Tag: Doha

Team Melli needs to regain the fan’s confidence.

What the fans and critics saw from Team Mell’s last match is quite different than what Ghalenoei observed from the bench. Apparently, the head coach thought his team played quite well. He referred to the match statistics as proof. He did, however, admit that there were some individual mistakes in the match against Hong Kong.

From our perspective, it was a bad performance from Team Melli. It was quite different than the match versus Palestine where despite gaps in the team, the win was with a big margin. Against Hong Kong, the players were embarrassing at times and certainly, a coach of the caliber of Ghalenoei should not accept that and be courageous enough to admit and mend these shortfalls. Team Melli failed to deliver and was well below the expectations of the fans.

The worry is how the team can deteriorate so badly in a matter of days!

Understandably, that kind of admission would be difficult to announce publically, not from Ghalenoei anyway, however, the hope is that, if Team Melli has a serious aspiration to win the Asian Cup, the players and the coaching staff have to elevate their standards and performance quickly enough to be taken seriously. Right now, Iran is a rank outsider according to opinions here.

There is no doubt that this Iran Team has the full potential and has quality players that can challenge any of the teams here in the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023. The match against UAE in a few hours, should not be hard work for Ghalenoei’s players, a win is the least of the expectations, anything less than a win will not be satisfactory and will shake the confidence of the fans further.

Absence of Team Melli Fans from the streets of Doha

The Qataris have become professional hard-core organizers of great events. This Asian Cup 2023 is no exception. Everything is well organized for an event of this magnitude. The streets of Doha are vibrant with fans from across Asia, It is colorful, cosmopolitan, relaxing yet exciting. Fans chanting and waving their teams’ flags are adding to the flavor of the tournament. However, the conspicuous absence of Iranian fans is disappointing. With Iran being next door and traveling to Doha as easy as flying between two Iranian cities, it is rather puzzling not to see more fans from Iran making the trip.

The match between Iran and the UAE is sold out online. It will be interesting to see how many fans actually attend the match at Education City Stadium.

Obsessions with which team will Iran meet in the round of 16.

Any team that aspires to lift the Asian Cup trophy, has at one stage meet strong opposition. Iranian media here has been speculating, calculating, hoping, and obsessing about the next opponent in the round of 16. The fact remains that as long as Team Melli heads the group, they should be playing a third-rank team of any of the three groups in the round of 16. In theory, that should not be a hard task for Iran.

Iran-Palestine: Match preview

  • 24 hours to go for Team Melli’s first Match.
    * Palestine will not be easy prey.
    * Ghalenoei “We will play attacking football”

Iran and Palestine will start their campaign in the 18th AFC Asian Cup 2023 at Education City Stadium at 20:30 local time. In the pre-match Press Conference, both managers followed the standard narratives and claims about the importance of the match, with Ghalenoei considering it like a Final for Team Melli!

What is certain though, is Palestine will be playing a solid defensive game, perhaps like parking a double-decker in front of their goalkeeper. The responsibility is on Ghalenoei to form a plan to break this tactic which is now being followed by many weaker teams in front of more powerful opposition.

This gameplan by Palestine, with an eye on quick counterattacks on Iran’s goal might spring a surprise on the final result. The more the Palestinian team can hold on, the more difficult is the task for Iran and that includes the psychological pressure and fan’s reaction to a deadlock.

On the other hand, an early goal by Iran will make Team Melli play at a comfortable pace and dictate the match. On paper, Iran is a much stronger team in every sense. They have the experience, the pedigree, the quality, and have been playing some eye-catching football recently. They are undefeated in two years since losing to the USA in the FIFA World Cup 2022.

Palestine has not enjoyed much success at the international level and has been winless since they defeated Bahrain 2-1 in March 2023. Palestine played eight matches since and has failed to register a win, losing 5 times and drawing 3. In those 8 matches, they scored one goal only while failing to score in seven. This team has a big problem up front. On the other hand, they have a solid defense and one that has yet to crash against the might of Australia, Uzbekistan, and Saudi Arabia.

So, expecting a goal ruch from Azmoun and Taremi, is easier said than done, hence the importance of an early goal.

Interestingly, they have two professional players who play in the Israel league. They have not featured as regulars as many other professionals occupy the starting lineup.

First time
This will be the first meeting between Iran and Palestine in the AFC Asian Cup; the last time Team Melli faced a team for the first time in the competition was on 12 January 2019 v Vietnam – scoring a 2-0 win.

Win target
Palestine is yet to register a victory in the AFC Asian Cup, having gone winless (D2 L4) in the 2015 and 2019 editions; this is their third appearance in the competition.

Iran are unbeaten in each of their last 20 group stage games (W15 D5) in the AFC Asian Cup; in fact, the last time they lost the opening game in the competition was a 1-2 loss to Iraq in 1996, having won the last six such games since then on the bounce. 

Terrific duo
No player recorded more touches in the opposition box in 2019 than Iran’s duo of Sardar Azmoun (42) and Mehdi Taremi (33); Palestine’s best player in this category in the previous edition was Mahmoud Wadi with six such touches. 

Sardar Azmoun has scored 49 goals for Team Melli. He needs just one more goal to equal Karim Bagheri who has 50 goals and is only second to the legendary Ali Daei in the list of the highest scorers of Team Melli.

Azmoun was dismissed before joining the Team Melli squad

Lazio and AS Roma football teams met in the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia on Wednesday evening. The match ended with Lazio winning 1-0. Zaccagni (51′ penalty) scored the only goal of this match for Lazio. Sardar Azmoun, Team Melli striker, was replaced Rick Karsdorp’s in Roma’s lineup in the 58th minute to vitalize the front line and prevent the team from losing, but he was unable to get anywhere until he was finally expelled from the field in the 90th minute due to a fight with an opponent player!

Meanwhile, the player has arrived in Doha to join the squad on Thursday. It wasn’t the best of circumstances for the naughty boy of Iran, known for his explosive reaction during bad times.

Team Melli announces the preparation plan.

  • A training camp is arranged in Kish Island
  • A friendly match against Burklina Faso is arranged in Kish.

According to the plans made public by the Football Federation, Team Melli team will hold its camp in Kish on January 4th. During the camp, the Iran team will play its last match before traveling to Qatar to take part in the AFC Asian Cup. The match will be held on Friday, January 5th at the Kish Olympics stadium against Burkina Faso national team.
This team is currently training in Dubai. The game at Kish Island will be held at 18:00 Iran time. After this match, the squad will continue training in Kish until January 8th when they will fly to Doha well ahead of the first match against Palestine.

Team Melli will be gathering in Kish without the legionnaire players unless some of these clubs release the players early.

Burkina Faso national football team

This African Team has never played against Team Melli. The FIFA Ranking of Burkina Faso national football team ranks 57th in the world according to the latest FIFA rankings, higher than teams like Qatar, Finland, and Ireland. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is 56th in this ranking and Iran is 21st.

Almost all the players of the national team play abroad with European and African clubs to a lesser extent. Perhaps the most famous player is the 28-year-old Bertrand Traoré who plays for the English Premier League side, Aston Villa. Two other players are also playing in the EPL, Dango Ouattara at Bournemouth and Issa Kaboré at Luton Town.

Burkina Faso has never qualified for the FIFA World but the country’s football took a significant stride in the new millennium with the team reaching the African Nations Cup several times and ending the tournament in Senegal in 2021 in the fourth rank. Their best-ever position was the runner-up in 2013 in South Africa.

Last 5 results

12/09/23FRIMorocco1 – 0Burkina FasoL
13/10/23FRIEquatorial Guinea0 – 0Burkina FasoD
17/10/23FRIMauritania1 – 2Burkina FasoW
17/11/23CWCBurkina Faso1 – 1Guinea-BissauD
21/11/23CWCEthiopia0 – 3Burkina FasoW

Seeding for AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ Final Draw confirmed


Kuala Lumpur: The seeding for the highly-anticipated AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ Final Draw, which will take place on May 11, 2023, 2:00pm (local time), in Doha, Qatar, has now been confirmed following the release of the latest FIFA World Ranking.

As with the previous editions of Asia’s crown jewel, Qatar have been allocated the first position in Pot 1 ahead of the draw to be held at the Katara Opera House to ensure that the host nation commences the tournament with the opening match scheduled for January 12, 2024.
Joining the hosts and defending champions in Pot 1 are the teams ranked from second to sixth in Asia in the latest FIFA Ranking namely, four-time winners Japan, three-time champions Iran, two-time winners Korea Republic, 2015 champions Australia and Saudi Arabia who will be aiming to claim their fourth Continental crown.
Pot 2 will comprise 2007 champions Iraq, 2019 hosts the United Arab Emirates, Oman, 2011 semi-finalist Uzbekistan, and two-time runners-up China PR and Jordan.
Meanwhile, Bahrain, Syria, Palestine, Vietnam, Kyrgyz Republic and Lebanon will take their places in Pot 3, while India, debutants Tajikistan, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Indonesia will complete the line-up in Pot 4.
Similar to the expanded 2019 edition in the United Arab Emirates, the 24 teams will be divided into six groups of four teams each across Groups A to F, with the top two and four best third-placed teams advancing into the final 16 of the competition before the Asian champions are crowned on February 10, 2024.
Some of the most iconic names of Asian football are expected to grace the Final Draw as Draw Assistants with the Head Coaches from the 24 teams also poised to be in attendance.
Final Seeding for the AFC Asian Cup 2023 Draw
Pot 1: Qatar (hosts), Japan, Iran, Korea Republic, Australia, Saudi Arabia
Pot 2: Iraq, UAE, Oman, Uzbekistan, China PR, Jordan
Pot 3: Bahrain, Syria, Palestine, Vietnam, Kyrgyz Republic, Lebanon
Pot 4: India, Tajikistan, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia

AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ setup is finalized

Kuala Lumpur: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ have confirmed that the upcoming edition of Asia’s flagship national team competition will be held from January 12 to February 10, 2024.
Asia’s top 24 nations will compete for the most prestigious prize in Asian football and, as part of efforts to engage with more fans than ever before, the 18th edition of the tournament will maximize the advantage of playing the opening game on a Friday and the final on a weekend.
At the same time, the AFC and LOC have also confirmed that the eagerly anticipated showpiece will be staged across eight stadiums, six of which were venues for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, namely: Al Janoub Stadium, Al Bayt Stadium, Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium, Al Thumama Stadium, Education City Stadium, Khalifa International Stadium as well as the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium and Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium.
AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said: “We know that the Local Organising Committee and the Qatar Football Association will stage a true spectacle never before experienced in Asian football history.
“Already, we have witnessed the QFA and the Qatari Authorities organise the best-ever FIFA World Cup in the history of the modern game, and we have every faith that they will showcase their unrivalled hosting capabilities, state-of-the-art infrastructure and warm hospitality well admired throughout the world for the benefit of our teams, players and passionate fans.
“We praise them for their dedication and commitment, and we are delighted to confirm the competition dates and venues, which represents an important milestone in our ambitions to provide the ultimate stage for our teams and players to shine.”
The AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ will be held across 30 days, two more than the 28-day 2019 edition in the United Arab Emirates as part of efforts to enhance the experience for Asia’s passionate fans as well as the stature and commercial value of the competition.
With the excitement expected to peak in the coming months, the official draw ceremony for the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ has also been confirmed to be held at the world-renowned Katara Opera House in Doha on May 11, 2023, at 2 pm (local time), with the official match schedule also expected to be unveiled shortly after the draw.

Iran vs Wales: Match preview

Wales and Iran will both be going in search of their first wins of the 2022 World Cup when they face off at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Friday. After the trouncing by England, Team Melli is looking for a strong comeback to keep their qualifying hope alive. Team Melli will be without their main goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand who has a broken nose and will sit it out for the rest of the tournament. Amir Abedzadeh is making a strong claim for a starting place ahead of Hossein Hosseini who conceded six goals against England.

Iran will have to have a major facelift if they are going to beat Wales, as the lineup against England was the catalyst in this big defeat. Saman Ghoddos was sorely missed in the middle of the field so was Kanani to lead the defense.  As for the Forwards, it is likely that Queiroz, who is an aficionado of parking the bus and under immense public pressure, will start with both Azmoun and Taremi up front. The midfield in particular is in a dire need of a leader and orchestrator. Jahanbakhsh needs to stand up and be counted. Says applies to Nourollahi and Eztollahi.

Rob Page‘s Wales side rescued a point against the USA in their opening fixture, while Iran was on the end of a 6-2 pummelling at the hands of England as their World Cup campaign began in the worst possible fashion.

Hopes will be higher of picking up points against Wales, although both sides may be going into the game uncertain of what to expect with the two having only previously met on one occasion.

That contest came all the way back in April 1978 too, when former Cardiff City defender Phil Dwyer scored the only goal of the game on his debut in a friendly in Tehran’s Arayamehr Stadium.

It was not an ideal warm-up for the 1978 World Cup for Iran, who went on to finish bottom of their group behind Peru, Netherlands and Scotland – against whom they picked up their only point – in Argentina.


Wales wins: 1
Iran wins: 0
Draws: 0
Wales goals: 1
Iran goals: 0


April 18, 1978: Iran 0-1 Wales (International friendly)

Tunisia defeats Iran in a practice unofficial game.

Tunisia defeated Iran 2-0 in Doha in the final preparations games for both teams before the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The first half ended goalless while in the second half, Tunisia was awarded a penalty after Abolfazl Jalali was judged to handle the ball. Naim Al Slaiti scored the spot kick in the 62nd minute. Ali AlAyed scored seven minutes later.

The match saw wholesome substitutions which exceeded the FIFA International matches guidelines

As reported by the Iranian press, evidently in accurately, 22 players took part in the match. It mentions that Beiranvand only played 60 minutes but there was no mention of the substituted goalkeeper in the list.
Players’ jersey numbers and the minutes played are as follows:

1- Alireza Beiranvand 60
2- Mehdi Torabi 45;
3- Hossein Kananizadegan; 45
4- Abolfazl Jalali; 30 (75 minute dismissal)
5- Morteza Pouraliganji; 45
6- Seyed Majid Hosseini; 45
7-Vahid Amiri; 45
9- Karim Ansarifard; 45
10- Mehdi Tarimi; 45
11- Alireza Jahanbakhsh; 45
13- Rozbeh Cheshmi; 45
14- Ahmad Noorolahi; 45
15- Ehsan Haj Safi; 45
16- Ali Gholizadeh; 45
17- Sadegh Moharrami; 45
18- Saman Ghoddos; 45
19- Saeed Ezzatollahi; 45
20- Milad Mohammadi; 45
21- Ali Karimi; 45
23- Shoja Khalilzadeh; 45
25- Ramin Rezaian; 45
30- Seyed Hossein Hosseini; 30

Tunisia Starting Lineup

Ayman Dahman, Muntasir al-Talibi, Nader al-Ghandari, Yassin Miriah, Muhammad Darajer, Ali al-Abedi, Elias al-Sakhiri, Issa al-Aydouni, Hannibal al-Majbri, Youssef al-Masakni and Wahbi al-Khazri.

However, the Tunisian coach changed the whole team in the second half.

Unsold tickets send to Iran creates a mini controversy!

A number of unsold quota tickets for Qatar residents have been donated to Iran.

Those gifted unsold tickets have created quite a bit of argument and debate among the Iranians. The Deputy Minister of Sports emphasizes that 90% of these tickets have been given to sports historians and non-football athletes. According to ISNA, filling the World Cup stadiums in the small country of Qatar is one of the challenges of the organizing committee in is period of the World Cup, and that is, in some matches, the residents of the host country may not be interested in buying tickets for that game. In this regard, Qatar recently donated a number of tickets from the quota of its residents in the group stage of the World Cup to Iran.

The tickets, according to some comments, have raised suspicions that it might end up sending Iranian Islamic clerics to Qatar to do cultural  (missionary) work, a matter that the cultural deputy minister of sports denies. In an interview with ISNA, Sina Kalhor, the vice-president of culture and public sports of the Ministry of Sports and Youth, said: “Regarding the tickets donation package from the Qatari side, several points should be taken into consideration. First of all, these tickets are for the residents of Qatar and they were given to Iran because those tickets were unsold locally. The exact number of these tickets is 1800.”

He continued: “Unlike the tickets that the football federation has, these tickets cannot be sold in the market and are mainly for the third row of sports stadiums. However, there is a possibility that the Qatari side will declare all these 1,800 tickets invalid at the last moment. Emphasizing that there is only one cleric among the names announced for these tickets to the Qatari side,” Kalhor added: “There is a cleric on the list sent to the Qatari side, and that is the Director General of Culture of the Ministry of Sports and Youth. Almost 90% of these tickets have been distributed among football historians, journalists, and non-football athletes. Another 10 percent has been provided to the Ministry of Cultural & Heritage and the Ministry of Guidance for cultural activities. The Deputy Minister of Sports and Youth continued: “The management of seminaries have also announced in an official letter that they will not send any clerics to Qatar and have no plans for the World Cup in Qatar.”

The Football mafia is at it again!

Team Melli lost to Algeria 2-1 in a friendly match in Doha, and that triggered the Iranian football mafia into action. It was like the ideal result for them to call for the head of the current head coach and calls for the former one to return at the helm of Team Melli.

Commenting on such scenario, Bijan ZolfagharNasab the former player and coach of the Iranian national football team who is currently an Advisor to the Minister of Youth and Sports, in reference to Dragan Skocic status, said: “He is the best option now and the atmosphere should not be made more polluted than what is now.”

Team Melli training camp was attended by the Iranian Minister of youth Sports Hamid Sajjadi who held private meetings with senior players such as Omid Ebrahimi, Ehsan HajSafi, Mehdi Taremi, Sardar Azmoun, Alireza Biranvand, and Alireza Jahanbakhsh the night before the match. A meeting in which the players complained about the process of preparing the team for a respectable representation of the country in the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

After the 2-1 loss, a result that would not be so critical to any national team in a friendly match, rumors were circulating about the possibility of a change in the coaching staff and the departure of Dragan Skocic less than five months before the start of the first game against England, with the typical name of Carlos Queiroz mentioned in addition to Javad Nekounam as possible replacements.

These rumors intended with malice were accompanied by an official reaction from the Ministry of Sports and Youth regarding interference in technical issues and the selection of the head coach of the Iranian national football team. Mohsen Motamedkia, head of public relations at the Ministry of Sports, said: “The absolute position of the Ministry of Sports and Youth has been to support the decisions made by the Football Federation (FFIRI) from the very beginning, and this position still stands.”

“The Ministry of Sports and Youth has no input in technical matters and only acts as a supporter and a patron behind all sports federations, including the football federation.”

Referring to some rumors, citing yesterday’s meeting of six national team players with Hamid Sajjadi, he noted:” The Minister knows and is aware of sports etiquette well and is fully acquainted with the position of the technical staff, and this meeting was requested by the supervisor and The technical staff of the national team was held and they listened to the concerns of these players for nearly two hours on behalf of the other players and in the presence of the team leader and member of the board of directors of the federation. “

In an interview with Mehr, Bijan ZolfagharNasab commented on criticism of Dragan Skocic: “I think we have witnessed one of the sloppiest games of the Iranian national team in the last decade. We ran after the ball without a purpose and had no strategy to win.” The Adviser to the Minister of Sports then commented on whether it is necessary to change the coaching staff of Team Melli before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar: “I do not consider it appropriate to change the current situation. I think we have little chance until the World Cup games. Any change can be to our detriment. Dragan Skocic has done very well and should not be judged by a technical error in a friendly preparation match. “

Zulfiqar Nasab clarified the rumors of the return of Carlos Queiroz: “Mr. Queiroz worked hard for national football, but if he was going to do something worthwhile, he would have done it in the eight years. he was at the helm.  I do not know what changes are going to happen to Team Melli with his presence, which is not possible now. Taking command of the national team at this stage does not cure any pain. We came to a conclusion with him anyway,”

About Skocic, ZolfagharNasab “He kept his faith in these same players. Skocic is the best option at the moment”

As for lack of forward planning and poor management in the Football Federation particularly in arranging friendly international matches for Team Melli: “Unfortunately, there is no sign of planning.  The national team needs preparation for games with teams like England and Wales that have a high physical form. “The former coach of the Iranian national team noted: “We have a very difficult job with the current conditions to qualify out of the group. We can not stand to be counted against the best in the world by relying on the individual ability of the players. This team’s success is a long and complicated process. It needs a chain from the management of the federation all the way to the team players.