Category: World Cup 2022

Now Shakhtar sulking CEO is demanding!!

The Daily Mail has reported a Ukrainian team by the name of Shakhtar demanding FIFA to kick Iran out of the World Cup and replace it with Ukraine !!!!

The audacity of some is beyond belief!

The Daily Mail’s report says:

Shakhtar Donetsk’s CEO Sergei Palkin wants Ukraine to replace Iran at the World Cup amid reports Tehran has supplied Russia with drones to aid their invasion.

The Ukrainian capital city Kyiv was stuck by Iranian-made ‘kamikaze’ drones deployed by Russian forces last week.

President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed seven such drones had been shot down, while the United States said Iran has deployed military experts in Russian-occupied Crimea.

Footage emerged of police officers shooting down what local authorities described as an Iranian-made Shahed-136 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over Kyiv.

Iran has pleaded its ‘neutrality’ in the conflict but Ukraine has already downgraded diplomatic ties with Tehran and now the chief of one of its leading football teams has demanded further punishment.

The Iranians open their World Cup campaign in Qatar against England on November 21 and also face the United States and Wales in Group B.

In a statement released on Shakhtar’s Twitter feed, Palkin wrote: ‘While the Iranian leadership will have fun watching their national team play at the World Cup, Ukrainians will be killed by Iranian drones and Iranian missiles.

The chief executive of Shakhtar Donetsk has called for Ukraine to replace Iran at the World Cup!!

Our Take…

So…it seems that the UIkranian’s motive has very little to do with any drones as the motive is for their team, which has lost in the play-off in the qualifiers, to get a free out-of-jail card similar to the Italian claims. These people have no virtue or honor and have mistaken football for the mafia and the cartel by trying to swindle their way into the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

As for the Ukrainian club, with zero achievements in its international history, the devious CEO of that club, if he had an ounce of honor, should have advised the Ukrainian national team players to engage themselves in defending their country and supporting the needy in their homeland, rather than spending a couple of weeks enjoying a first-class treat and luxury life in Doha while their families and friends are suffering under deadly attacks.

Of course, every team will get a minimum of two million dollars just being in Doha, perhaps that was not considered by the Ukrainian CEO as a motive for his cowardice demand, or has it?


The reader’s comments below that have not been moderated and are from the daily mail article.

WilliamsNike, Hub City, United States, 10 minutes ago

Lol oh go away Ukraine. Nobody cares

Why mix sport with politics? Football is one of the few pleasures left in Iran, that women can also enjoy. Punishing the footballers will not bother the Iranian Government in the slightest.

Jesus_Christ_is_Lord, Manchester, United Kingdom, 47 minutes ago

kick politics out of football…or does it only favor European football teams…remember the 2010 incident with the Togo team, when the government tried to step in and got banned for a few tournaments??

Iran hope to spin chaos into gold at World Cup with Queiroz’s comeback

John Duerden
Sun 25 Sep 2022 08.00 BST

Iran’s government is more involved than most in football – clubs are owned directly or indirectly by the state – but it keeps a closer eye than usual on the beloved national team at times of public unrest.

After the famous World Cup playoff win over Australia in 1997, the players were told to take their time coming home lest their presence pushes nationwide celebrations into something else.

The 2009 ‘Green Movement’ that sprang up to demonstrate against what was seen as a rigged presidential election led to a number of players wearing green armbands in a vital qualifier in Seoul. Within hours their pictures were being held up on the streets thousands of miles to the west.

Protestors are back on Iran’s streets after the death of Mahsa Amini in custody after she was arrested by the morality police on 13 September for “unsuitable attire”. If unrest continues, then any success at the World Cup, which is eight weeks away, may be viewed as a double-edged sword by authorities; and, if the latest international matches are anything to go by, then Iran are going to Qatar to be competitive against England, the USA and Wales who all lost.

In the first game since Carlos Queiroz returned as head coach this month, Team Melli beat Uruguay 1-0 in Austria. Thanks to international isolation and sanctions, it is rare that Iran play such opposition in friendlies, but this only highlights that this is one of the country’s best results in years. It is all the more impressive as it comes after months of chaos, infighting, and interference.

It started with being drawn with England and the USA. From Iran’s point of view, there could not have been two bigger and more symbolic opponents.

These are two nations with deep involvement in the modern history of one of the world’s oldest civilizations and which are held responsible for the 1953 coup that overthrew the democratically elected prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh.

They are two nations that are still seen as being behind many of the problems that the country, beset by sanctions internationally and unrest at home, is facing and two national teams that present formidable opposition for one that had never progressed from the group stage in five World Cup appearances.

After the draw, however, with the group rivals all having homegrown managers, there were whispers that Iran should, for such symbolic games, have an Iranian coach.

Yet it was a Croatian, Dragan Skocic who took over in February 2020 and led the team through qualification with 15 wins in 18 games. On 9 July Iran’s volleyball team defeated Serbia in the Men’s Nations League. The following day a social media account of Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, reposted an old entry with a new title saying it was good to have success with an Iranian coach.

While it was later denied that this was expressing any opinion about what should happen with Team Melli, on 11 July Skocic was fired even though it seemed there were not enough board members around to sign the official document confirming his release. Reaction to the decision was mixed and even those not enamored of Skocic felt he had been treated poorly. Ali Daei was the frontrunner but quickly ruled himself out and other candidates did not set pulses racing.

Skocic was back on the job within a week but it was impossible to pretend that nothing had happened. The team was as split as public opinion. The striker Mehdi Taremi had an earlier falling out with the coach and led the contingent who wanted a change. It was even claimed that the Porto star and some teammates had met Iran’s minister of sports. Bayer Leverkusen’s Sardar Azmoun was the highest-profile backer of Skocic.

It was always going to be decided one way or the other at the end of August with the election of a new federation president. Mehdi Taj, who had been the president from 2016-19 and had worked with Queiroz, said openly he would consider bringing the former Real Madrid head coach back if he won.

Due to a lack of domestic options, Queiroz was seen as the next best thing; available and cheap, high-profile, familiar with the players and the politics, and more than capable of setting a team up to ensure there would be no World Cup embarrassments.

Skocic had earlier blamed “various interests” for trying to create tensions in the team but this time stayed quiet and focused on staying and securing his payout (sources have suggested that he allowed this to be set too low, making his dismissal fairly cheap). His supporters suggest there is some irony in a coach who successfully steered his team through qualification for the World Cup being replaced by one who failed with both Colombia and Egypt.

That will not bother Queiroz, a coach not averse to conflict and controversy. It was as if he had never left against Uruguay. Whatever the divisions in recent weeks, there did not seem to be a problem with team spirit, and Iran worked hard to frustrate the South Americans, snatching a late win. Taremi’s goal was a fine finish to a flowing move.

There are bigger issues at play right now in this football-loving country but after months of chaos, it could be that Team Melli have stumbled upon the right formula, even if it is a short-term one. At the very least Iran sent a message to the rest of Group B, not least to their first opponents, England.

Daily Mail : SPECIAL REPORT: Iran are in chaos

SPECIAL REPORT: Iran are in chaos ahead of the World Cup as unrest grows in the country… protestors ejected from Uruguay friendly by police, our reporter was banned from attending and players were ‘forced to delete’ their support online

  • Iran having struggles with protests in the country ahead of World Cup in Qatar
  • Protesters were ejected from their friendly match against Uruguay by police
  • Players appear to have been ‘forced to delete their support on social media  


It really should not happen to a former Real Madrid manager and one-time assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson but Carlos Queiroz was laying out the cones for an Iran training session in an obscure Vienna suburb last Thursday afternoon, having played a part in heading off a diplomatic incident.

The session, for a team who beat Uruguay 1-0 in a World Cup warm-up the following night, seemed to bring pleasure to a 69-year-old who has been re-hired to stop the rot in the Iran national side — even though he is being paid a mere £50,000 for a four-month contract which expires after the World Cup. His six coaches are on less than £30,000 between them.

The diplomatic role is trickier, given that Iran is in the midst of huge and escalating public protest after the death in custody of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the state’s morality police for allegedly improperly wearing a hijab and headscarf. Football worries the Iranian state because the nation’s football players have a habit of speaking their minds.

Against this backdrop, The Mail on Sunday arrived here last Wednesday to find we were among several western media organizations to have had our accreditation for the game withdrawn — on the orders of the Iranian state, according to several sources. The game was all ready to be played behind closed doors at the insistence of the Iranians, who were technically the hosts.

Our subsequent approach to the Iranian FC vice-president Mahdi Mohammadnabi, at the team hotel, revealed just how terrified officials are about taking any step that the state apparatus might disapprove of. Mohammadnabi, a shambling figure in a shabby coat and cheap training gear, said nothing to us or Persian-speaking colleagues, apart from refusing us access to Queiroz.

  • Iranians have been protesting after Mahsa Amini was arrested by the state morality police

The manager then emerged from a hotel dining area to say he would speak beside the training pitch to the few reporters present. This appeared to be a test of whether there were enemies in Iran’s midst. Within 18 hours our accreditation was mysteriously restored. Threats of having to surrender mobile phones never materialized.

Queiroz appears to have the power to act as a de-facto independent foreign envoy for Iran and maintain a semblance of credibility for its hapless FA. He is not afraid to speak because he does not live in fear of the state, as the FA officials do. He does not have a family in Iran to worry about. The Iranian state badly needs him, too, though as yet Queiroz has gone nowhere towards commenting on the treatment of women such as Amini.

Iran seem to have thought that protest would never follow them to St Polten, a sleepy town 50 miles west of Vienna where this surreal match took place.

But dissent stalked the place. Around 150 supporters of each side who were given entry, supposedly as VIPs, included two men who held up an image of Amini during the second half. They were immediately apprehended by Austrian police officers and frog-marched out of the stadium through a VIP lounge.

  • The Mail on Sunday’s press passes were restored allowing them to speak to Queiroz

Austrian police spokesman Raimund Schwaigerlehner told The Mail on Sunday yesterday that the protesters had left the stadium ‘voluntarily.’ Once removed, they insisted they had had every right to protest peacefully. It was an extraordinary scene to observe in a democratic European country. The Austrians, tied up in knots by the Iranian state, also made the bizarre claim that any protest must ‘be registered with the competent authority’ up to 48 hours before it takes place. This was merely two men with an A4-size poster.

On the field of play, some degree of sanity has been preserved after the implosion of the team under Croatian manager Dragan Skocic, Queiroz’s predecessor — who some players viewed with contempt. There were stories of training sessions involving little more than a ‘crossbar challenge’. One source felt the Iranians were particularly keen to get the proven Queiroz back because of the politically charged nature of Group B. ‘The thought of losing both to the USA and England is unthinkable for the Iranian state,’ the source said.

Queiroz certainly has his work cut out, having been re-installed just two months before the tournament. He hinted on Thursday that the team will still be playing friendlies in the week before they take on England. There has been talk of a friendly against Russia in Doha that week, though Tehran seems a more likely venue.


  • Queiroz insists that Iran are going to compete at the World Cup and are not ‘no-hopers’

The manager dismissed Iran’s tag as the no-hopers of their group. ‘I don’t care about what others think. I care about us,’ said Queiroz. ‘I can’t control other people’s opinions. We have our strengths and qualities, but we have weaknesses like all teams. The time comes to speak on the pitch.’

The re-appointment of Queiroz has created a huge sudden sense of expectation and a first-ever advance to the knockout stages is now expected at home. The impressive 1-0 win over a strong Uruguay, with Porto forward Mehdi Taremi scoring, will heighten expectation. Iran are a technically effective side who press hard and, on the basis of Friday night, can whip the ball around rapidly. They are also up for a battle, as defender Hossein Kanaani, a big influence, proved by going nose to nose with Luis Suarez after a disagreement.

But the political controversy will stalk Iran and the world cannot be shut out in Doha, where protest groups are likely to gather. Queiroz will field a battery of questions.

  • One player that has given support is former Bayern Munich midfielder Ali Karimi

Some of those Iranian players who have found their voice — such as former Bayern Munich midfielder Ali Karimi, with 11.4million Instagram followers — are now retired. But Zobeir Niknafs, who plays for Tehran side Esteghlal, shaved his head in an Instagram post which was a vivid display of solidarity with the protests.

The core of Queiroz’s squad have also made it clear they will not be silenced. No fewer than seven, including the stars of the win over Uruguay, have changed Twitter profile pictures to black markers, in their own gesture of support. When the team return to the St Polten stadium on Wednesday for another friendly behind closed doors, against Senegal, protests about Amini’s death are expected outside. Austrian Police will be reluctant to be drawn into arrests in a nation where the right to protest is sacrosanct. This is how it will be from now on. Iran, a side of great promise, will take fireworks wherever they go.

For the first time, Iranian sportswear manufacturer provides Team Melli kit in the World Cup.

Iran’s national football team will participate in the World Cup for the first time in a Local-manufactured kit.

After holding a tender and receiving proposals from domestic and foreign manufacturers, the Football Federation FFIRI finally reached an initial agreement with an Iranian company, which had replaced Uhlsport GmbH the German sporting goods provider in the preliminary stages of the World Cup. The representative of this company, still unnamed but most probabli will be Majid, accompanied by  Majedi and Kamranifer will travel to Switzerland for a meeting with FIFA officials about the design, material requirements, terms and conditions of design and production of national team Kits. For the participation of teams in the World Cup.

Manufacturers must adhere to FIFA’s 92-page Equipment Regulation style guide when designing uniforms.

Kits worn in the World Cup, are subject to strict guidelines by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). Everything from type sizes to logo placement on the players and what the referees and coaches can wear is covered in the 92-page Equipment Regulation style guide. According to FIFA, the purpose of the document is “to allow the manufacturers to enhance our sport through aesthetic creativity and design…in return, those parties are expected to follow the rules.” A peek into those rules shows that designing a uniform that both players and fans of a country, alike, will be proud to wear is tougher than you may think.

The local manufacturer released a red version of the home shirt earlier this year. Again, it is not known whether the kit will be worn during the 2022 World Cup.

Team Melli has participated in the past World Cups with Adidas (1978), Puma (2006, 1998), and Uhlsport (2014,2018), and it is the first time that an Iranian sports goods manufacturer will be supplying the kit.

Uruguay match called off!

After the cancelation of the Canada and Ecuador matches. Uruguay was named as a strong candidate for a friendly but today, it has been announced that Dragan Skočić is against traveling thousands of miles to Latin America to play a friendly match between Iran and Uruguay.

The friendly match between Iran and Uruguay was not singed off due to the opposition of the Head Coach of Team Melli. originally, the Football Federation had planned to travel from Qatar to South America because the Team Melli calendar was void of any matches on FIFA Day, but due to the availability of several well-known African teams, these options are more favorable, which is why Skocic has opposed his team’s departure to Uruguay. The Iranian Football Federation is negotiating with several African teams such as Cameroon, Algeria, and Congo to arrange three friendly matches in Qatar. None of these countries have suggested that it will be playing against Iran, though.

Earlier, the FFIRI was also in negotiation for a match against Senegal but nothing came out of that either.

Iran is the only qualified team for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 that has no friendly match on its calender until the World Cup Group C match against England.

Dragan Skocic bemoans the surreal status of Team Melli

Dragan Skocic, finally reacted to the unsatisfactory state of the team’s preparation, as well as the cancellation of the Iran-Canada friendly match on FIFA day, by issuing a statement. In this message, Skocic criticized the federation and its officials, who these days are more concerned with lobbying and holding the federation assembly than with the national team and the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

in the message on social media, Skocic said: “It seems that the rift between the executive members of the federation,  and holding of the Football Federation Assembly has taken a priority over more important issues such as Team Melli readiness for the World Cup, the preparations, and meeting the technical and logistical needs of the team. Those are no more the first priority of the relevant authorities. In the current surreal situation, the professional and ethical duty of the coaching staff and players is to do whatever they can with all their might to maintain their greatest asset of the national team, which is the passion and the hopes of the Team Melli fans right across the world. It is the sacred right of every Iranian to know more about the national team, especially what has passed and will pass on this valuable time from the beginning of the World Cup qualifiers until today.
The Croat coach ended his message by saying “That is why I will talk about this in detail in the next few days at a press conference.”

What did the coaches say after World Cup draw?


Gregg Berhalter, USA coach

“We think it’s a good group. We know every opponent in the World Cup is difficult but with England, you definitely get an exciting match-up. Gareth (Southgate, England manager) and I go way back. He’s a guy I look up to and has always been there for me, and given me advice. I reached out to him when I got the job and asked if he’d be interested in telling me more about international football. I looked at him as something as a mentor and since then we have stayed in touch.”

Gareth Southgate, England manager

“The first two teams (USA and IR Iran) we’ve not played for quite a while. The third (Wales or the winner of Scotland-Ukraine) is a total unknown but throws up a possible British derby. We know what they’re all about! When you’re seeded, you get the advantage of missing out on those big six or seven teams. But there are some really high-ranked teams in Pot 2, the US in particular, and I know Gregg Berhalter quite well – we’ve met a couple of times and had long chats about things. They’ve got some very good players and we know what they could be capable of as a nation.”

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 in the third seed of World Cup draw.

The Iranian national football team was placed in the third round of the FIFA  World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

With nearly all matches except a few played in the World Cup qualifiers, the ranking of the teams present in this period of competition was also determined. Based on this, the Iranian national team will be in Seed 3 as in the previous period. The draw for the World Cup will be held on Friday in Doha, and Team Melli will know its opponents.

* What does it mean to be in Seed 3?

The placement of Iran in Seed 3 is a good thing, because a team from Seed 4, which is lower than Iran in terms of points in the FIFA rankings, will be in our group.

* Which teams will we not be in the same group with Iran?

Also, considering the ranking of Iran in the World Cup, Team Melli will definitely not be in the same group with the teams in seed 3. Iran will not be drawn in the same group with the other Asian teams such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and South Korea. Also, if Australia or UAE qualify for the World Cup through the playoffs, this team will not be drawn with Iran. Thus, the Iranian national team will definitely not be grouped with the teams of Senegal, Serbia, Poland, Morocco, Tunisia, South Korea, Japan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and “UAE or Australia” (in case of reaching the World Cup).

World Cup qualifiers are as follows:

Seed 1  Belgium (1), Brazil (2), France (3), Argentina (4), England (5), Spain (7), Portugal (8), Qatar (52)

Seed 2: Denmark (9), Netherlands (10), Germany (11),  Mexico (12) , USA (13)Switzerland (14),  Croatia (15), Uruguay (16)

Seed 3: Senegal (18), Iran (21), Japan (23), Morocco (24), Serbia (25), Poland (28), South Korea (29), Tunisia (36)

Seed 4: Canada (33),  Cameroon (38),  Ecuador (46), Saudi Arabia (53), Ghana (61), , 3 playoff teams

* Mexico and USA are still on the face, No, for all intents and purposes, we should consider these two teams among the teams that have qualified for the 2022 World Cup.

Note: In the World Cup draw, teams from different continents, except Europe, will not be grouped with a team from their own continent, and from Europe, a maximum of two teams can be in the same group.


Ali Daei will participate in the draw ceremony.

Iran’s legend and former Team Melli coach will be one of the 7 selected football personalities who will be drawing the names out of the pot.

Dragan Skočić stress is reduced with Azizi Khadem’s removal.

During his one year in charge, the former president of the Football Federation never voiced strong support for Team Melli head coach Skocic and always avoided answering questions regarding Skočić, future with Team Melli. Now that Azizi Khadem is dismissed, the FFIRI’s managers are already discussing extending the Croatian coach’s contract until the World Cup.

Despite all the criticism, adversaries, and plots behind his back, the Croatian head coach Dragan Skocic, was able to lead Iran to one of the fastest qualifications to the world cups. He and his team were able to qualify for the 2022 World Cup three rounds before the end of the qualifying round, which sounds like Skocic’s contract will be automatically renewed. According to a contract signed two years ago in February 2009, Skocic was tasked with leading the national team to the World Cup in Qatar, and as a result, his contract was successfully extended at every stage. The first phase of Skocic’s mission was successfully completed after overcoming the crisis in the second phase of the World Cup qualifiers in Bahrain. As a result, he has the opportunity to accompany the national team in the final qualifying round of the World Cup, and by advancing to the World Cup, he was successful in the second step and can now be at the helm of Iran in Qatar.

Hamid Estili, recently appointed as the Manager of the Iranian national football team, has recently spoken about this issue. He says that with the World Cup, Skocic’s contract has been extended until the end of the biggest football event in the world, and the Football Federation has confirmed this. In this way, Skocic is comfortable sitting on the coaching bench of Iran in Qatar 2022; Something that never happened during the administration of Shahabuddin Azizi Khadem, the ousted president of the federation. Azizi Khadem religiously avoided answering the important question of whether Skocic will lead Team Melli in Qatar or not. Azizi Khadem’s ambiguous answers over the past year have also raised concerns for Skocic, who has spoken in numerous interviews about his inalienable right to lead Iran to the World Cup, he has never before been so firm about being in Qatar like he was after qualification. Skocic firmly believed that he deserved an extension of the contract based on merit and acheivments.

But with the departure of Azizi Khadem, the current board of directors of the federation and the acting head namely Mirshad Majedi, in a meeting with Hamid Estili, also confirmed Skocic’s retention for the World Cup. Shortly before taking over the presidency of the federation, he spoke of the validity of Skocic’s contract with the federation until the end of the World Cup. Recently, Ehsan Osuli, spokesman and member of the board of directors of the Football Federation, in response to this question in the post-Azizi Khadem era, praised the excellent performance of Skočić and pointed out that the board of directors of the Football Federation, is highly appreciating the performance of Team Melli under Skocic, supports his presence on Iran’s bench in Qatar.

Dragan Skocic, in his first coaching experience as head coach of a national team, recorded 14 victories in 15 games and has not suffered any defeats so far. During this time, he was able to climb the FIFA Ranking all the way up to the 21st position in the monthly global table, and now he has the opportunity to record one of Iran’s best performances in the World Cup with a generation of experienced and talented players.

Team Melli will be meeting the Korea Republic and Lebanon in the last two rounds of the World Cup 2022 qualifiers.