Tag: England

Iran U17 aims to shine at top level.

The young Iranians are looking to shock the football world in Group C of FIFA U-17 World Cup Indonesia 2023™.

In this edition, Iran U-17 will meet to giants of the football worlds Brazil and England in addition to “New Caledonia”. Despite the presence of two football superpowers, Iranian teenagers hope to advance to the next round of this tournament. There is a good chance that out of the 6 groups of this championship four best third teams, will advance to the next round.

Brazil in 2019 and England in 2017 are the two recent champions of this competition. This is Iran’s fifth participation in the U17 World Cup. Iran’s last appearance in this tournament was in 2017 and it managed to advance to the quarter-final stage. In that tournament, Iran was grouped with Germany, Guinea, and Costa Rica and managed to advance to the next stage as the top team with 9 points. In the next stage, Iran U17 defeated the Mexicans 2-1 while in the quarter-final stage, it lost to the strong Spanish team 3-1, which included “Fran Torres”. Players like Allahyar Sayyadmanesh, Mohammad Sharifi, Younes Delfi, Taha Shariati, and Mohammad Reza Ghobishavi were among the Iranian players in that tournament.

In 2013, Iran was in the same group as Argentina, Canada, and Austria and managed to advance to the next round with five points after Argentina as the second team. In the next stage, it lost to Nigeria with a score of 4-1 and was eliminated from the tournament.

In 2011, Iran was in the same group as Colombia, Netherlands, and Gambia and advanced to the next stage with 7 points as the first team, where it lost 2-1 against Uruguay. Kaveh Rezaei and Milad Gharibi were among the Iranian players in that year.

2001 was Iran’s weakest participation in these competitions. Where they were eliminated from the tournament with three defeats in the same group as Costa Rica, Mali, and Paraguay. Now that we have reached the beginning of the 2023 U17 World Cup, Hossein Abdi’s students hope to repeat the brilliance of the junior team in 2019 and, in addition to advancing from the group stage, they can appear brilliant in the next round as well. However, we should not ignore the presence of the two world football superpowers, Brazil and England.

The FIFA U-17 World Cup™ kicks off in Indonesia on Friday 10 November – and the tournament is being streamed live on FIFA+!

Luis Figo, Ronaldinho, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Neymar, and Victor Osmihen are among the stars who have graced the competition, with this year’s edition again set to showcase some of the game’s most exciting emerging talents.

Iran’s U-17 fixtures

Sat 11-Nov-2023
BRAZILIRANJakarta International stadium
Tue 14-Nov-2023
ENGLANDIRANJakarta International stadium
Fri 17-Nov-2023IRANNEW CALEDONIASi Jalak Harupat stadium, Bandung


vs Brazil

The dream is over.

Team Melli narrowly lost to USA 1-0 in the last game of Group B of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. With that loss, Iran is eliminated from the World Cup as it sits third in the group the same position as the last World Cup but with a point less. USA qualified for Round of 16.

It was the inevitable result and one that is fair comparing the circumstances and form of the two teams. Added to the sporting factors, the external pressure on the Iranian players when the country is under mass protests, citizens losing their lives and limbs, or being incarcerated in mass on daily basis, was perhaps too much to bear.

The oldest team in the tournament, with one of the oldest coaches who only took the job two months before the start of the FIFA World Cup, did not sound much of a hopeful team. Add to that formula, a ridiculously poor preparation, lack of new blood in the squad, and a host of other factors all suggested that Team Melli stood very little chance of qualifying. There was a lot of wishful thinking and much hope for a miracle, but it was not to be as the best two teams in this group qualified on merit. Team Melli and the badly run federations (FFIRI) must go back to the drawing board, however, fans should not hold their breath for vast improvements. The next big assignment is in fact not too far away, again in Doha. The AFC Asian Cup 2023 in June 2023.

In the match against the USA, it was quite clear that the Americans are the much more organized side, with clean and accurate passing, good pace in transition, sensible defending, and sharp offensive moves. They were the more dangerous side. Iranian players on the other hand were found wanting. Lethargic, unable to play even a short series of passes, lack of understanding between the players, confusion and lack of coordination marred the performance of the team. Mehdi Taremi had another bad day up front, the midfield was lost, and all the pre-match analysis about the shortfalls of Team Melli was proven to be true in this match.

The Team came alive late in the match with the introduction of Saman Ghoddos, Abolfazl Jalali, and Mehdi Torabi, but it was too little too late.

Queiroz’s outdated game plans and tactics were easily counteracted by the American coach Gregg Berhalter who outclassed his opposite coach in all departments. Team Melli had 1 shot on target against 5 for the USA. Pulisic proved to be the winner as the defenders had no real solution to contain him.

The same team lineup played exceptionally well against Wales and won deservedly, but four days later it was the same players and the same game plan, however, the opposition was much smarter, stronger, and better organized. There was nothing to cheer about in this match for Team Melli despite the admirable effort by the Iranian fans to cheer Team Melli on. The fans were great, not so was the team.

In the other match played at the same time, England easily defeated Wales 3-0 to confirm its leadership a the top of the table and qualify for round of 16 to meet the African Champions Senegal. For the US Team, it is a difficult encounter against the Netherlands nest.

Iran and Wales are out,

A knockout like match between IRAN and USA.

Team Melli is still brimming with joy following the dramatic victory over Wales. It was a well-deserved win for Iran, especially after the embarrassing 6-2 hammering by England. It was also timely and Team Melli boys should be full of confidence going into Tuesday’s match against the US team in a politically charged World Cup match.

As for the Americans, there is no other choice except to win, or else they would be on the first flight home. It is claimed that this group of U.S. players is considered the best generation of American soccer. But they finished third behind Canada and Mexico in World Cup qualifying and now face a must-win final group-stage match. Their game against England showed the quality of the Americans. They were brave and logical in the game plan.  The US team rattled the post from a thunderous shot by Pulisic. They were also the better team against Wales and could have put the game to bed by the first half. In the second half, Wales took control and managed to equalize through a late penalty. The American players themselves, know the difficulty of the task ahead as their star player Weston McKennie  said: “The most important thing is that we control the outcome of our journey in this tournament with the last game against Iran, So the next thing is just to go out and get three points against Iran.”

“We got to win the game,” midfielder Gio Reyna said. “We’re not really thinking about anything else, just three points and then we’re through.”

In their last and only meeting in the FIFA World Cup, Iran famously beat the U.S. 2-1 in a 1998 World Cup match in Lyon, France which eliminated the Americans and caused thousands of flag-waving fans to pour into the streets of major Iranian cities in celebration. That was perhaps the greatest post-revolution victory for Iran’s football. In the leadup to the rematch on Tuesday, the U.S. Soccer Federation angered Iran’s government by briefly displaying Iran’s flag on social media without the emblem of the Islamic Republic. Calls by the Iranian side including Queiroz to kick US from the tournament was nothing was “A Storm In A Teacup” meant to politicize the match.

“I just hope we don’t leave it to the 90th-whatever minute,” said Stu Holden, a midfielder on the bench that night and now a Fox commentator. “It would be pretty cool to call a last-second U.S. winner, but selfishly I’m quite OK with us just getting that done early and moving on to the round of 16 because that would be a lot better for my blood pressure.”

As for Team Melli’s readiness, it seems that both Alirezas will be absent. Beiranvand is still unfit after the broken nose in the opener against England, while Jahanbakhsh got himself booked again against wales hence he will serve a one-match ban.

The expectation is that Queiroz will stick to the same game plan that was used against Wales. Why change a winning team?
However, the match against the USA will be much more difficult than the last one as the Americans have to win and that will mean constant pressure and a barrage of attacks. This might be a good thing for Team Melli if the defense does its job and will possibly leave the back line of the US team a bit light. Unfortunately, Team Melli has proven to be slow in transition and counterattack up front. Taremi in particular lacks pace, and the way Queiroz insisted to send the balls directly behind the Welsh defense for Taremi, simply did not work.  Goals have been a struggle for a U.S. team, which got just three from forwards in 14 World Cup qualifiers. Team Melli is much better off keeping the ball and penetrating on the wings and through the middle. With some players who can shoot, it is also a good option too.

Nothing significant has changed on the field of play for Team Melli. Beiranvand’s absence should not be felt as Hosseini or Abedzadeh are well capable of guarding the goal, while Jahanbakhsh’s absence is not a great loss as he has been struggling in this World Cup.

The absence of a schemer in the middle of the field has forced Queiroz to use route one football. It is not pretty and most of it ends up as lost possession allowing the opposition to mount counterattacks. The is still a card in Saman Ghoddos who can be an asset in the midfield and well capable of feeding Azmoun and Taremi. Whether Queiroz has enough trust in the Brentford midfielder is not known.

What are the possibilities for Team Melli qualification?

On Day Two of the Group stages in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Team Melli valiantly defeated Wales 2-0 to earn a precious and vital victory after a bitter opening-day defeat to England. The goalless draw in the other group match between USA and England gave Iran some breathing space and a very good chance to qualify from the group for the first time in its history.

In this edition of the FIFA World Cup that has turned into a political battlefield, the two nations that have received a barrage of criticism and attack are the host nation Qatar and Iran. The reasons are all politically and at times racially motivated. Iran’s Team Melli is perhaps the worst affected of the two side nations and has been the subject of much criticism, anti-team slogans, accusations of representing a tyrannical regime, and promoting the oppressors of the people.  On the other hand, there are groups who support Team Melli without indulging in politics. p

The fact is that Team Melli players are in a predicament and have emotional stress. They are between a rock and a hard place. Those who accuse them of being government agents just because they wear the Jersey of a country that is totally controlled, physically and spiritually by radical and religious clans., alas ignore the duty of any athlete and or footballer to represent the country to the best of his ability to bring joy and pride to the people. Granted, the politicians and the opperssors will manipulate these victories and credit themselves for it.

Victory for Team Melli will be celebrated by the regime and forms the biggest propaganda. But the real winners will be the people of Iran.

The players, or some of them at least, dedicate the victory of Team Melli to the oppressed people of Iran and remind us all that they are playing for the people of the country.

so, with that in mind, Team Melli is looking forward to the vital, knock-out-like match against the USA. The ultimate, political and sporting match.

At this time all four teams in this group have a chance to advance. to the next Knockout round (Round 16). In the meantime, the undoubted qualification solution would be for Team Melli to defeat the Americans on Tuesday. which is easier said than done as it would be a difficult task. However, a draw could also suffice depending on the other result between Wales and England.

Iran’s win will give it 6 points, and regardless of the other result, it is assured of qualification.

A loss will be the end of the road for Team Melli and with it the end of the dream. The USA will have 5 points and will qualify.  England already has 4 and even if it loses against Wales , it will be a case of head-to-head and goal difference.

How will Iran become the leader?


Iran vs USA – Win for Iran
England vs Wales – Draw 

If Team Melli can defeat the USA and the match between England and Wales ends in a draw, Iran will have 6 points and will qualify as top of the group. England will qualify as well as the second stage with 5 points.

Iran vs USA – Draw
England vs Wales – Draw 

Team Melli’s draw against the USA and England’s draws against Wales means Iran will end up with 4 points, while England will have 5. Both Teams qualify with England as the group leader

Iran vs USA – Draw
England vs Wales – Wales win

Team Melli’s draw against the USA  and Wales beating England means three teams on four points. The USA is eliminated with 3 points. With head-to-head, disciplinary records, and goals difference, Iran stands to lose out and Wales and England qualify.

So, it is clear that Team Melli has to go for a win against the USA. That requires Queiroz to change his mindset and be brave enough to attack and abandon his park-the-bus mentality. Something similar to the game plan against Wales will most probably be enough to defeat the Americans who have several vulnerabilities.

Team Melli vs England: Players and Coach ratings

Team Melli’s Team Rating in the match against England ended a 6-2 for Iran

Man of the Match for Iran: MEHDI TAREMI

Iran (5-4-1)

Ali Beiranvand (GK) Ludicrous that he was allowed to continue after a nasty head injury. Eventually carried out on a stretcher after 19 minutes.  He was confident while on the pitch and had no real threat to deal with. 6

Sadegh Moharrami (RB) was Overwhelmed by England’s raids down his flank. He could not contain Shaw. Not one of his good days. 5

Morteza Pouraliganji (CB) Formerly a defensive midfielder, the converted center-back was turned by Kane for England’s third. He partnered Hosseini and the duo just fell apart. Booked. 4

Roozbeh Cheshmi (CB) was One of the most unexpected names on the sheet when the starting lineups were announced. Away from Team Melli for a long time only recently recalled by Queiroz. Poor showing and lack of agility were evident. Overpowered by Maguire when the defender nodded down for Saka to score. Substituted at half-time. 3.5

Majid Hosseini (CB) was Not the most confident of defenders and his partnership with Pouraliganji proved to be fateful. He was beaten in the air when Bellingham scored the opener. He struggled with England’s attack. 3.5

Milad Mohammadi (LB) Had the unenviable task of trying to keep up with Saka. The youngster tormented him. He did however manage a few runs on the wing but to no avail. 4

Alireza Jahanbakhsh (RW)  One performance to forget from a player that has done so well in the qualifiers. His time warming the bench with his club was telling as he seemed to be out of match practice. He squandered a glorious chance to score but instead ballooned the ball while no English defender was close to him. Booked and replaced at half-time. 4

Ali Karimi (CM) He was utterly lost and out of place in this Team Melli lineup. Karimi was overwhelmed by England’s midfield trio and could not match their skills.  3

Ahmad Noorollahi (CM)  Another player who was simply overwhelmed by the English midfield players. No support at all for4 Taremi . Really struggled while on the pitch as he saw little of the ball. 3.5

Ehsan Haji Safi (LW) The captain spent much of his time tracking back to mark Saka. It made little difference. 5

Mehdi Taremi (CF) With Carlos Queiroz’s game plan, Taremi was isolated and hardly received any service, but he scored a marvelous goal beating both Maguire and Stones to shoot past hapless Pickford. Iran’s best player scored both goals despite the lack of service.  8


Hossein Hosseini (for Beiranvand, 19) was an early goalkeeper replacement and could not be faulted for any of the goals. 5;

Ali Gholizadeh (for Jahanbakhsh, h-t) Managed a mini-revival when he was introduced. Played a clever pass for Taremi’s first goal. 6.5;

Hossein Kanaani (for Cheshmi, h-t) A player who should have started the game, but the coach thought otherwise. In the circumstances, he did well in the second half. 6;

Saeid Ezatolahi (for Karimi, h-t) His contribution was minimal as like his other midfield teammates he looked disorientated and out of place 4.5;

Mehdi Torabi: (for Milad Mohammadi 63′) Made little impact in the minutes he was on the pitch 4.5;

 Sardar Azmoun (for Noorollahi, 77) Despite the long-time injury, he was mobile and dynamic for the minutes he played. Could have very well scored but for Pickford’s brilliant save 6.5



Carlos Queiroz: His players’ selection and insistence on parking the bus tactics ended in a disaster this time. The substitutions he made in the second half did improve the team somehow, but it was too little too late. Not a coach who admits his faults or mistakes in public, but deep down he is experienced and senior enough to know that he really made some bad choices against England. 4

‘Really good player’: Rio Ferdinand raves about ‘ridiculous’ striker Arsenal reportedly want to sign

Rio Ferdinand has raved about FC Porto striker Mehdi Taremi on BBC today – a striker Arsenal reportedly wants to sign.

According to CBS Sport, Arsenal could’ve signed Taremi back in January as the striker was offered to the Gunners on a loan deal. Mikel Arteta looked to be in desperate need of attacking reinforcements at the start of this year, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out of favor before he made the switch to Barcelona. Arteta’s men were left with just Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah for the second half of the campaign.

But A Bola – via Sport Witness – claimed last month that Arsenal are still one of the clubs that could be chasing Taremi’s signature in January. The 30-year-old bagged two goals against England today though as his national side Iran were thrashed 6-2 in their opener at the World Cup. And before the game, Ferdinand was full of praise for the Porto man

Ferdinand raves about Taremi

“This guy knows how to score goals. He’s a bit of a hybrid between a nine and a ten,” Ferdinand told BBC Sport.  “He’s happy to come short or run through. He’s a really good player. This is what I mean if they get on the counter and in transition and chances do fall to this guy, we will have to be worried.”

Ferdinand wasn’t wrong in his assessment of the ‘ridiculous’ Taremi and he looked a real bright spark for Iran. Taremi has bagged 13 goals for Porto this season and opened his World Cup account against Southgate’s men earlier today.

The Gunners probably could have done with a player like Taremi during the second half of last season. They missed out on Champions League qualification to their bitter rivals Spurs and lacked real firepower up-front towards the end of the season. But Arsenal fans probably won’t be losing too much sleep over it, especially now they have Gabriel Jesus leading the line at the Emirates.

The Iran striker could still represent a good option for the Gunners though and would provide quality backup for Jesus in north London.

Queiroz’s Master Disaster show!

The writing was on the wall when against England, Carlos Queiroz, always a pig-headed coach, decided that he will have his own formidable defense instead of the one that was excellently built by his predecessor and trusted by Dragan Skocic. Majid Hosseini and Morteza Pouralganji were deemed to be more capable central defenders than the duo of Hossein Kananizadegan and Shojaá Khalilzadeh who served Team Melli superbly and played in almost all the FIFA World Cup qualifiers until Queiroz turned up to turn the table upside down!!

A 6-2 humiliation!

For anyone who is even remotely familiar with Team Melli and its long road to qualification, the combination of Hosseini/Pouralganji was not tested nor has been proven. To add to Team Melli’s woes, out of nowhere really, Ali Karimi and Rozbeh Cheshmi suddenly are the starting lineup players in midfield! Granted that Team Melli’s Midfield is most probably the weakest link, lacking leadership, flair, and physical strength, however, the Karimi/Cheshmi was not the solution as Mr. Queiroz found out very soon after kick-off.  The World Cup is not a place for trials. Since when Karimi/Cheshmi starred for team Melli, I suspect behind the closed door against Tunisia. The coach has the full right to try combinations of his choice, but not in the World Cup. This is not a place for trials. The team lacked meaningful preparation matches and its effects showed against England.  Mistakes like that are costly and unrecoverable most of the time.

This Queiroz horror show was reminiscent of the match in Al Ain when Team Melli collapsed against Japan in the semi-final of the AFC Asian Cup 2019.

But then again, what did the fans expect from the team? All the odds were stacked against Team Melli on and off the field. Changing the coach, a couple of months before the World Cup was a risk, a very big risk. The team was stable, qualified quite easily to the finals, and seemed to be on track to have a successful world cup. But someone had to rock the boat, and that person was Mehdi Taj, a dubious character who left the federation in taters resigning his post while under suspicion of wrongdoing in the Belgian Marc Wilmots contract. The appointment of Wilmots was a disaster, on and off the field. He was a failure on the field as he led Iran to the brink of elimination from the FIFA World Cup qualifiers in the first step. Off the field, it was even worst as his appointment was a financial disaster orchestrated by Mehdi taj.

Taj resigned his post as chief of FFIRI while Team Melli was about to be eliminated, claiming ill health, while this ill health did not prevent him from serving as Vice President of the AFC! And by the mercy of God and the hands of the Mullahs, he turns up again a few months before the World Cup!

Facing one of the strongest teams in the world, in the toughest and highest competitions such as the FIFA World Cup requires management, planning, and intelligence none of which is available in the Iranian football echelon now.  Those who know how to run and manage must be loyalists to the regime, or else their know-how and skill are deposited in the trash bin.

While the FFIRI holds the major responsibility for this embarrassment cum disaster of a show, Queiroz bears the ultimate responsibility. He has the audacity to praise his team, while the statistics and actual performance shows the superiority of the English against his own team and ultimately, the difference between men and boys. Queiroz’s mistakes, poor judgment, and poor selection were indeed an embarrassment of the ultimate kind.

At the end of the day, this government-controlled football federation has paid the price for its chaotic policies, mistaken priorities, and lack of management skills. The damage has been done against England and with it a pride of a nation that always revered its national football team.

As for the players, we all hope that they recover and leave that heavy defeat against England aside. Good results against Wales and USA are still possible if Queiroz regains his sanity. For the sake of the players, who are under immense psychological pressure due to the events in Iran and the widespread killings, Team Melli still requires the support of the fans.

Mehdi Taremi needs a special mention here. His wondergoal remains the only point of pride in this forgettable match.

Team Melli stage silent protest

5 hours ago

While the people of Iran protest back home, the national team sent a powerful message of their own from Qatar. Iran coach Carlos Queiroz conceded his players are “affected by the issue” after a 6-2 defeat by England.

Football is the last thing on most people’s minds in Iran at the moment, but the country’s men’s team used the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to launch a powerful protest.

While the national anthem played ahead of their game against England, the team stood silently, refusing to sing. Their decision was met with raucous cheers from the Iran fans, who tried to drown out the anthem with boos for the music and cheers of support for the players. Some applauded with tears in their eyes.

“Everybody knows the circumstances, the environment of my players is not ideal in terms of commitment and concentration, and they are affected by the issue,” a clearly emotional Carlos Queiroz, head of the Iranian team, said afterward. “They are human beings, they are kids.”

“You don’t even know behind the scenes what these kids have been living in the last few days, just because they want to play football,” Queiroz continued.

Before the game, Iran captain Ehsan Hajsafi expressed his condolences to all the bereaved families in Iran, saying: “They should know that we are with them, we support them and we sympathize with them.”

More than a match

Thousands of Iran fans were at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha and although Iran lost 6-2, it was clear long before kick-off this was much more than another game of international football.

Some fans cheered on their way out of the metro. Some wore t-shirts with the words: “women, life, freedom” written on them. During halftime, an Iranian flag with the same three words was held aloft.

Another fan wore a t-shirt with the message: “75 million. We want change, but not a change that will lead to the destruction of Iran.” One girl, stood with her family, took photos of their tickets and laughed, such was her happiness at having the chance to watch their team play at the World Cup.

Indeed, for many fans attending the game, this was an emotional moment.

“The Iranian regime kills us. I’m here because they killed our children,” Rosita told DW.

“I am here just for Iran, for my country, not the Iranian regime. We hate the Iranian regime. We like Ali Karimi, Ali Daei, we like all people who support Iranian people, not those who don’t support Iranian people.”

“Woman Life Freedom” — the message from Iranian fans at the Khalifa International StadiumImage: Mike Egerton/PA/IMAGO

‘We are Iranian’

For Fatima, this was a moment of joy and pain.

“I’m so happy but the people in my country are so unhappy. It’s the first time I have experienced the World Cup, and I am very happy to be here. In Iran, women are not allowed to go to the stadium,” Fatima said. “This is the first time my brother and I go to the stadium.”

In August this year, for the first time in over four decades, Iranian authorities allowed female football fans to attend a men’s league match.

“All Iranian people I think have their hearts with the people in Iran. We are Iranian, all of us,” Behman said before the game.

Some fans didn’t want to talk or wanted the conversation to be about football.

“We are gathering here as football fans to enjoy the game and not to talk about what’s happening in Iran,” said Abdallah.

Iran's players stand together, united in not signing the country's national anthem
Iran’s players stood together, united in not signing the country’s national anthem images: Han Yan/Xinhua/IMAGO

Months of unrest

Ever since the death of 22-year-old Jina Mahsa Amini in September, protests against the government across the country have spread. At Amini’s funeral, the words “women, life, freedom” were first sung. They became a rallying cry across Iran as civil unrest unfolded. Hundreds of protesters are reported to have been killed and thousands more detained.

Before the World Cup began, Iran’s record goal scorer and former Bayern Munich striker Ali Daei refused an invitation to attend the tournament in a show of solidarity with Iranian protesters. During the Iran game, there were chants of support for Daei and Karimi.

In September, star player and Bayer Leverkusen forward Sardar Azmoun posted on Instagram saying: “My heart breaks for Mahsa Amini… I will always support you…  I hope that one day your place in this country will be justified and I hope that the women of my country will never suffer the same.”

Many thought he might not even make the World Cup squad when, after having blacked out his Instagram profile picture in support of the protests, Azmoun posted more support on Instagram stories, saying: “That is worth sacrificing for one strand of Iranian women’s hair. Shame on you who kill people so easily. Long live Iranian women.”

But Azmoun is there in Qatar and although he didn’t start against England he did come off the bench. When he took to the field, he was met with a huge cheer from the crowd — the same was not true for Mehdi Torabi when he came on.

From the protest during the anthem to the visible emotion in the stands and Queiroz’s words late on, this was a historic day for Iranian football. Two goals were cheered late on, but for many here it was clear the desired victory lies beyond the football fields of Qatar.

Iran uprising seen through the eyes of Iranian women

A humulation for Team Melli

Team Melli suffered it heaviest defeat in World Cup history after a 6-2 drubbing by title contenders England.

Jude Bellingham started the rout in the 35th minute, Arsenal star Bokayo Saka made it 2-0 on the 43rd, and Raheem Sterling scored the third in the 45th First half ended 3-0

In the second, Bokayo Saka was on the scoresheet again on the 62nd  to make it 4-0 before Mehdi Tarremi scored from a tremendous shot on the 65th. Substitute Marcus Rashford scored 49 seconds after he was on the field on 71st,  Jack Grealish (90) ended the scoring for England 6-1. Sardar Azmoun who was substituted managed to run past his English marker to face Jordan Pickford on one to one situation. The Everton and England keeper managed to save Azmoun’s shoot. and finally, the VAR review awarded a penalty for Iran where Taremi slotted nicely for his second goal of the evening. The match ended 6-2 for England.

The 45,000 fans in the 60,000-seat Khalifa Stadium in Doha, witnessed a superior display by Southgate players while Iran under Queiroz not only suffered its heaviest defeat but displayed poor control, lack of stamina, bad passing, and total collapse of the defensive strategy that Queiroz prides himself in.

Earlier in the half, a collision between Alireza Beiranvand and Majid Hosseini result in a bad injury to the Iranian goalkeeper. This resulted in a 14 minutes pause while Beiranvand was being treated . Finally, when Beiranvand treatment was over, and while still clearly dazed, he opted to continue playing without any objection from the medical team or the coaching staff, who must have feared losing their number one goalkeeper in detriment to his health. Alireza vividly in a concussion status could not stay focused for longer than a few minutes after the match restarted before he collapsed to the ground. A stretcher took him out while Hossein Hosseini replaced him.

This embarrassing, yet unexpected result was a culmination of many failures and shortfalls in the team. It started with the selection of a coach whose archaic strategy and game plans have proven to be a failure not just in Iran but Colombia and Egypt before it. In fairness, Queiroz was not given proper time for preparation for the greatest of championships like the World Cup, yet for whatever reason, he accepted the job offer despite its risk thinking he knows enough about the team he left three years ago. And the result was a disaster against a quality team in England. The old age team was clearly suffering in physical attributes against the much younger English team, Little preparation compared to other World Cup teams was also in evidence in the misplaced passes. Lack of confidence, concentration, and political turmoil back home were also factors in this heavy defeat.

Iran Line UP

Alireza Biranvand (19′ Seyed Hossein Hosseini), Sadegh Mohrrami, Majid Hosseini, Rozbe Cheshmi (46′ Mohammad Hossein Kanaani Zadegan), Morteza Pouraliganji, Majid Hosseini, Ehsan Haji Safi, Milad Mohammadi (63′ Mehdi Tarabi) ), Ahmad Nooralhi (77′ Sardar Azmoun), Ali Karimi (46′ Saeed Ezzatollahi), Alireza Jahanbakhsh (46′ Ali Gholizadeh) and Mehdi Taremi.

old agers

Iran’s Ehsan Hajsafi: ‘The conditions in our country are not right’

The Guardian
Monday 21 November 2022

In a significant, politically freighted intervention, Iran’s captain Ehsan Hajsafi has said he would be happy for his team to serve as a force for change in a country where protests against the regime in Tehran continue to escalate.

As Iran’s government faces its most critical moment since the Islamic revolution in 1979, Hajsafi, a left-back at AEK Athens, on Sunday night addressed a press conference before his team’s opening World Cup group game against England in Doha on Monday.

“We have to accept the conditions in our country are not right and our people are not happy,” he said. “We are here but it does not mean we should not be their voice or we must not respect them. “Whatever we have is from them. We have to fight. We have to perform and score some goals to present the brave people of Iran with a result. I hope conditions change as to the expectations of the people.”

A popular uprising has been gaining momentum since September after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22‑year‑old detained by the country’s morality police for allegedly not covering her head properly.

Since then protests against the rules forcing women to wear the hijab have expanded into widespread discontent with the country’s strict theocracy, with more than 380 people said to have been killed by security forces.

As a byproduct, Carlos Queiroz’s team has been placed in the unenviable position of being required to represent the Islamic republic while being under intense pressure to support millions of protesting compatriots. “The situation in Iran is very difficult,” said Hajsafi, who is aware human rights groups have called for Iran’s expulsion from the World Cup.

Tellingly, before taking questions he opened by offering support for those who had lost loved ones during the recent turmoil. “I would like to express my condolences to all the bereaved families,” he said. “They should know we are with them, we support them and we sympathize with them.”

A key moment will arrive shortly before kick-off when members of a squad thought to be still slightly divided as to how to respond must take individual decisions as to whether to sing a national anthem, all about glorifying the 1979 revolution.

It all dictated that, at the end of a day in which light winds whipped through Doha, creating piles of dust at almost every turn, Queiroz found himself at the eye of a diplomatic sandstorm he opted to ignore on Sunday.

Iran’s Portuguese coach, and former assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, preferred to concentrate on a different type of whirlwind. “England have a storm of talent,” the 69-year-old said as he smothered Gareth Southgate with flattery. “England are one of the top teams in the world. They are a contender to be the world champion. They have fantastic, strong talent and a great coach.”

It will be the first time Queiroz has faced England and he claimed not to have sought any advice from Ferguson. “I did not receive any help from Scotland,” he said. “Of course, we talk frequently as friends. But you can relax!”

He then launched into an ode to English players, claiming they were superior to the team of recent predecessors dominated by David Beckham, Rio Ferdinand, and Paul Scholes. “This new generation of players Southgate is bringing for the national team in my opinion is probably the most competitive English team since 1966 that I have the opportunity to see – and I remember that team very well. But this team is very functional, very practical, very realistic.

“I worked with the generation of Rio, of Paul Scholes. Fantastic players, David Beckham and all those guys. But this national team is really different. They make a realistic approach to every single game which makes them very, very dangerous.”

Although Queiroz said Iran believed they could reach the knockout stage he confessed Monday would contain a surreal quality. “For many of our players to play against England is like magic, it’s a gift,” he said. “Since watching football as kids, it’s been a lifelong dream for my players to play in this game. We will enjoy it.”