Tag: AFC U20 Asian Cup™ Uzbekistan 2023

Milad Kor suspended for 1 year due to crtisicm of FFIRI and U20 team coach

Milkad Kor, one of the pillars of the Iran U20 team that has failed to qualify beyond the quarter-final after losing to the finalist Iraq, has been given a heavy-handed suspension by the FFIRI for daring to speak out against the Federation and lack of support for the U20 team in AFC Asian Cup U20 that was held in Uzbekistan.

MIlad Kor , Tractor’s defender was suspended from all football activities by the Disciplinary Committee of FFIRI. He was also handed a heft fine payable to the federation.

Interestingly, unlike the rest of the world, this federation did NOT mention why the player, one of Iran’s better future prospects, has been given such a heavy sentence and whether he was allowed to defend himself against any supposed allegations. The tyrannical sentence is in line with the regime’s complete intolerance of its system including expression of thought that is published in a publication under government control. There is no independent journalism in Iran. Amazingly not one of the Iranian news and sports publications that published the news of Kor’s ban attempted to seek an explanation or question the FFIRI. All of them just copied and pasted the FFIRI disciplinary committee’s notice which was published on the federation’s own website!!

In the longish interview with ‘Hamshahri; newspaper, Kor’s main criticism was directed at Samad Marfavi, the team’s coach, and the lack of support by the federation. There were no bonuses paid to the players, he claims. Kor was also critical for the team’s management’s refusal to use the swimming pool for recovery like the rest of the teams because the pool was mixed and there could be girls swimming too!  While the defender had some praise for Mirshad Majedi, he was quite scathing of Marfavi’s behavior and discriminatory acts among the players in the squad.

Meanwhile, Kor and for the first time said that the players were just about to go on strike and refuse to take part in training before the Iraq game because of the indifference of the management towards their demands.  ” In the Vietnam game, we were determined to do our best to prove ourselves and we got what we wanted, but in the Iraq game, we had no motivation. Some players did not have money to buy shoes and took loans to buy them. Some players did not have a club to play for as such they had no income. The whole situation transpired into a toxic atmosphere. We were mentally in a terrible state plus we really never had proper recovery exercise before the match with Iraq” Milad Kor said in the interview.

Hamshari reporter asked Kor “What was the story of not going to the swimming pool?” to which Kor replied ” They didn’t allow us the use of the swimming pool because there were girls in there! Well,  if this is the case, why bother forming a team when basic requirements cannot be entertained? Our bodies were fatigued half destroyed and yet we were deprived of cool water. Excuse me, but this is no back alley team that does not have such facilities and if there are ones, you are not allowed to use them.”

“In Tehran, Marfavi was not in a good mood at all since he had not received his money from the federation, he did not even come to the airport to see us off. Later, after he got his money, he joined the team. But he did not lend support to the demands of players’ bonuses. If a head coach wants the good of a player, he needs to stand by him, but this gentleman was selfish. We finished first in the group of death and had an easy quarter-final draw. Iraq also plays like us and its style of play was like ours. But we had no motivation, we were empty from the beginning of the game. I used to say that I wish we were in Iran and called several people and told them to at least bring supplements. “

“A whole generation was wasted. Our generation was golden and by the grace of my mother, we could have won the Asian championship and won the World Cup or at least advanced from the group, but they wasted our generation, with their incompetent hands. We beat Vietnam and became the group leader, but…”

The 19 years old player who is born in Bandar Torkaman, is fully supported by his club Tractor which intends to file a strong appeal against the harsh suspension.

Yet another failure for Iran Javanan team. Iran U20 out of the competition.

Iran’s Javanan team (U20) lost to Iraq 1-0 in the quarter-final game of the AFC Asian U20 Cup 2023 in Uzbekistan. The team also lost the chance to qualify for the FIFA World Cup U20 to be held in Indonesia later this year.

In a scruffy match that had no resemblance to modern football but much more like street football, both teams pulled back and did not attempt to attack the opposition. The first half did not register a single shot on target by both teams.

The fear of conceding and losing dominated the mentality of both teams in the second half too, with the match suffering from this poor attitude. It was clear that both teams were content with playing out a goalless draw to try their luck in a penalty shootout. The lethargic match was dragging on and being an eye sore for the few fans in the stadium but was temporarily set alive in the 71st minute when Iraq’s keeper saved beautifully from a fine free-kick by Iran’s forward Hosseinzadeh. That was the first and only shot on target registered by the Iranians during the whole match.

In the dying minutes, a shambolic and totally embarrassing Iranian defense was easily penetrated by the Iraqi forward, Sajjad who shot hurriedly toward the goal, while three Iran defenders surrounded him. His shot was towards the far corner of Iran keeper Zarei who stood watching the ball roll past him into the net!! Serious failure of defense has been witnessed many times in this tournament.

It was all that Iraq needed and the sudden last-minute highly emotional Iranian awakening came to nothing as the Iraqis held firm and celebrated wildly after the referee’s whistle for qualifying for the finals of the FIFA U20 World Cup.

The less said about the match, the better as it was only an ugly, amateurish performance by both teams which was a bad advert for Asian youth football.

Despite all the handicaps that the Iranian team had way before the tournament started, Samad Marfavi is guilty of a lack of courage and tactical enterprise. Technically speaking, there was very little expected from Marfavi, a modest also-ran coach whose achievements in his coaching career come to zero. However, he could have for at least one important game, changed the mentality of his team, and encouraged them to be winners. His lack of courage, his ineffective coaching, his failure to identify gaps in the team, and his lack of influence were all factors in this defeat. Yes, without a doubt, a more qualified and competent coach would have made a change in this team that is no short of individual skills.

 Not that Iraq is any better than Iran nor is it a formidable team, however, they were better coached and managed defensively under their head coach Emad Mohammad knowing, a man who is very well familiar with Iranian football and its weaknesses.  The ex-Sepahan Esfahan player was victorious despite the lackluster performance in this match and that is what counts.

After 47 years of failures, Iran Javan has to wait another two years for another shot for the title. Frankly, under such a federation management, a group of modest below-par domestic coaches, and a lack of international exposure, it will be hardly unlikely that Iran U20 will do anything better soon.

No doubt, Samad Marfavi, will have a bag full of excuses and justifications while cursing that good old luck, however, he is better off practicing his trade at the lower-division teams in Iran. Unfortunately, after many years in coaching, he has yet to taste success.

The prospects of Javanan Team (Iran U20) in AFC U20 Asian Cup™ Uzbekistan 2023

The young Iranian football team Javanan, has qualified from the difficult group stage in AFC U20 Asian Cup™ Uzbekistan 2023 to set a quarterfinal match against Iraq and a good chance to make it all the way to the final. Iran needs to beat Iraq on 11th March to qualify for the  2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Indonesia. The top four teams of the tournament will qualify for FIFA Championship besides Indonesia who automatically qualified as hosts. Saudi Arabia is the title holder, having won the title in 2018.

The U20 team was formed with the usually chaotic and disorganized methods of FFIRI. There were many obstacles most of which are repetitious and have not been solved for long years. The worst scenario is when major clubs refuse to release players to the Uwo national team, or if they reluctantly agree, they make life hell for the selected player and the U20 coaching staff in the hope that the coaches will get tired from bargaining and drop the player from the squad!

Like Team Melli, the Javanan team was at the peak of Asian Football in the 70s. Iran’s youth won four titles in a row in 1973,74,75 and 1976. Such a feat has never been repeated again, and 1976 was the last time Iran tasted success.

This U20 team is no different from the rest since the revolution, hastily gathered, and struggling on and off the field, with a lack of a long-term program like the one other federations set up.

As for the coach Samad Marfavi, he has changed jobs 15 times since he retired from active football to become a coach. Like many ex-footballers in Iran who turned to coaching, his qualification and training to be a coach were to the absolute minimum and not up to international standards. He would be excused if the team does not do well, however, it will be a good exposure for him that might change his own chances to develop.

The three group matches starting with a narrow win against Qatar 1-0, a loss to Australia 2-3, and a win against Vietnam 3-1 ensured Iran’s qualification. From the technical point of view, there was nothing new that the observers took from the 3 matches. Strong and at times exceptional individual skills versus poor teamwork, poor defense, and the chronic Achilles heel of Iran’s football, the slow pace and reaction of the players. It has become a cliche amongst the commentators to label Iranian teams as slow. It is a fact that even the most ardent fan cannot deny, but such tactics and mindset have to start much earlier than the Javanan. This is where grassroots football must improve and coaches who are qualified, skillful, and competent are assigned to the grass root teams to teach the new generations the fundamentals of modern football.

However, that is not to say that Samad Marfavi cannot improve the team as there are many aspects that can and should be improved. Transitions and counterattack moves are two tactics that must be improved. The Wastefulness and profligacy of some players should be addressed too by the head coach. There are one or two players who frankly do not belong to the team. Mental agility and strength, another shortfall of Iranian footballers in general is. Marfavi needs to work on that.

Saying that the U20 team showed some delightful touches and individual skills in Fergana to endear themselves to the Uzbeck crowds. Individual talents and physical attributes remain the strong points of this team

As of now, it is might be wishful thinking to claim the title after 47 years, however,  the hope is always on one or two brilliant young players to use their individual skills and artistry to lead Iran to a win and the AFC Asian Cup U20.

Top 5 individual performances

Mohammad Amin Hazbavi
Saeed Saharkhizan  در فضای مجازی تصویر اشتباهی از الهامی ارائه می‌‎دهند/ امیدوارم جواب اعتماد مرفاوی را بدهم
Milad Kor
Adib Zarei
Erfan Ghorbani


Iran U20 qualifies for the quarter-finals in AFC U20 Asian Cup

Fergana -the-afc.com:
Abdolsamad Marfavi praised  Iran’s unwavering mindset after his side advanced to the AFC U20 Asian Cup™ Uzbekistan 2023 quarter-finals following a 3-1 win over Vietnam on Tuesday.
Vietnam’s Khuat Van Khang canceled out Mohammad Hazbavi’s first-half opener but goals from Saeid Saharkhizan and Mohammad Hosseinnezhad sealed Iran the win and top spot in Group B.
Iran came into the tie needing to bounce back from their 2-1 defeat to Australia on Matchday Two and Marfavi admitted that his side had to endure a very challenging match against their Southeast Asian opponents.

#AFCU20 – Group B| Vietnam (VIE) 1 – 3  Iran (IRN)

“The game against Vietnam was challenging, especially as we also had to face tough opponents like Qatar and Australia,” said Marfavi. “Vietnam were not only tactically good but were also mentally strong.
“However, we knew that we needed to secure three points, and with our team being well-balanced in both offence and defence, we were able to achieve it.”
Throughout the contest at the Istiqlol Stadium, Iran looked the much likelier to score with Marfavi praising his players for being mentally strong in overcoming Vietnam’s counter-attacking threat.
“Our progress in the tournament hinged on securing a victory, as a draw would result in our elimination. We adapted our tactics accordingly even though we were outclassed physically and in individual skill throughout the game. Our resolute mindset enabled us to clinch the triumph.”
Head coach Hoang Anh Tuan was gracious in defeat after seeing his Vietnam side suffer their first defeat in the tournament, which subsequently ended their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals.
“We must look to the future,” said Hoang. “We did our best but our best wasn’t enough to secure a place in the quarter-finals. Looking ahead, there are many players in the squad who can transition into the senior team.”
“Defender Le Nguyen Hoang, goalkeeper Cao Van Bình, midfielders Nguyen Van Truong and Khuat Van Khang are some of the players who had an exceptional tournament.
“Not forgetting the fans, I want to apologize to all of them as we couldn’t meet their expectations. Congratulations to Iran, who took our place in the last eight.”

Iran U20 starts AFC Asian Cup 2023 with victory.

Iran’s U20 team started the AFC U20 Asian Cup 2023 with a positive win against Qatar in Istiqlol Stadium, Fergana.

The only goal of the match came from a penalty that was beautifully struck by Amin Hezbavi in the 65th minute.

Despite the close result, Iran’s U20 dominated the field and was the team most likely to score but for a series of brilliant saves from Qatar Keeper Amir Hassan and some lax finishing by the Iranian players.

In the first half, Iran’s players in their all-white kit started the game aggressively and could have opened Qatar’s goal in the first few minutes, but the Qatari goalkeeper displayed brilliant reflexes to deny the Iranians players. Despite the fact that Iran was the better team in the first half and had many opportunities to score , the half ended in a goalless draw.

In the second half, Samad Marfavi’s players’ stepped up a notch or two and were on the move from the start. The team was more settled and played some beautiful football too.  Qatar were denied any opportunity until the last minute of the injury time when Iran’s keeper Adib Zarei made a finger-tip save to deny Qatar an undeserved equalizer.

While the Iranian team was careful not to fall prey to the Qataris’ quick counter-attacks and opportunism, they continued pressing the Qataris until they were awarded a penalty. In the 65th minute of this match, Iran finally took the lead and scored the winning goal on a penalty kick by Amin Hizbavipour.

Iran always looked the better side in control limiting Qatar to the occasional attacks which bore no fruit for the Marooni of Qatar.

While the team looked side physically and technically with an added bonus of individual skills, There were however those perennial shortfalls in Iranian players, like slowness, poor finishing, wastefulness, and mental strength. These are fundamental weaknesses that have their origin in grassroots football as the result of poor infrastructure, antiquated basic training methods from early ages, and poor tactical discipline. A coach such as Samad Marfavi can do so much in the short span of time that he has with the group to prepare a team for a major championship, however, he must be commended on the fine display by this Javanan team.

Next Match

on Saturday, the 13th of March, Iran will meet Australia at 15:00 local time and  (13:30 Tehran).  The Australians lost their first match against Vietnam in the match earlier.

Group B Standing

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1  Vietnam 1 1 0 0 1 0 +1 3
2  Iran 1 1 0 0 1 0 +1 3
3  Australia 1 0 0 1 0 1 −1 0
4  Qatar 1 0 0 1 0 1 −1 0



# Pos Player Name Date of birth (age) Club
1 GK Mohammad Khalifeh 19 August 2004(age 18) Persepolis
12 GK Adib Zarei 19 January 2004(age 19) Shahin
22 GK Mohammad Sadegh Salehi 5 March 2004(age 18) Sepahan
2 DF Milad Kor (captain) 19 October 2003(age 19) tractor
5 DF Mehran Feyzabadi 8 July 2003(age 19) Esteghlal
18 DF Ali Akbar Ranjbar 2 February 2004(age 19) Paykan
5 DF Amin Hazbavi 6 May 2003(age 19) Foolad
4 DF Ali rezaei 26 March 2003(age 19) Be’sat Kermanshah
14 DF Mersad Seifi 11 August 2003(age 19) Nassaji Mazandaran
13 DF Amin Pilali 7 January 2003(age 20) kia
6 MF Farhad Zavoshi 8 February 2003(age 20) Havadar
7 MF Hossein Nokhodkar 24 February 2002(age 21) Gol Gohar
8 MF Mohammad HIranossein Zavari 11 January 2001(age 22) Sanat Naft
15 MF Mohammadreza Torabi 18 July 2004(age 18) Esteghlal
16 MF Mohammadreza Bordbar 26 August 2004(age 18) Malavan
21 MF Ahmad Reza Jenadeleh 20 March 2001(age 21) Foolad
23 MF Seyed Reza Mousavian 24 June 2001(age 21) Foolad
9 FW Amir Ebrahimzadeh 31 January 2004(age 19) tractor
19 FW Mojtaba Fakhrian 15 May 2003(age 19) Aluminium Arak
11 FW Salim Toomaj 9 January 2005(age 18) Fenerbahçe
17 FW Amirreza Eslamtalab 30 January 2003(age 20) kia
18 FW Amir Shahim 18 September 2003(age 19) Gol Gohar Sirjan
10 MF Erfan Bagheri 15 December 2003(age 19) kia
20 FW Saeid Saharkhizan 26 January 2003(age 20) Havadar

Iran’s youth final preparation for the AFC U20 Asian Cup.

The AFC U20 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2023 will start on the first of March 2023, with Iran grouped with Qatar, Australia, and Vietnam in Group B of the competition. The matches will be played in Tashkent and Fergana. Javanan Team (Iran U20) will have its final practice game this afternoon in Tehran against the Pas team.

Iran’s U20 is currently coached by Samad Marfavi who has coached at several club levels including Esteghlal. The Team will be flying directly to Fergana, the venue of the first match versus Qatar on a chartered flight thus avoiding commercial flights which would have taken the squad 23 hours to reach Fergana.

Group B

Qatar, Australia, Vietnam, Iran

This group looks like another tough-looking group that has two former winners in Iran and Qatar, 2010 runners-up Australia and 2016 semi-finalists Vietnam.

Qatar were perfect in Group B of the Qualifiers as they cruised to wins over Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Bahrain, scoring 14 goals and conceding just once.

Iran were equally impressive, topping Group J with nine points while Australia didn’t put a foot wrong either in Group H, also registering three wins.

Vietnam are the odd ones out, sealing their place in the Finals as among the five best runners-up after finishing second in Group F.

The Southeast Asian side, however, have become a force to be reckoned with at all age-group levels, and fans can rest assured there will be no easy matches in Group B.

Wednesday, 1 March 2023 – 19:00 Istiqlol Stadium, Fergana
Qatar Iran
Saturday, 4 March 2023 – 15:00 Istiqlol Stadium, Fergana
Iran Australia
1 March 2023
Tuesday, 7 March 2023 – 15:00 JAR Stadium, Tashkent
Vietnam Iran
Iran won this championship 4 times in a row in 1973, 1974, 1975, and 1976. After the revolution, Iran has failed to win any titles and the drought at the youth level is now at a staggering 47 years!!
Lack of resources, poor preparations, sub-standard organization, and Iranian coaches’ standards have been the Achilles’ heel of Iran’s youth football.
Samad Marfavi, like many other Iranian coaches, has stagnated and lacks knowledge of modern football. The failure of the football federation to prepare a cadre of good domestic ex-footballers to turn into quality coaches by sending them abroad for quality education and coaching seminars has limited the success of Iranian caches. Much of the success of the youth teams evidently is due o individual performances rather than teamwork and quality coaching.
While at this level, the standards of teams are quite close and predictions are difficult, Iran U20 has as good a chance as any of the teams. The physicality of the Iranian players is always a strong point, but the Qatari and Australian teams benefit from quality coaching and long-term career development by their respective football associations, something that the Iranian side lacks in earnest.
This group is a tight call. Iran players need to be strong mentally as much as physically to navigate through the group round.

GK ADIB ZAREI (Shahin Bushehr)

(Fajr Sepasi)
(Iman Sabz Shiraz)
(Sepid Roud Rasht)
(Nassaji Ghaemshahr)

MF ABBAS SHARAFI (GolGohar Sirjan)


AFC U20 Asian Cup™ Uzbekistan 2023 draw

Tashkent: The continent’s rising stars are set for exciting tussles following the completion of the AFC U20 Asian Cup™ Uzbekistan 2023 draw on Wednesday.
The 16 teams were divided into four groups with the top two from each group to advance to the quarter-finals in the March 1 to 18, 2023 showpiece.
Hosts Uzbekistan were placed in Group A alongside Indonesia, Iraq and Syria.
Group B will see Qatar, Australia, Vietnam, and Iran vying for the quarter-final berths while Korean Republic, Tajikistan, Jordan, and Oman are the four teams in Group C.
Group D saw defending champions Saudi Arabia, Japan, China PR, and the Kyrgyz Republic being drawn together.

Youth Competitions Brand Reveal

Besides continental glory, there will be four tickets at stake for the FIFA U20 World Cup 2023, which will return to Asia in Indonesia from May 20 to June 11.
Draw Result
Group A: Uzbekistan, Indonesia, Iraq, Syria
Group B: Qatar, Australia, Vietnam, Iran
Group C: Korea Republic, Tajikistan, Jordan, Oman
Group D: Saudi Arabia, Japan, China PR, Kyrgyz Republic

Iran Youths qualify for AFC U20 Asian Cup 2023 finals in Uzbekistan

Bishkek: Iran found their scoring boots in the second half to defeat the United Arab Emirates 2-0 to finish top of Group J of the AFC U20 Asian Cup™ Uzbekistan 2023 Qualifiers on Sunday.
Kyrgyz Republic defeated Brunei Darussalam 6-0 to finish as the Group J runners-up, keeping alive their hopes of advancing to the Finals as one of the five best second-placed teams.
UAE 0-2 IR Iran
Iran came into the tie only needing to avoid defeat to book their place in the Finals following their earlier wins over the Kyrgyz Republic and Brunei Darussalam. 

Only a win would do for UAE, having lost 2-0 to the Kyrgyz Republic on Friday after having kicked off their campaign with a 5-0 victory over Brunei Darussalam.

A tight first half meant neither side was able to find the back of the net but that changed in the second period with Iran taking control of proceedings. 

The Central Asian side’s persistence was rewarded in the 71st minute with forward Saied Saharkhizan slotting home. 

A desperate UAE tried to find their way back but their hopes were dashed in the sixth minute of added time with Amir Ebrahimzadeh scoring Iran’s second. 

Amir Ebrahimzadeh scored five goals as Iran, who were made to work hard for their opening day 1-0 win over the Kyrgyz Republic, strolled to victory against Brunei Darussalam at the Dolen Omurzakov Stadium.

Midfielder Mohammadreza Torabi put Iran ahead in the 23rd minute and that paved the way for total domination as Ebrahimzadeh (27th) and Mojtaba Fakhrian (45+1) secured a comfortable lead going into the break.