Tag: AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019

Mutual respect between coaches, but Queiroz is promising nothing!

Abu Dhabi

teammelli.com report

The pre-match press conference of Iran vs Yemen match was conducted in Mohammed Bin Zayed stadium earlier today.

Iran Conference.

Masoud Shojaei, who accompanied Carlos Queiroz started the press conference responding to teammelli.com question of “What is the level of the team performance in the match ahead that will satisfy him? Will the team be inspired and go forward with a narrow straight forward win , or a big score margin?”

 The Captain of Team Melli simply said “We want to be ourselves and play like we always play”

Questions then were asked of Queiroz, Answering about his statement that Yemen game is a final in itself; Queiroz said that there was a misunderstanding of what he has said.

“I didn’t say the game against Yemen was the most important game, I simply said that we will take each game as it comes and take it seriously. We are focusing on Yemen game, one game at the time.”

On his opinion on which team is the black horse of the championship.

 Queiroz said “As far as I am concerned , Japan and South Korea are the two top contenders as they have invested heavily in football, have expansive youth program, quality infrastructure and they have the resources.”

“Next comes  Australia  with and couple of dreamers!  20 or 21 other dreamers” as Queiroz put it.

Asked about his aspiration in the championship , Queiroz said that he does not consider his team as title contender. “All I can say is that we will try to be better and if we win we win deservedly. “

On the conditions of the players, The head coach of Team Melli said  “2 major players were not able to recover for the game on time, fortunately we have other options to replace them. It is not a major concern for us and I am happy with the situation, Injuries can happen to any team. UAE lost Omar Abdulrahman for the tournament and it already has a big impact on them”

Question ” Is there any lessons to be learned from the two games already played, UAE drew with Bahrain and title holder Australia lost to Jordan?

“It is always a warning for big teams. No team has a credit card that tells it that it is the favorite.  We have to display our abilities. Yemen has a good coach, I praise him for working under difficult conditions, and they have beautiful players.”

“We are looking to play a good match that entertains the fans and makes them happy; we do have the ability to display such standard.”

A question was asked by a reporter saying that Team Melli fans and indeed Iranian all across the world  followed you for many years now, what do you have to present to them in this championship?

“ We can’t control the outcome of the game!. We can control our commitment and attitude. I always challenge my players to play so that the fans are proud of them. Display positive attitude inside the pitch. Personally I feel proud if that is achieved”


Queiroz refrained from giving any promises apart from playing to entertain, as he put it. Short of entertainment, he has not declared or publicaly announced any championship aspiration as he puts Iran in the dreamers group with another 21 teams that plays second fiddle to Japan and Korea.

It is indeed a confusing and perhaps shattering statements for some fans who expect nothing less than lifting the trophy after 43 years of absence. It shows how Queiroz is detached from the public sentiments but if he really has such aspirations, then he is holding his cards close to his heart.

It needs no reminder that Queiroz is following his old and trusted style. By constantly reminding the world about the lack of resources in Iran and glorifying the opposition, even Yemen, he is limiting expectations. A win is a bonus but a loss is expected as he would easily respond by saying “I told you so”

Querioz has successfully navigated rough terrains of Iranian football by following such policy. Today he downplayed any championship expectation but it is not clear if the crowds like such lack of ambition.

Team Melli Training

The media was allowed to attend the first 15 minutes of the practice which was entirely dedicated to stretching exercise and light training with and without the ball. The goalkeepers then formed their own mini group and  headed to far side for shooting training.

Player formed several circles passing the ball between themselves.

While a group was passing the ball, Biranvand got whacked in the face. The players of the group surrounded him to console him. It looked painful, but he emerged out of it laughing.

Stretching exercises while the press was allowed to watch was carried out in a jolly spirit. Some players displayed exceptional control of the ball.

Jahanbakhsh individually trained with Montazerri. He looked quite sharp despite his chances of playing against Yemen is slim.

YEMEN Press Conference

Yemen’s Czech trainer expressed his views in the formal diplomatic style that coaches deploy nowadays. Calling Iran as one of the best Asian teams that has played very well in Russia’s World Cup, he said he has no delusions about that he expects and what he can be achieved. He has studied Iran and knows that his team has a difficult task ahead, however, he has asked his team to play to their best ability. On the troubles and war in Yemen, Jan Kocian said that most of the selection was carried out by his assistant and the Coaching team, though the training camp that was carried out in Saudi Arabia was quite valuable as they have played several games too.

Alaa Al Sasi , the star player of Yemen team  was asked if he has thought of any opposition player that the team need to control or limit his threats , he said that the coach has reviewed Iran thoroughly and we accept all their players are quite good but there is no plan to focus on any single player of Iran.

Kocian was asked what he thinks of Queiroz, the Czech coach said as a coach he has a lot respect for his colleagues, Carlos Queiroz is no exception but saying that he is a good coach who is well known outside of Iran. He knows that Queiroz has faced some pressures from the media and there were some uncertainties, but he remains an excellent coach.

Iran and Yemen will meet in the opener of Group D of AFC Asian Cup 2019 in Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on the 7th January.

Queiroz is not thinking beyond the first match in Asian Cup


Abu Dhabi: Carlos Queiroz will lead tournament favourites the Islamic Republic of Iran into the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 having instructed his players to focus on winning one game at a time as the nation aims to end a 43-year drought at the Continental championship.

The Portuguese coach leads a squad that leans heavily on the one that represented the country at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia in the summer, with 18 of the players who impressed against Morocco, Spain and Portugal slated to make the trip to the UAE.

But while the strength in depth of Queiroz’s squad has the Iranians marked out as one of the nations fancied to win the title, the former Real Madrid coach claims his focus is solely on his side’s opening game against Yemen on January 7 in Abu Dhabi.

“It’s the first game and there are no small teams in the first game,” Queiroz told the-AFC.com. “Everyone’s hopes are open and the challenge is in front of everybody in the first game.

The first game is always the most difficult game in these kind of competitions because it’s everything for the winner and almost nothing for the loser in a short competition of three games. It is a game we need to win, like always. It’s a crucial game.

Iran go into the clash as Asia’s No. 1 ranked side while Yemen are 26th in Asia and 135th in the world, but Queiroz is wary of the threat posed by Jan Kocian’s team and knows his players must be fully focused on the task at hand.

“I was checking the results of the Iran national team in different competitions, at under 17s, under 20s, and never has Iran beaten Yemen in any official competition,” he said. “There’s a reason for that: Yemen might draw or lose, but Yemen are a tough team to beat.

When the game starts against Yemen, we need to get rid of the frustrations we have around the team and focus on ourselves. It’s about the 11 boys on the pitch that start the game against the Yemen team. It’s about the coaching staff, it’s about ourselves and we need to go for it.

We cannot start a game like this in the Asian Cup and think about anything else. It’s 90 minutes to play for the people, 90 minutes to play for the joy and happiness and pride of Iran.”

Iran have not won the AFC Asian Cup since the third of three consecutive titles in 1976, but the country remains one of the Continent’s strongest, with Queiroz leading the nation to back-to-back appearances at the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 2014 and 2018.

And although the country’s status among the elite of Asian football is undisputed, the 65-year-old continues to warn his players against complacency.

Of course, it is well known and recognised and well appreciated that the Iran national team have made fantastic progress in terms of attitude, organisation and discipline but the biggest mistake that happens around teams is that when you have good moments some people think that it’s enough, that we don’t need to do anything more,” he said.

They have the wrong perceptions that the other competitors are just sitting at home and watching us, but this is a completely wrong impression because Qatar is working hard, UAE, Saudi Arabia.

“They’re working harder because they saw the progress of Iran and they have put huge efforts into coming from behind. Palestine, all these teams, Vietnam. People think this competition is easy, but Vietnam have made fantastic progress over the last few years. They have a great mood in this moment because they have just won an important competition in Southeast Asia.”

We cannot follow on this track, where some people think that things are easy for us. It’s the opposite, because the people who want to think things are easy in football are just trying to jeopardise our hopes. We will be humble, respect all of our opponents and try to do our best.

With that in mind, Queiroz stresses that it is Yemen rather than who Iran might face at any other stage of the tournament – including the final in Abu Dhabi on February 1 – is uppermost in his mind.

In these kind of competitions there is no tomorrow if we don’t win the present and first of all our Asian Cup final is against Yemen,” he said. “I don’t care about anything else around us.

And when we finish the game against Yemen, then it’s time to think about Vietnam and after that Iraq. For the moment I want to develop this kind of instinct in my team, to keep all of our energy so that it explodes in the 90 minutes against Yemen. All the rest doesn’t count for us.”

Asian Cup 2019 Final players list


The final list of players selected by Carlos Queiroz for taking part in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 has been announced. The list contain 23 players as permitted by the AFC rules. 

The new additions were Payam Niazmand ,  the Sepahan Goalkeeper and Ahmad Noorallahei Persepolis midfield player.

Ezatollahei is the most significant absentee because he is deemed not fit enough and lacking match practise for a competition the size of the Asian Cup. two of the most disappointed players were Ali Karimi and Ali Alipour both of who were confident of making the list.

Overall, the list looks well-balanced with a good mixture of youth and experienced. Queiroz will be missing the quality of Ezatollahei in the holding midfield role , with no obvious replacement although it looks that Roozbeh Chesmi might fill that role in the UAE.

There were many questions in the past, particularly in the FIFA World Cup 2018, on the lack of a pivotal role for Saman Ghoddos by Queiroz.  The Aimes player with unquestioned quality can be a winner, if he is giver a broader role and playing time rather than being a peripheral. Ghoddos is a much better option than the aging Shojaei and inconsistent Dejagah, both of whom play a similar post to Saman Ghoddos

It is hoped that this time round, the Portuguese head coach understands the value of a quality player such as Saman in the team and utilizes him.

The defense looks sound and sharp with the full recovery of Pouraliganji while the valuable experience of Pejman Montazeri will be crucial in this competition despite lack of pace.

The riches of the players up front in the shape of Azmoun, Ansarifard, Jahanbakhsh and Taremi looks brilliant on paper, however, the former 3 players in European leagues, and the latter in Qatar have been performing poorly and there is a fear that their leagues below par forms might affect them in the Asian Cup too. A lot is expected from the front line players, it remains to be seen if they will click in the UAE and against the other giants of Asia.




# Player Club Country
1 ABEDZADEH, Amir C.S. Marítimo
2 BIRANVAND, Alireza Persepolis
3 NIAZMAND, Payam Sepahan
4 CHESHMI, Rouzbeh Esteghlal
5 GHAFOORI, Vourya Esteghlal
6 HOSSEINI, Majeed Trabzonspor
7 KANANI-ZADEGAN, Hossein Machine Sazi
8 MOHAMMADI, Milad Akhmat Grozny
9 MONTAZERI, Pejman Esteghlal
10 POURALIGANJI, Morteza Eupen
11 REZAEIAN, Ramin Al Shahaniya
12 AMIRI, Vahid Trabzonspor
13 DEJAGAH, Ashkan Tractorsazi
14 EBRAHIMI, Omid Al Ahli
15 GHODDOS, Saman Aimes
16 HAJSAFY, Ehsan Tractorsazi
17 NOORALLAHIE, Ahmad Persepolis
18 SHOJAEI, Masoud Tractorsazi
19 TORABI, Mehdi Saipa Alborz
20 ANSARIFARD, Karim Nottingham Forest
21 AZMOUN, Sardar Rubin Kazan
22 JAHANBAKHSH, AliReza Brighton & Hove Albion
23 TAREMI, Mehdi Al Gharrafah


Saeid Ezzatollahi is out of Asian Cup 2019

Saeid Ezzatollahi  the Iranian national team midfielder who  has recently joined Team Melli squad in Doha, has been declared unfit and will lose the chance to take part in the 17th AFC Asian Cup 2019.

The disappointing news on Ezzatollahi who was injured and recently recovered, was released after the medical team examined the English championship side, Reading the defensive midfielder for fitness and recovery. In consultation with the coaches, it was decided that Ezzatollahi was not at the optimum shape and condition for the grueling tournament. Ezzatollahi  has not featured for his team , Reading for the last three weeks but it was hoped that he will be fully recovered by the time the championship starts in Abu Dhabi. Queiroz personally relayed the bad news to the midfielder.

The news is a big blow for the team and the supporters.

Team Melli head Coach will be announcing the final squad list  for the Asian Cup 2019 on Wednesday, and he has already mentioned that he needs fully fit and ready players against the tough opponents in the Asian Cup. Queiroz has emphasized, that the list of omitted players will be privately discussed with the individuals and will be conducted in a civilized and respectful atmosphere before being publicized.

Team Melli is scheduled to meet Qatar on December 10 at Khalifa Stadium at 20:00. The seventeenth Asian Cup will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates on January 5th, and the Iranian team is set to end 43 years of misery at these Championship. Yemen, Vietnam, and Iraq, are Iran opponents in the group stage of the competition

Reading concerned with Ezzatolahi’s long absence

Reading face being without Iranian midfielder Saeid Ezatolahi for a further month due to the Asian Cup.

The 22-year-old, who is on a season-long loan switch to Royals from Russian club FC Rostov, has been named in a provisional 35-man squad for the competition.

National team boss Carlos Queiroz will cut that list down to 23 players on Saturday, December 15, ahead of a training camp in Doha, Qatar.

Ezatolahi, who is one of nine midfielders on the provisional list, is currently sidelined for club and country due to a quad injury he picked up while on international duty back in October.

He has played just four times for Reading since joining at the end of August, but caught the eye with some impressive performances in the midfield.

The Iranian is set to be back at full fitness at the end of this month but his involvement in the Asian Cup could prolong his return to Royals.

The competition, which is being held in the United Arab Emirates, takes place between Saturday, January 5 and Friday, February 1.

Reading have four games in that time, along with two either side and a possible FA Cup replay as well.

It means Ezatolahi could miss up to seven games for his club, depending on how far Iran progress in the competition.

Queiroz said to announce the provisional 23 short listed players on Sunday

Carlos Queiroz said that his 23 short listed Team Melli players will be announced on Sunday 16th December.

In an interview with the Football Federation official website, the Portuguese head coach expressed his concerns about the number of injured players while explaining the process he will follow from now in preparation for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.

“After the announcement of the 35-member list, we will prepare ourselves to announce the final squad’s list on Sunday morning. Unfortunately, our preparation program changed due to some of the problems and obstacles that we had before, and I had to adapt the program to the obstacles we encountered. Given these problems, I had to declare the final list earlier than I had wished.”

Queiroz stressed, “Of course, I must say that the next few days will be crucial from the point of view of technical research and examination that I will personally conduct on each of the players. I will examine the players with a deeper analysis in the next few days along with other members of the coaching team. As a result, we should create a combination of the main foundations of the team similar to how we prepared for the World Cup in Russia.”

In response to a question about the situation of the injured players in the national team, he added: “Of course I have to admit that in the past few weeks I was very concerned with the injured players. This will surely affect the players’ form for the Asian Cup. Because my expectation was that those players will be playing and fit. But this is part of football. We just have to take into account all the shortfalls we experienced in the past.”

“We have all the information and statistics of the players with the compact and abstract of the game and the performance of domestic and foreign players over the past four years and, as a matter of routine, we are always trying to create a precise, honest and learned technical decision. Of course, we hope God will help us choose the best decision and the 23 finalists.”

Team Melli head coach, who is leading Iran for the second time in a row for the AFC Asian Cup  added: “The list of 23 players announced , will not be closed because we have the opportunity to submit  on the deadline on 26th December and we can check the list by that time. That’s why we will have a stand-by list and as a result, anything can happen.”

Iran’s first Asian Cup opponent are blocked by Saudis.

Saudi Arabia has put up several barriers for the Yemeni national team on the eve of the Asian Cup, ISNA reported. The Yemeni national team, the first opponent of Team Melli in the Asian Cup, was scheduled to set a training camp in Doha as part of their preparation for AFC Asian Cup. That was canceled due to Saudi authorities preventing the squad from leaving  war-torn Yemen.

Saudi Arabia and UAE are leading a war against Yemen rebel Houthis who control the capital Sanaa. During the camp in Doha, Yemen arranged was supposed to play a friendly match against Tajikistan’s as reported by ISNA. However, the uncertainty and  delay  of the Yemeni squad in leaving their war-torn homeland resulted in cancelling the match in Doha .

A coalition of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia imposed a historic land, maritime, and air blockade on Qatar. The measures were designed to strong-arm Doha to comply with a list of demands. Saudi Arabia has blocked Yemen’s national football team leaving to Qatar, preventing the Yemenis from setting a one-month camp in Doha including scheduled three friendly games, and  insisted that the camp to be set up and continues in the Saudi Capital Riyadh.

Yemen is Group D of the AFC Asian Cup  UAE 2019 which also includes  Iran, Iraq and Vietnam.

Team Melli Final Training Schedule for AFC Asian Cup announced.

Iran’s football federation announced the schedule for the final Team Melli training camp up to the AFC Asian Cup 2019  in UAE.

the federation’s official website mentioned that after the approval of the President of the FFIRI, the training plan will be held in Qatar and will last until the AFC Asian Cup.

The squad will utilize Camp Aspire facilities that was provided by the Qatari Football Federation. Most training session will be held in Camp Aspire while official matches will be held at designated stadiums. The camp will start on  December 17th  and conclude on January 2nd  2019. The squad will fly to Abu Dhabi on January 2nd, ahead of its first game on December 7th against Yemen  in Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi.

During the training Camp in Doha, Team Melli will play 2 friendly matches and possibly a third against Lebanon which is yet to be confirmed.

The first match will be against Palestine on the 24th December, and a week later , Team Melli will face Qatar..

Meanwhile, the final roster for the Asian Cup will be announced on December 26th.