Tag: Amir Ghalenoei

Ghalenoei: “We have no problems in our defense!”

Asian Cup at 19:30 on Wednesday, 11th of Bahman in the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha. 

Amir Ghalenoei, attended a press conference before the game with Syria on Tuesday afternoon and brief the press on the status and conditions of his team for the then proceeded to answer the questions by reporters.

Syria is a team with a great coach

Team Melli’s head coach said “Considering the knowledge we have of the great head coach of the Syrian team and the players of this team, we know that we will have one of the most difficult games ahead of us. They only concede a single goal in the group stage, which shows that they have a good defensive structure. We are playing against a hardworking team. We must run and focus so that we can implement our tactical plans with the least mistakes.

We have learned the necessary lessons 

Emphasizing that his team is ready for the match against Syria, Ghalenoei continued: “Iran’s national team has great players, of course, in order to achieve success, we must have good quality and play with focus. The previous results and behaviors have taught us the necessary lessons. This issue has already shown itself in individual behaviors as well as team issues. Now we have to play with strength and concentration.”

We have changed our attitude 

About Syrian, he said “This team is very good in terms of defensive structure, but we have also made good progress. We have changed our attitude and moved from a defensive structure to attacking football with possession. This shows that we have been able to be effective in this time. In the club team, you can have 150 training sessions per year, but at the national team level, you cannot have more than 20 training sessions. We managed to change the attitude of the national team which was prevailing for several years.”

The goals we we conceded, had nothing to do with the defensive structure

About his team’s defensive problems: “The two goals we conceded in these games had nothing to do with our defensive structure or weakness. They were individual mistakes, which is also a part of football. We have to make people enjoy football. That’s why we have to play offensive in the match against Syria. The characteristic of Iranian football is that it must be present in the defensive third of the opponent and play offensively. We hope the players will implement the tactical orders on the field. have high concentration and minimize individual mistakes so that we can win with an acceptable performance.”

return to the events of the past ; I was wronged

In response to a journalist’s question about the events of his previous coaching in the 2007 Asian Cup, Ghalenoei said: “They brought a head coach in the worst possible situation, the federation did not have a president, football is suspended, two political groups were involved. A head coach comes, doesn’t lose, scores 11 points, and leaves the team without a loss. I wasn’t sad about being abandoned, I was sad about the cruelty that happened and the bad treatment I received.” 

They made a program and wrote 300 articles against me

Ghalenoei continued: “Nowhere in the world would they treat a coach who had taken over the team in such difficult situation treated me. There was a certain group that had a problem with me and they produced a TV program targeting me and wrote 300 articles against me. I was surprised myself. Certain political conditions prevailed in the country.

Do not break the sanctity of people

Ghaleneoi continued :” My request is that you treat people in such a way that we do not break the sanctity of people. I myself have left out many players, rightly or wrongly. But I have tried not to break anyone’s sanctity. I tried to be honest in my behavior. These players are really smart and intelligent and we have to be honest with them.”

We have no problem with the defense line 

Commenting about remarks in his defensive line up, lack of cohesion and defenders mistakes, he said ” Kananizadegan is a good player who will be absent in this match. However, we have good players that we can use. We also have good young players who can gradually join the team. We are not worried about the player who is unable to play because we can solve these problems by moving positions.


Syria: A difficult team to beat

. Iran needs various solutions against park the bus Syrian defense

. Syria will frustrate the Iranian forwards.

. Team Melli lacks prowess in the middle of the park.

On paper and form, Iran is the favorite to go through the round of 16 match against Syria on Wednesday. Everything is backing Team Melli from the head to head records to form, players ratings and anything in between. Frankly, it is hard to find any aspect of the Syrian team that can match Iran’s.

Football, however, is a strange game where forms and stars sometime lose their way in a match. Team Melli started brightly against Palestine, dispatching four goals in the process. Against Hong Kong, the Team was an embarrassment and perhaps even lucky not to come out with draw. Third time against the UAE, the team was back to its standard and perhaps unlucky not to score more than two goals.

Evaluating the performance of the Syrian team, their last 3 games were hardly impressing. However, it must be mentioned that in Héctor Raúl Cúper , they have a seasoned coach with an immense experience. at club and national teams levels. The Argentine, who at one stage coached Inter Milan , has moved eastward coaching Georgia, Egypt, Uzbekistan . Congo DR before settling in Syria. He is , perhaps, the Syrian team greatest asset.

Syria, just made it to in the knockout stage of the Asian Cup, after a narrow 0-1 loss to Australia, a goalless draw versus Uzbekistan and a narrow 1-0 win against India. The stats clearly says that there is not much fire power in the Syrian team scoring one goal in three matches to qualify, but on the other hand, they seem to have a solid defense that has conceded one goal only, a record which is better that Iran which has conceded two goals.

Clearly, this team excels in defending. Cuper is well aware of his team strength and will be repeating the same against Iran. Packed and tight defenses , double teaming the Iranian wingers and closing down the central defense will be the game plan for Syria. It will be a classic Italian style defense.

The Syrian players are physically and technically strong and can match the Iranians. What they lack, however, is the skills, experience and the team work of Iran. Ghalenoei, must have a pragmatic approach to this match and be prepared to change game plan and players’ options to counteract the tight defenses of Syria.

While Rezaeian will be a key provider of crosses on the right flank for Taremi and Azmoun, the lack of pace and skills of Ezatollahi to cover him, could prove costly in case of counter attacks by Syria. The same can be said on the left side of the defense where Hajsafi is venturing much less than usual but also has no real backing in case he decides to venture forward for crosses.

In fact, it there was a good defensive midfielder in the team, the central defenders would have benefitted a lot and their work cut short playing more comfortably at the back. This is probably the major shortfall of Team Melli right now. Feeble defensive midfield players.

Hossein Kanani is suspended for the match against Syria, which might be a good thing for Iran as he has been error prone in the las three matches. Majid Hosseini, and Shoja’a Khalilzadeh , although not familiar with each other, can still perform the job expected from them.

Saman Ghoddos, at his best, is a key player in Team Melli although , he does tend to drift in and out at times. His defense splitting passing is crucial, as well as the dribbling of Ghayedi and the crosses of Jahanbakhsh. Ghalenoei must introduce a variety of plans to put pressure on the Syrian defense.

Saeed Ezatollahi whose style of play is slow , destructive, and passes somewhat backwards, needs to be counted if he is picked as a starter. He has been one of the weaknesses in the line up as the squad does not have adequate coverage in this department. Cheshmi is more versatile and better defensive player, while Ebrahimi is stronger in tackles and more experienced but Ghalenoei somehow sees something in Ezatollahi that keeps him in the team as a regular starter. It is about time that this midfield performs it defensive duty to help the team and ease the pressure on the defenders.

Team Melli training report

Doha – Al Rayan Training ground.

Iran’s national football team continued their preparation for the round 16 match against Syria with an evening session from 18:00 Doha time.

This practice session was held at Al-Rayyan Club. The squad reviewed the tactical plans of the coaching staff for the game against Syria on Wednesday.

Performing tactical tasks in two offensive and defensive phases in two different groups and reviewing tactical goals using small goals was the main part of the team’s training today.

In these two sections, Amir Ghalenoei, the head coach, repeatedly reminded the players of the important points by pausing the action as necessary.

Maintaining concentration during the pressure of the game, quick passes and single hits and combined work were the points emphasized in today’s training.

In the final part of the practice session, the players took turns in penalty kicks.

Before the start of today’s training, Ghalenoei spoke to the players for 15 minutes highlighting important points about the opponents and different game plans which would be used for the game..

Team Melli will continue its training tomorrow from 18:00. The media and press are allowed to attend the practice for the first 15 minutes of this training.

MATCH PREVIEW: Iran v. Hong Kong

Doha: Head coach Amir Ghalenoei is expecting more of his Iran players when they take on Hong Kong, China in their second match of the AFC Asian Cup™ Qatar 2023 at Khalifa International Stadium on Friday.

Team Melli started their journey in style, putting four goals past Palestine from four different scorers as all of Karim Ansarifard, Shojae Khalilzadeh, Mehdi Ghayedi, and Sardar Azmoun contributed to the 4-1 victory on Sunday, but Ghalenoei insists his team still has more.

“The last match was difficult; we had to fight a lot and, in the process, picked up two injuries,” said the Iran boss.

“We have some injured players, and we could make 3-4 changes. When I said I was not satisfied with our performance in the previous match, it was because I know what my players are capable of. We are ready for the match tactically and we know our players are technically sound and very creative.

“We should think every match is a final and go step by step, so right now we are only thinking of Hong Kong. I am sure it will be a difficult game. Playing every three days and with injuries, we need to be wary.”

#AsianCup2023 | Group C : Islamic Republic Of Iran 4 - 1 Palestine

Team Melli enjoyed nearly 62% of the possession during their first game of the tournament, but Ghalenoei is more focused on how the team utilises that possession.

“[Pep] Guardiola brought ‘Tiki-Taka’ but he himself is changing; number of passes is not so important, it matters how many players you put out of play by each pass, the possession and how well you complete it. That is the priority for me.

“Every player has a specific responsibility at his club, but at the national team, their responsibilities are different. Mehdi Taremi might not have scored, but we gave him special duties, and he is performing very well.”

Hong Kong started their campaign with a 3-1 defeat to the United Arab Emirates but did enjoy a moment of happiness when Philip Chan scored their first AFC Asian Cup goal since 1968, also marking the 1,000th goal in the history of the competition.

The East Asian side have welcomed the return of veteran centre-back Helio from injury, providing a boost for head coach Jorn Andersen before the team’s clash against IR Iran on Friday.

Ghalenoei game plan vs Hong Kong

After a convincing comfortable win in the first match for Team Melli against Palestine, Amir Ghalenoei opted to give his players a day off on Monday. The players were happy to take the off day to roam around the city of Doha to observe the majestic infrastructure and the modern shopping areas.

Ghalenoei and his coaching staff remained in the hotel planning for the next match vs Hong Kong that will be played on Friday. The concern about injuries has died down as it seems all the players on the injury list have recovered and can play if Ghalenoei wishes to use them. The head coach, however, is contemplating a change in the lineup to give the main players some rest while giving fringe players the chance thus spreading the workload amongst a maximum number of players in this long competition that needs fresh players, not over-worked or exhausted ones.

Hong Kong lost against UAE in its first match 1-3 with two penalties conceded. Despite that loss, Hong Kong looked quite good and managed to control the game at different periods. The team has improved in the last few seasons and with the naturalized players, there is flair and industry, and confidence is high. It is not a team that should be taken lightly by Iran despite the 4-0 drubbing the last time these two met in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers in Azadi.

There is no question of Ghalenoei putting a weakened team against Hong Kong as a win is essential. Players like Azmoun, Taremi, Ghoddos, and Jahanbakhsh are essential in the team lineup. Other players can be rested such as Saeid Ezatollahi who had a pretty bad match against Palestine and also suffered a trauma on his nose. A rest for that player will do both himself and the team a ton of good. Cheshmi or Ebrahimi would be the ideal options to replace Ezatollahi.

Mehdi Torabi, who was not even on the bench against Palestine, Ali Gholizadeh, and Mehdi Ghaeydi are good options to start as midfielders alongside Ghoddos.

There have been questions about the defense and conceding the goal has worried the local Iranian media. The Ezatollahi blunder has raised the question although it was an individual error from one player. The overall standard of defense was quite good against Palestine, however, a change of personalities would be beneficial. Some younger energy will do Team Melli a world of good.

Iran beats Burkina Faso in Kish Island.

Team Melli defeated the West-African team Burkina Faso 2-1 in a closely contested match on Friday evening in Kish Island in a full capacity Olympic Stadium.

The guest opened the scoring in the 16th minute when Saman Ghoddos was robbed in front of the Iran goal for Konate to beat the outstretched Beiranvand with a low powerful strike. Mehdi Taremi equalized in the 42nd minute after a scramble in front of Burkina Faso’s goal. Omid Ebrahimi scored Iran’s winner in the 71st minute as a result of another scramble inside the box.

It was a tale of two teams as Ghalenoei changed the entire 11 players that have started the match with a new team plus a couple more substitutions in the second half. Despite a slow start by Iranian players, the guest showed aggression and pace that managed to disturb the rhythm of Team Melli passing game. Like usual, the middle of the park was ineffective with Saeid Ezatolahi once again raising question marks about his standard and suitability to operate as a holding midfielder In Team Melli. Errors in passing and lacking accuracy has marred his performance in this half. While Ghoddos was less not as effective as usual in the role of playmaker. The two other midfielders cum-wingers Mohebbi and Jahanbakhash failed to make an impact on the match.

Despite those deficiencies, Team Melli managed to threaten their gusts several times, but a wasteful Taremi and Moghanlou squandered a few chances that could have made the second half more comfortable than it was.

The second half saw the entire team changed for the first time in the history of Team Melli matches. The introduction of Rouzbeh Cheshmi as a defensive midfielder replacing the lame Ezatolahi, in addition to Ali Gholizadeh and Omid Ebrahimi, refreshed the midfield while Khalilzadeh in defense and Haj Safi on the left back solidified the defense. However, neither Ansarifard nor Asadi replacing Moghanlou and Taremi in the second half made any significant impact up front.

At the final whistle of the Iraqi referee, Amir Ghaleneoi must have been quite relieved by the narrow win but less than comfortable to see how his team can be contained and easily outpaced by a pressing and aggressive team.

It seems that Alireza Beiranvand sustained an injury in the first half and his substitution was necessary. On the bench Beiranvand was treated with heavy ice pack on his knees. Rezaeian was not involved as he is still being treated and the coaching staff did not risk him for this match.

Iran will play Indonesia next in Doha in the final preparation game before starting its campaign in AFC Asian Cup vs Palestine.

Ghalenoei “We will build a younger team for the World Cup”

Amir Ghalenoei, Team Melli head coach, briefly commented on the status of the squad preparing for the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023, saying: “Fortunately, the team’s conditions are very good. Those players who were worthy, in our opinion, were invited to the national team with different tactical thoughts. Let’s talk in a more detailed program. Considering the short time until the Asian Cup, a short-term plan was drawn up for this purpose but the longer-term plan is to prepare the team for the World Cup with younger players. Other players deserved to be in the squad, but due to the limitation on the number of players we could select, we decided on this list.”

“We went through the list meticulously to finalize these 26 players,” Ghalenoei said.

on the friendly match versus Burkina Faso, he said “Burkina Faso is ranked 57th in FIFA ranking and sitting close to Saudi Arabia. It is a very good team. I noticed some people criticized the selection of that team. Of course, every team we play with will be criticized. We can test our two tactics against them and it will be a serious test. I thank the officials of Kish for paying for this game. I ask all my loved ones to put aside all love and hatred in this month. One day is Amir Ghalenoei, one day is Mr. Queiroz and one day is Mr. Ghotbi. It is important to support the national team at this time. We do everything we can.”

Ghalenoei then went on a rant about patriotism and how everyone should be quiet and just support the team without any criticism.

Like his predecessors, Ghalenoei as a Head Coach is no exception when it comes to being criticized and loathing towards those media that point out his shortfalls. It seems that he is mostly affected by the severe criticism of his aging squad both in the online media and the social media. His claim about building a younger team after the Asian Cup is perhaps a small token of admission that with such an aging team that he picked up for the Asian Cup, the oldest amongst the main contenders for the Asian Cup, it will be that much more difficult to achieve success.

Awaiting Team Melli’s squad list.

With just a few days to the new year and a fortnight to go for the AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qatar, Team Melli is experiencing an eerie silence. The players are carrying out their club duties with mixed fortune in Iran and abroad, while the coaching staff is busy analyzing the performance of the same players over and over again, in a vain attempt to find something encouraging.

Although Ghalenoei claimed that Team Melli is open to all suitable Iranian players, the truth remains that he is not looking anywhere beyond the 30-odd players that he inherited from Carlos Queiroz despite being short of a year now in charge of Team Melli.

A certain unreliable, Mohammad Nabi has claimed that Team Melli will have a couple or more preparatory friendly matches before the team departs to Doha, including a friendly with Japan and Indonesia, but apart from his claim we could not see anything to substantiate that.

There has been no statement or progress report from the Team Melli camp about the immediate plan with two weeks left. The domestic league is being played as normal and the competition is heating up, which is a good omen for Team Melli members playing in Iran.

In Europe,  the progress of the Iranians is mixed. Taremi is back on the scoring trail, Azmun is still a bench player coming in the latter stages of matches with AS Roma and managing to score a solitary goal so far, and Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s days with Feyenoord is coming to an end as the club is not willing to renew his contract and is still a benchwarmer in the Eredivisie. Saman Ghoddos has found himself in a new role at Brentford and he is not doing a bad job either. He is proving to be a versatile footballer now that he has played in all three outfield posts in competitions.

Ali Gholizadeh is not doing too great in the Polish league with Lech Poznan playing a total of 4 matches since the start of the league and now he has been relegated to the second ties team of the Polish league. Saeid Ezatolahi is in Denmark, and his form has been fluctuating and that is evident in his club Vejle BK sitting at the bottom of the league and facing relegation.

The two players in Turkey, Ali Karimi, and Majid Hosseini are in a much better situation as both seem to be regular starters and their team is ranked 4th in the Turkish Super League.

One significant player who will probably miss selection for the Team Melli squad for the Asian Cup is Allahyar Sayyadmanesh, a player who was beaming with confidence and was a star in the Ukraine league, but his transfer to England with Hull has been going from bad to worse. Similar to Sayyadmanesh, it seems that Mehdi Ghaeydi another young Iranian player with so much promise, is not going to make it either despite showing a reasonable standard in the UAE league.

The squad name should be published soon, but no one should be under any illusion that new names will added to the 30-year-old players that have played together and dominated Team Melli since FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia.

Uzbekistan Tashkent

A Tale of Two Halves: Uzbekistan vs Iran, FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers

  • The beautiful and unsightly face of Team Melli displayed in the match
  • An opportunity missed by Team Melli due to discipline failure
  • Srečko Katanec proves his quality in Tashkent

Team Melli drew a match in which they were 2 goals ahead against Uzbekistan in the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifier in Tashkent Melliy Stadim. The match ended 2-2 draw, Ramin Rezaeian scoring the first in the 14th minute, while Taremi scored the second in the 37th in a game that was a tale of two contrasting halves.

The first half was dominated by Iran, showcasing a level of football that Team Melli hadn’t displayed in a long time. The team’s intricate passing, solid defending, and tactical discipline were commendable. The midfield was masterfully controlled by the dynamo, Saman Ghoddos, who also provided the assist for Mehdi Taremi’s second goal. The overall free-flowing football was a delight to watch.

Two well-played goals, first by Rezaeian who received a master pass from Sardar Azmoun, and then followed by Taremi doubling the lead in the 37th minute. this time by a perfectly weighted ball from Saman Ghoddis who had lots of credit as he robbed the ball before sending it to Taremi who finished masterfully.

However, the second half painted a completely different picture. It was dominated by Uzbekistan, capitalizing on the disciplinary collapse of Team Melli. The turning point was arguably the injury to the schemer, Saman Ghoddos. His replacement, Ali Karimi, failed to replicate Ghoddos’ impact on the game. The tactical discipline, especially at the back, was missing from Iran’s gameplay, and the two goals conceded were due to defensive coverage failure. The slowness of the defense was quite evident in this half.

Uzbek coach Katenec read the hand of Iran’s Ghalenoei masterfully in the second half. Implementing a pressing tactic and empowering his team with pacy and more effective players, Uzbekistan managed to score twice to settle the game. The match served as a reminder of the unpredictability of football, where fortunes can change in the blink of an eye.

One unfortunate side of Team Melli that we have been used to for years is the discipline. Mehdi Taremi and Ramin Rezaeian were masters in simulation and fake falls to a laughable degree. In particular that dive by Taremi in the box in the first half. The referee opted not to award him a yellow card despite the fact that it was a bookable offense. Another comical fall by Rezaeian on the second was even more laughable! Ghalenoei has yet to enforce his gentlemanly type of football. This is the ugly face of Team Melli that no one wants to see. This team is good enough in many aspects without the need for cheating.

Iran leads the table with four points ahead of Uzbekistan on goal difference.

Noorollahi kicked out of Team Melli camp

Team Melli and Al Wehda midfield player, Ahmad Noorollahi, was ejected from the national team camp a few minutes ago according to an official announcement from the Football Federation.

The media department of the national team announced that Ahmed Nooralahi had been expelled from the camp. On follow-up, it appears that the reason for Noorollahi’s expulsion from the camp that has played Hong Kong and will meet Uzbekistan next was of a disciplinary nature.

Ghalenoei, called 30 players for this camp, but FIFA and competition regulations will allow only 23 players to be registered for the match. When Noorollahi realized that he was not on the list of the final 23, he refused to join the rest of the excluded players and left the group without the approval of team management. This resulted in his expulsion from the camp as the midfielder will not make the trip to Tashkent for the Uzbekistan game.

This is not the first time that a Team Melli player has been recently disciplined for misdemeanor and unprofessional conduct. A player like Noorollahi who plays professionally in a foreign league quite simply ignores the most basic of the rules and that is respect for decisions made by the hierarchy.

It is difficult to see Noorollahi, being part of Iran’s squad for the AFC Asian Cup early next year, unless that usual Iranian tradition where the guilty person shows remorse, visits the head coach with a flower bouquet and kisses cheek to cheek, and then all is forgotten!