Tag: FIFA World Cup 1978

Team Melli is to play Bulgaria in a friendly international.

For the upcoming FIFA Day, the FFIRI has agreed terms with its Bulgarian counterpart to arrange a friendly game between Iran and Bulgaria in Sofia.

According to Mehdi Mohammad Nabi. the secretary general of the FFIRI who is also the Team Melli manager, the game will be held in Bulgaria and the federation is actively seeking another opponent in that period in order for Team Melli to fully benefit from FIFA Day international break.

Bulgaria is ranked 71 in the FIFA World ranking while Iran is second in Asia and 22nd in the world, 49 rank ahead of its rival.

The two teams met once in Tehran as part of Team Melli’s preparation for its first FIFA World Cup appearance in Argentine. That match ended in a 1-1 draw in front of 65,000 fans with Ali Parvin equalizing through a spot kick after Bulgaria took the lead in the first half.


Nasser HEJAZI : Hasan NAYEBAGHA (46′ Behtash FARIBA), Andranik ESKANDARIAN, Hassan NAZARI,
Mohammadreza ADELKHANI (75′ Iraj DANAEIFARD); Hassan ROWSHAN (56′ Hossein FARAKI),Ghafour JAHANI

From that team, Mohammad Reza Adelkhani failed to make the squad to Argentina after suffering an injury at home.

Hossein Faraki seems to be the lead candidate for Team Melli job.

With the withdrawal of Amir Ghalenoei and Mehdi Tarter, the exclusion of Yahya Golmohammadi from the initial list, and the outright rejection of the offer to coach Team Melli by Ali Daei, Hossein Faraki seems to be the leading candidate for the job.

Notwithstanding the two other candidates (Majidi & Nekounam) both of whom have discipline and stability issues in addition to lack of proper international experience required for the job, Faraki seems to tick all the boxes of FFIRI and most importantly to the authorities, being politically acceptable and loyal.

 In an interview with ISNA, Hossein Faraki acknowledged that his name was amongst several for the post of Team Melli head coach and said ” I was offered the chance for the job in a call made by FFIRI leadership. They sent me an invitation and asked me for a roadmap and plan for participating in the AFC Asian Cup 2023. Of course, there are other options and they specified a deadline for me to respond.”

He continued: “Anyway, it is the national team and it is where I played for many years and had coaching experience too. In the last one or two years, I have had proposals from several clubs, which I have not yet decided on. One of the reasons was the Corona issue, and after that, I realized that the place I want to go to, must have the right conditions and atmosphere to conduct my job. Maybe some clubs have problems and lack facilities, and I also wanted to be in a place where the conditions are available so that I can have an impact. I would like to do something for the national team if I can,”

The former coach of the national team added: “If I feel that something can be done, I will think about it. Many people would love to see me take the post and would love for this to happen to me and for me to get what I deserve. There are different opinions in this regard. Some agree and some disagree, but everyone is entitled to his opinions are it should be respected “

” So far I have not sent my program but I am in the process and will soon submit it to the federation. It will be sent by tomorrow and whatever the outcome will be, it will happen.”

“I don’t like to talk about speculation,” Farraki said about the selection of an Iranian or foreign coach for Team Melli. “Anyway, the decision maker is the Football Federation. Many of our coaches have potential and the desire of every coach is to lead the national team. We also need to motivate the Iranian coach. Foreign coaches have their own values, but under the current circumstances, it is better to give the Iranians the opportunity.

Faraki was born in Tehran on 22nd March 1957 and started his playing career with PAS Tehran from 1976 to 1992), He played for Team Melli  (22 caps/11 goals for Iran), and his coaching career included Esteghlal Tehran, Sepahan Isfahan, Persepolis Tehran

Hossein Faraki played for Team Melli in the first Iranian qualification for the World Cup in 1978. He also won third place in the AFC Asian Cup 1980 in Kuwait with the national team. Faraki served as assistant coach to Branko Ivankovic for three years. Faraki also has the experience of being the head coach of Iran’s Omid national team in 2004. He led Foolad Khuzestan to the League Title in 2012-2013. He also led the Sepahan Isfahan team to the title in 2013-2014, so within 2 years, he has led two different clubs to the championship titles in the Iran Premier Football League.

Asghar Sharafi bemoans the lack of discipline and competent managers in Iran’s football.

Asghar Sharafi, the former Team Melli player and assistant coach to Heshmat Mohajerani when Iran qualified for the 1978 World Cup for the first time, is a unique outspoken character. His military background has taught him strict discipline and throughout his career, he abided by these principles. Sharafi’s values on discipline have endeared him to many but it seems that the days of such mentality of the pre-revolution era have lost their color, according to the former coach.

In an interview with Kayhan, Asghar Sharafi said  “The big clubs of the world are part of their society. Any society that abides by the law will flourish. In one European country, the prime minister was questioned for attending a party. These are the products of respect for the law, where the laws and regulations are institutional. It starts at the grassroots. In our society regretfully we think otherwise as lawlessness and revolt are admired. As such calamities befall us.”

Sharafi is referring to several breaks of discipline in various clubs and Team Melli some of which made big headlines.

“We must look at who is running our major clubs and then measure our expectation in dealing with wrongdoings and indiscipline accordingly. “Sharafi added: “Unfortunately, diminutive people manage our football here and these people do not have the guts nor the resolve to deal with immorality, insubordination, and disorderly acts. In the big and prestigious clubs of the world, the people in charge, react to such matters of transgression because of the respect the clubs has for its fan and society, even more than the sole interest of the club itself.”

“In the distant past, in Iranian football, there were people at the head of clubs who dealt with indiscipline and did not allow those irregularities to spread. In the days when I was the head coach of Shiraz, we had a player who was indisciplined. I dealt with him as severely as possible. Once, a young player on our team punched the referee in the chest during the match. I was interviewed that day and I said that this player did not hit the referee, but in fact, he hit his own coach because, with such an act, he questioned his coach’s credibility. In the big clubs of the world, ethical issues are important, but in Iran, the only thing that matters is to win points.”

“One of the biggest problems of football in Iran is managers’ fear of dealing with indiscipline; That could be the manager of the club or the director of the football federation. He says to himself that if I deal with an undisciplined player and suspend him, my team may not succeed. So, they pass a light sentence, and on many occasions on appeal, that suspension is dropped! This is a big problem. In a club like Manchester United, a young player who has committed an offense is dealt with severely, and that is not a personal treatment but to protect the interests of the whole organization, these interests include the credibility of the club and the fans. Unfortunately, the biggest problem in our football is the lack of competent and specialized managers at the top. If Iranian football had been run by people who were competent, sympathetic, and moral but most importantly, familiar with the fundamentals of the sport, we would never have witnessed recent unruly events.”

Iran’s first World Cup hero passes away.

Iraj Danaeifard, the former Team Melli player who scored Iran;s first goal in the 1978 World Cup has passed away in Shiraz on Wednesday 12 December 2018 after a struggle with kidney illness. Danaeifard was 67 years old

 Iraj was the son of another famous Iranian footballer and coach ,Ali Danaeifard . Iraj  was invited by Heshmat Mohajerani to Team Melli and made his debut for  in the qualification rounds of the FIFA World Cup 1978 in the match against Saudi Arabia. He was a late starter for Team Melli , however , he was quite impressive in the league.

His memorable goal against Scotland,  where he dribbled past Archie Gemmell and scored from an acute angle, ensure he will remain in history  of Iranian football as the first ever goal scorer for Team Melli in the World Cup.

Danaeifard played 17 times for Team Melli and scored 3 goals.

May he rest in peace.

Team Melli’s World Cup moments of glory.

1978: Danaeifard snatches a point against favoured Scotland

Iran qualified for the 1978 World Cup in Argentina after going unbeaten in their AFC qualifying campaign. They had failed to reach the tournament Finals in their first attempt four years earlier, but Ghafour Jahani’s solitary strike in a 1-0 win over Australia secured Team Melli’s World Cup berth with one match to spare.

Drawn into a difficult group containing Peru, the Netherlands, and Scotland, many believed that the Central Asians were simply there to make up the numbers. A 3-0 loss to eventual finalists Netherlands did not help matters, with Rob Rensenbrink storming to a hat-trick in the teams’ opening match. In their second game against Scotland, things went from bad to worse when Andranik Eskandarian bundled the ball past his own goalkeeper to give Scotland a first half lead.

Instead of letting their heads drop, IR Iran fought back and were eventually rewarded when Iraj Danaeifard skipped past Archie Gemmill and fired home from a narrow angle; the Iranians had finally scored in the World Cup. When the final whistle blew, there were jubilant celebrations, as Team Melli secured their first-ever point in a World Cup.

1998: First World Cup win

After a 1-0 defeat to Yugoslavia on Matchday One, IR Iran came into their tie against the United States knowing they needed a win to keep their qualification hopes alive.

An already-charged atmosphere ignited when Hamid Estili’s looping header over Kasey Keller gave his side the lead. Both teams then battled it out until the 83rd minute, when would-be Asian Footballer of the Year Mehdi Mahdavikia raced clear through on goal before firing past Keller to all but secure a win. Brian McBride then proceeded to pull one back for the US via a scrappy goal to set up a tense final few minutes.

In the end, IR Iran held out for their first World Cup win in five attempts. A 2-0 loss to Germany in their final Group F match saw Team Melli eliminated at the group stage yet again, but the night in Lyon will always be a fond memory for all Iranians.

2014: Heroic performance against Argentina

Team Melli’s return to the FIFA World Cup after missing out on the 2010 edition saw them pitted against eventual runners-up Argentina as well as Nigeria and debutants Bosnia and Herzegovina. After a stalemate in Curutiba against the then reigning African champions, it was time to face Lionel Messi and co on Matchday Two.

Going into the match as the clear underdogs, Carlos Queiroz’s men were not fazed by the opposition, matching the Argentinians in every area of the pitch in the opening period. Jalal Hosseini’s header just above the crossbar was as close as either team got to breaking the deadlock before the break.