they flew to Brazil early for another couple of weeks of tough physical training to prepare for the World Cup.

Iran v Nigeria: Group F - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

In essence, Queiroz was trying to build a top physical shape team in a couple of month while such task requires a whole season of regular regimented training with ample rest periods for recovery to build a strong team. The work of a whole season cannot be done in a couple of months only. Bad practices of players also cannot be undone in such a short period.

Could Queiroz have done much better than this ? or maybe that is his ceiling of his capabilities and could not give any better than that.  After the exit from the last World Cup 2010, Cristiano Ronaldo was asked to give a reason for Portugal exit, he pointed at Querioz, Portugal coach and told the reporter to ask him. What he really meant was that Querioz coaching and game plan failed the team. Looking back at the last few months of his work with Iran Team, CR7 may very well had a valid point.


Putting all the blame on the coach is quite unreasonable though, despite the common belief that coaches have to shoulder most of the blames for defeats.  Queiroz and the FFIRI administration did not see eye to eye either and that had negative effect on his work. The Portuguese ruffled a few feathers in Iran by some of the publicity he created  on issues such as the Official kit , Friendly matches , lack of resources and marginalizing of the domestic league. You can safely say that Queiroz does not have many friends in Tehran. His adversaries are aplenty and they come from all corners of football.

The Federation has never been financially strong or organized enough to meet Queiroz’s demands, be it tactical, monetary or logistic. Kaffashian and brazenly for that, never skips a chance for begging money from the government. There is hardly any talk of self-reliance and organizing the federation in a professional way to generate revenue. It is too much of a burden on Kaffashian and his generals, as he prefers the easy way and hand out. So, naturally if there is little money to spend , the expectations should also be limited. 

The irony is that lessons learned from previous failures have hardly been heeded in Iran’s football. The chances are that the status quo will prevail and with it the heart break of one of the finest sets of fans in the world, Team Melli fans.

Iran slump out of World Cup with disappointing defeat to Bosnia

Argentina played their part and won in Porte Alegre, yet Iran could not rouse themselves to take advantage and progress at Nigeria’s expense. Iran needed a win by a couple of goals to finish second, but goals are evidently not their speciality.

For more than 80 minutes it looked like they would fail to trouble the scorer for a third match in succession, and in the end said a meek goodbye to the tournament, allowing Bosnia to record a convincing first win at their first World Cup finals even if their overall experience was soured by a poor refereeing decision.

It was Edin Dzeko’s wrongly disallowed goal against Nigeria that Bosnia feel changed the course of their World Cup, and though the consolation was entirely hollow once his side had been eliminated after two games, at least the Manchester City striker registered a goal that did count.

After seeing a shot on the turn clear the bar and a header saved by the goalkeeper in the opening minutes, Dzeko came back down the pitch in search of the ball and was successful with a longer range attempt midway through the first half. Picking up the ball from 40 yards out from Miralem Pjanic, the Roma midfielder who initiates most of Bosnia’s attacks, Dzeko carried the ball forward then cut inside to make room for a left foot shot that found Alizera Haghighi’s bottom left corner with some precision. Perhaps the goalkeeper should not have been beaten from outside the area by a low shot that was less than thunderously struck, yet Dzeko aimed for exactly the right area.


Having barely crossed the halfway line by that point, Iran almost managed to equalise within a minute when the lively Masoud Shojaei crashed a shot against Asmir Begovic’s bar. Reza Ghoochannejhad was unable to accept the rebound but was in an offside position anyway. Interestingly the goalline technology replay was triggered, even though the ball had clearly rebounded back into play. A no-goal verdict was duly returned, though the suggestion that the ball had gone anywhere near the line was misleading.

While there is no doubt Iran can defend well – they proved that against Argentina – it is their attacking efforts that are often stodgy. They could theoretically have reached the round of 16 for the first time here, depending on Nigeria losing their final group game, though even when a goal behind they never drove forward with the sort of intensity that might have been expected.

They have scored only one goal in this tournament and it is not difficult to see why – they are much too conservative. It would have been amusing to have been a fly on the wall in the Iran dressing room at half-time when Carlos Queiroz, of all people, was presumably telling his players it was time to throw caution to the wind.

Iran did get forward a little more in the second half without looking entirely convincing. Ashkan Dejagah spent far too much of his time being pulled up for offside, as if unfamiliar with operating in such an advanced role. The television reaction shots of Iran supporters in the crowd showed disbelief and dejection when Pjanic’s well-taken second goal put the matter beyond doubt, but Queiroz and his players were hardly in a winning position before that.

At no time in this World Cup have Iran been in a winning position, and when Pjanic just about stayed onside to accept Tino Susic’s pass and elegantly slip the ball beyond the goalkeeper after an hour, they paid the price for lack of adventure.

Even when Ghoochannejhad finally opened their World Cup account with eight minutes of the competition remaining – Bosnia were waiting for an offside flag that never came – Avdija Vrsajevic hit back within a minute to restore a two-goal winning margin. Fair enough, Iran had a hard luck story after their Argentina defeat, yet even that does not match the one Bosnia can tell.

Bosnia defeats Iran 3-1

AP – Sports

SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — Bosnia-Herzegovina ended Iran’s hopes of advancing to the knockout stages with a 3-1 victory in Group F on Wednesday, registering its first World Cup win in the process.

The Bosnians, who were already relegated from the tournament, took a commanding 2-0 lead with goals from Edin Dzeko in the 23rd and Miralem Pjanic in the 53rd before Iran hit back in a desperate late bid to qualify for the second round.

Reza Ghoochannejhad gave some hope to the Iranians with a tap-in goal in the 81st, but Avdija Vrsaljevic replied immediately with his low shot from the edge of the area to restore the two-goal lead.

Iran needed a win to have any chance of advancing.

”Sorry to our opponents, but this was also an important win for us so we could hold our heads up high leaving this tournament,” Bosnia-Herzegovina coach Safet Susic said. ”Throughout the match we were those who wanted to win more.”

The Bosnians were already out of contention at their first World Cup following consecutive losses to Argentina and Nigeria.

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz brought in strikers Khosro Heydari and Karim Ansari Fard in the second half but the shift in system only netted one goal.

Playing at its fourth World Cup, the Iran squad faced criticism for its dour defensive tactics after a 0-0 draw against Nigeria. The Iranians also spent much of their game against Argentina packing the defense, but created several chances on counterattacks and nearly caused a major upset before conceding a late winner by Lionel Messi.

”I was a bit surprised by Iran, they needed a win and they were calculating,” Susic said. ”That backfired for them. Maybe they could not change their habits.”

Queiroz said he could not change the defensive style with the players he had available.

”Susic has his opinion,” Queiroz said. ”The next time I will give him the opportunity to train Iran and I’ll train Bosnia, and we will see.”


”He has players who play in Roma and Manchester City, and whom do I have?” he asked, referring to Pjanic and Dzeko and Iranian players who mostly play in Iranian and smaller European clubs.

”You squeeze an orange and then you see that you have players who cannot be squeezed no more,” he said.

”We played to the limits of our mental and physical capacities, and I’m very proud of my players,” Queiroz said.

Bosnia created most of the chances in the match, with Dzeko – criticized for missing several opportunities during Bosnia’s earlier two matches – firing a volley over the bar in the third minute, and then heading straight at the Iran goalkeeper from close range.

He opened the scoring in the 23rd with a low shot from 20 yards (meters) that deflected in off the post.

Pjanic doubled the lead a half hour later with an angled shot from inside the box. Iran’s only genuine chances came after its only goal of the tournament came in the last frantic minutes, with Ghoochannejhad’s close-range shot narrowly missing late.

Queiroz said he believes that Bosnia was the best team in the group.

”The best team of the group did not qualify, with all my respects to Argentina and Nigeria,” he said. ”Today, they played on another level.”


Bosnia-Herzegovina: Asmir Begovic; Toni Sunjic, Emir Spahic, Sead Kolasinac; Avdija Vrsajevic,Anel Hadzic (Ognjen Vranjes, 61st), Miralem Pjanic, Muhamed Besic, Tino-Sven Susic (Sejad Salihovic, 79th); Edin Dzeko (Edin Visca, 84th), Vedad Ibisevic.

Iran: Alireza Haghighi; Pejman Montazeri, Jalal Hosseini, Amir Hossein Sadeghi, Mehrdad Pooladi; Andranik Timotian, Javad Nekounam, Ehsan Haji Safi (Alireza Jahanbakhsh, 63rd); Masoud Shojaei(Khosro Heydari, 46th), Ashkan Dejagah (Karim Ansarifard, 68th), Reza Ghoochannejhad.

Uninspiring Team Melli bids farewell to the World Cup 2014

Team Melli lost its very slim chance of qualifying to the second round of the World cup when it was defeated by Bosnia-Herzegovina 3-1 at Arena Fonte Nova Salvador.
Bosnia goals were scored by E. Dzeko 23′ M. Pjanic 59′ and A. Vrsajevic 83′ while Iran scored through Reza Ghoochanejad 82′ assisted by Javad Nekounam.

The only consolation in this match which  Bosnia-Herzegovina controlled without much effort from the word go , as if it is the team that requires 3 points to qualify , is that Iran finally scored a goal to save some blushes and by no one more deserving than the hardworking Reza Ghoochannejad.

Miralem Pjanić congratulated on scoring Bosnia second goal

In the first sign of lack of ambition by Carlos Queiroz in a match that Iran desperately needed to win and score goals to qualify for the next round, Queiroz elected to stick to the same line up that played the last match against Argentina. Shojaei , probably the worst of Iran performers , once again was selected to start over Heydari and Jahanbakhsh.

With the match progressing , it was evident the Iran lacks the fire power, ambition and skills to challenge the Bosnians. The defense that operated so marvelously in the last two matches , crumbled against Bosnia with simple mistakes and lack of pace by the defenders. Traces of fatigue was clear on the defenders.

up front in the offensive line where Team Melli really needed to deliver, the lack of organization lead the two front players Dejagah and Ghoochannejad to fall in offside trap in numerous cases. Whatever crosses from the flanks by the backs of Team Melli were easily handled by the towering Amir Begovic in goal for Bosnia.  Begovic who is one of the better goalkeepers in the English Premiere League is a master at catching them. The crosses which continued in the second half when Heydari replaced Shojaei,  aimed at the two forwards, mostly ended up with Begovic and with ease. Such futile game plan is indicative of the failure of the coaching team of Iran to properly analyze the opposition.

Overall , it was a disappointing performance and result for Iran , however , not entirely unexpected either. The biggest surprise was the lack of ambition by the team as a unit. There were far too many factors against Team Melli in this match to win it and qualify ahead of Nigeria. The undue pressure on the players, fatigue , lack of stamina , lack of quality players , organized and high quality of Bosnia players and a definite lack of ambition by the coach were far too much odds for Iran to register a win.

Initial reports from several TV panels mostly indicate that Iran’s defeat was a result but the disappointing part was the ;lack of fighting spirit and the defensive organization that Team Melli made a name of itself.


World Cup 2014 Group’F’: How can the teams qualify?

Ahead of the final round of fixtures in Group F, we look at the various permutations.

Argentina – Qualified

Lionel Messi’s late goal over Iran last week booked a place for the Argentinians in the last 16.  A draw over second place Nigeria will see them top Group F.

Nigeria – Must draw with Argentina

A draw between Nigeria and Argentina will work well for both teams as the South Americans will win the group with the Africans guaranteeing their place in the knock-out stages. A win for Nigeria over Argentina will see them top Group F, sending Argentina into second place.

Iran – Need to beat Bosnia-Hercegovina and require Argentine win over Algeria, with a superior goal difference

After losing to Argentina in the cruellest fashion last week, the Iranians now rely on them to triumph over Algeria whilst making sure they beat Bosnia-Herzegovina in the process. Even then, Iran will need a superior goal difference to advance.

 Bosnia-Herzegovina – Out

With two losses from two games, Bosnia-Herzegovina are guaranteed to be spectators following the conclusion of the group matches.