Tag: Hossein Kananizadegan

Team Melli puts five past Turkmenistan

Team Melli, showcased an exceptional performance as they triumphed 5-0 over Turkmenistan in the thrilling encounter at Azadi Stadium in Tehran, marking the third round of the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers within Group E.

Led by the proficient officiating of Japan’s Yusuke Araki, the match unfolded with Iran’s dominance evident from the onset. Ranked 20th globally, Iran swiftly asserted their superiority over Turkmenistan, solidifying their leading position in the group.

The scoring spree commenced in the 10th minute, orchestrated by Mohammad Hossein Kananizadegan, who soared high to connect with Saleh Hardani’s precise cross, netting Iran’s opening goal. Sardar Azmoun, demonstrating exceptional composure, extended the lead merely three minutes later, capitalizing on Taremi’s adept pass to find the back of the net past Turkmenistan’s custodian, Rustem Ahallyýew.

Although Iran maintained control throughout the match, the intensity of their attacks waned as the first half progressed, with the scoreline freezing at 2-0 in favor of Iran by halftime. The departure of Sardar Azmoun due to injury at the cusp of halftime saw Omid Nourafkan take the field in the second half, bringing fresh energy to Iran’s offensive maneuvers.

Resuming the onslaught in the second half, Hossein Kananizadegan showcased his prowess once more, securing his brace and Iran’s third goal with a determined finish amidst the chaos in Turkmenistan’s penalty area. The relentless pressure continued as Taremi assisted Mohebbi in the 56th minute, further widening the goal margin to 4-0 in Iran’s favor.

In the dying embers of the match, substitute Omid Nourafkan seized the moment, unleashing a stunning strike from outside the box, clinching Iran’s fifth goal. Despite Nourafkan’s earlier attempts being thwarted by Turkmenistan’s resilient goalkeeper, Rustem Ahallyýew, his perseverance ultimately paid off in a spectacular fashion.

Moreover, the match witnessed the promising debut of two young talents, Amin Hizbavi, who featured in the starting lineup, and Mohammad Reza Azadi, who made a notable impact coming off the bench. Additionally, the return of Sayyadmanesh and Saleh Hardani added depth and energy to Iran’s squad, further enhancing their formidable stature on the international stage.

Iran now leads the group and will play Turkmenistan away next.

Team Melli defeats Qatar by four goals.

In Amman, the final match of the four nations tournament was held with Team Melli facing their former head coach, Carlos Queiroz. A brace by the substitute defender Hossein Kananizadegan, and a goal each by Ali Jahanbakhsh, and Sardar Azmoun all in a ten-minute period in the second half assured Iran an emphatic win and another regional title.

Ghalenoei, started the match with three changes, leaving Kananizadegan, Nourollahi, and Hajsafi out of the starting lineup. Ghoddos, Milad Mohammadi, and Morteza Pouraliganji were the rep[lacements.

The first half was a scruffy affair with Iran having more opportunities, but the finishing did not complement the good moves. Qatar, true to Queiroz principles, formed a solid defense and made life difficult for the central forwards’ pair, Azmoun and Taremi who were disjointed and lacked understanding. There was hardly a pass between them. To make matters more worrying, the body language between the two was far from assuring.

In the second half, both coaches stuck to their game plan. The first real event was the injury to Pouraliganji which looked serious. He was substituted and taken out on a stretcher. Kananizadegan was a direct replacment.

With Iran having more of the possession and having better control of the midfield with Ghoddos directing the play, and Ezatoolahi improving his game despite many passing errors, it was a matter of time before Iran would score.

The first goal was scored in the 69th minute from a corner taken by Rezaeian which was powerfully headed into the net by Kanani. Four minutes later (73), a result of some fine and intricate work on the left side by Miald Mohammadi ended in a square ball into the box to the unmarked Jahanbakhsh, who slotted the ball into the net. 2-0

Two minutes after the second goal, Milad Mohammadi was again the provider from the left flank, this time he found Azmoun in the box, and the AS Roma player scored on a half-turn in minute 75.

Kananizadegan finished the scoring four minutes later for his second goal and Iran’s fourth with another far post header from another Rezaeian assist.

a four-goal blitz in ten minutes was the second-biggest win of Iran against Qatar and a big disappointment for Querioz. Despite the big margin of victory, Team Melli is still not running on all cylinders.

The defense and the midfield improved but not by much. It is always hard to criticize a team that has won by a four-goal margin, but the real test has to be in the Asian Cup when Team Melli faces the might of teams such as Japan or South Korea.

Due to the criminal bombardment of a hospital in Gazza by the Israeli regime, just a few hours before the match, over 500 casualties were reported with a large number of deaths including women and children, no ceremonies were held after the final whistle.

What is behind KananiZadegan’s childish act?

Mohammad Hossein Kanani-Zadegan in his own right, is perhaps not brilliant but a good defender who has shown that he can compete with the best if he puts his mind to it. He represented his country at youth levels in the U17 in 2008, U20 in 2011, and U23 in 2014 teams before getting a call for Team Melli in 2015. However, it is quite clear that his brain and attitude have not grown since he was on the U17 team.

Long known for his indiscipline and indiscretion, Kananizadegan nearly ruined the final of the CAFA Nations Cup 2023 in the final minute of the match in which Team Melli was winning and in no danger of losing it, by the defender’s unprofessional and childish behavior.

Referring to such an attitude, a former Team Melli player said “It is a pity that such a player with such ethics and immature behavior is a member Of team Melli.” Said Mehdi Fonoonizadeh. “ You won’t observe such behavior from kids playing in back alleys of our cities, yet this guy does it at the international level! “

Fonoonozadeh who strongly criticized Kanaizadegan continued “ He sits on the ground like a child and doesn’t want to leave the field after being sent off. The clash that happened after that between the two sets of players which also sent the bench of both teams into the field, was all due to Kananizadegan’s childlike behavior threatening the continuation of the match and fights between players.”

“ This controversy by the amateurish Kanaizadegan put the game in disrepute and the reputation of our national football was called into question because of one ugly conduct. I hope the management and coaching staff, especially Amir Ghalenoei, will deal with this issue with full force, and not allow these ill-manners to creep into Team Melli”.

Fonoonizadeh concluded by saying “ If we intend to claim the AFC Asian Cup against professional opponents, fully prepared physically and mentally, by such indiscretions and indiscipline, it will definitely cause the Asian Football Confederation to have a different view towards our country’s football.”

The last time Kanaizadegan was in hot water was when he was caught during the Covid curfew trying to sneak a girl into the Team Melli camp during Dragan Skocic’s reign. The Croat coach was criticized by many for failing to discipline the player, however, and under much pressure from the media, the FFIRI suspended Kanainzadegan for a meaningless friendly months after the incident.

Without blowing this incident to a bigger proportion, the fear is that indiscipline amongst Team Melli is growing quite alarmingly and so with it is the players’ power. Generally speaking, Iranian coaches have not been proven efficient in controlling players’ misbehavior. Amir Ghalenoei is more inclined to praise his team and ignore their shortcomings and behavioral indiscretion. He is also excellent at diverting blame after defeats. So, expecting a strong reaction from Iranian coaches is like expecting a midnight sun. Mehdi Taj and his entourage are even less inclined to sanction players.

Fonoonizadeh was not the only football personality who criticized Kananizadegan, many others did so too, but the deadly silence of the federation and the coaching staff, up to now, towards Kananizadegan case, might expose a much bigger problem within the camp. The repeated messages about how the players are working together and being cordial to each other make one wonder why such news is filtered through by the media. Such unity between players should be a norm in any national team camp, why is it being constantly highlighted here?

Does it take the case of Kananizadegan to find out who is really running Team Melli?

Queiroz complains and then threatens!

According to Mehr’s reporter, today’s training of the Iranian national football team was held in a situation where

Carlos Queiroz appeared in front of reporters for a few minutes to explain the latest developments and the conditions of his team. In his short conversation with the press, the Portuguese head coach of Team Melli complained about the training camp progress which he claimed was ruining his plans. He predicted that the preparation of Team Melli collapsing!!

In the beginning, he said: “For whatever reason, our preparation program is not moving in the right direction. You are aware that preparation is a key step in the path ahead and without it, we cannot achieve an ideal condition.” The head coach of the national team, for the first time, indirectly warned that some players not participating in this current training of the squad might face the chop. He said: “Now that we don’t have these players, it is difficult to check on their forms, rediness and standards. Probably, some of them will miss the opportunity to be on the national team.” Queiroz raised this issue of Mohammad Hossein Kananizadegan and Shoja’a Khalilzadeh, the two central defenders , who had to return to Qatar after two weeks of training with the national team, by the order of the Al-Ahli club.

In this regard, he said: “Unfortunately, Qatar’s Al-Ahli Club did not allow Shoja’a Khalilzadeh and Kananizadegan to continue training with us. Five weeks without a football game is hard for them to be on the roster. I have to think about this again. All players must practice and play and be available. Queiroz also mentioned the absence of Esteghlal players in this round of training. The Esteghlal players are training for the Super Cup match against Nasaji, and now it is not clear whether the head coach of the national team is referring to the possibility of some players being crossed out from Team Melli roster. It is not clear if Queiroz exclusion warning was towards the Esteghlal player on Team Melli list or the defensive line pair of the Al-Ahli club.

In any case, Queiroz is back to his old tricks preparing people in case of failure in the World Cup. Al Ahli club have done Team Melli a favor by realsing the players for two weeks as they are under no obligation to release them a month before the start of the World Cup. Estghla Club is also in the same boat as Al Ahli as Esteghlal have an important match in the domestic league calender. They are playing the Nasiji in the super cup.

Gaps in Team Melli, Queiroz in battle with time to rectify.

After two quite useful matches for Team Melli, Carlos Queiroz has realized the magnitude of his mission in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in order to qualify Iran for the next round for the first time in history.

Team Melli’s results against Uruguay and Senegal were excellent but that cannot be said about the performance. In fact, Iran was lucky that the Sengalese players forgot their shooting boots at the hotel. The African Champions players easily bypassed Iran’s midfield and tested the defensive line, however, their final balls were mostly wayward. The ease with which the Senegal players passed the Iranians would definitely worry Queiroz’s team in the World Cup.

The gaps specifically at the midfield despite fielding four defensive players were apparent. It took some heroics from Hosseini in the goal, Kanani and Majid Hosseini in the center plus Sadegh Moharrami to minimize the damage. Ehsan Hajsafi, on the other hand, is a serious liability as a left-back despite him providing an excellent assist for Sardar Azmoun. Of course, Iran must also thank the Senegalese players who kept aiming at the sky in their final balls.

The onus is on Queiroz to get his ideal formation in the defense and midfield, but as we all know he is battling against time and no more opportunity for training or friendly matches. What we saw in Austria is probably the formation in which Queiroz will line up the team. All the work that the head coach needs to conduct for the improvement and tightening of the team will be on paper. Observations of the domestic league players and the legionnaires should also help, except that most of Team Melli players are bench warmers in their European clubs.

Team Melli’s strongest line is the forward line, where Queiroz need not worry much, but with names like Azmoun and Taremi up front, they need to be fed with proper balls to finish them in the back of the net. In both the matches in the Austrian camp, the service was sub-standard and rare. Kudos to the two forwards for turning those chances into goals.

Without a good defensive structure, Iran will struggle in the World Cup as players like Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Gareth Bale, and Christian Pulisic can take advantage of these defensive gaps to hurt Iran. In any case, it is the Queiroz style to press and defend tightly while depending on quick counterattacks for scoring.



Seyed Hossein HOSSEINI: One of the best players on the field with his good saves and confident handling of the ball [8.5] 
Majid HOSSEINI: started well and created a good partnership with Kanani. He has his shortcoming though and could be passed at ease at times. [6.7]
Hossein KANANI-ZADEGAN: Majestic performance from a solid defender who hardly put a foot wrong and was quite confident against Saido mane. He only played one half but it was easy to convince Queiroz that he is becoming an indispensable player in the team [8.8]
Sadegh MOHARRAMI: Yet another good performance from Moharerami to solidify his claim for the right-back position. Under Queiroz’s game plan, he can be the winger that can be effective in quick counterattacks. [8.3]
Saeid EZZATOLLAHI: Lack of top-level football is adversely affecting him and it was obvious that at big games he is found wanting. His physique is quite important for the team but really needs to work on passing skills and game reading [6.5]
Ahmad NOUROLLAHI: At times he was lost among the better opposition players. He tried matching the Senegalese midfield but lacked the capability to win balls or provide effective passes for the forwards [6.7]
Milad SARLAK:  Industrious and hardworking player whose role in Queiroz’s game plan is to form a defensive line in front of the central defenders. Mixed success but a player who can be also used in defense too. [6.9]
Ali GHOLIZADEH: The player has good dribbling skills and can be vital for the rare offensive moves in Team Melli. However, his final balls and passes leave a lot to be desired. Still has not reached his potential and his small physique could be a liability against big teams. [6.7]
Ehsan HAJSAFI: Operated as a left back and he was a liability. Easily dribbled , poor positional awareness and poor coverage marred his performance. His assist, however, plus a goal-line clearance gives him more rating than he may not deserve. [7.2]
Mehdi TAREMI: Did not get proper service and hence he was ineffective. Still tries to fake and falls proving that his ill-repute in Portugal is not unwarranted. Another player that can be a savior for Team Melli despite all the controversy around him. His lack of pace is worrying though [6.9]
Karim ANSARIFARD: A player who seems content with turning up it seems. Not effective in this match and was disconnected from his teammate Taremi up front [6.2]


Morteza POURALIGANJI: Unfortunate to concede the goal but overall he was a solid player and tackled well. [7.0]
Saman GHODDOS: At his best Ghoddos can be a real asset for Team Melli with his passes and vision. He was not given breathing space by the Senegalese players and that is where many Iranian players fail against hard-pressing teams. [6.8]
Omid EBRAHIMI: A hard-working midfielder who is tireless and fighting for every ball. He was overwhelmed in this match and was hardly in the game. [6.5]
Alireza JAHANBAKHSH: vitalized the team on his appearance as a sub. At times he was double-teamed and the Senegalese defenders knew how to curtail his threat. [7.2]
Sardar AZMOUN: A quality forward needs half a chance to score and that is what Azmoun did when he provided a quality cross. His jump for the Hajsafy’s perfect cross was majestic. [8.9]



Central defence partnership of Team Melli is under threat!

One of the main reasons for the success of Team Melli in winning all the matches in World Cup qualifiers in Bahrain was the solid fortress-style partnership in the heart of the defense.

Dragan Skočić opted for Shojaá Khalilzadeh and Hossein Kananizadegan and created a strong partnership between them, and the result was spectacular.  Iran conceded one fluke goal from Hong Kong and was solid against the rest. This partnership continued in the third round of the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers as only South Korea (3 goals) and Lebanon (1 goal) managed to score against Team Melli. It is a record that any team can be proud of in such a high level of competition.

 However, the return of Carlos Queiroz to Team Melli is threatening this partnership.

The Portuguese coach is fond of the duo Morteza Pouraliganji and Ramin Rezaiyan, both of whom were invited by FFIRI to submit their documents for the issue of visas for Austria. Pouraliganji’s return comes after more than a year of absence from the field due to a severe injury followed by operations. His decision to return to Iran domestic league football in the year of the 2022 World Cup is to be close to the selectors. He joined Persepolis and so far performed well in the three matches he played registereing good statistics. The sudden return of Queiroz will again put him as a favorite amongst the rest of the central defenders.

 Like Queiroz himself, Pouraliganji will benefit from the hard work of Shoja Khalilzadeh and Mohammad Hossein Kananizadegan, who were one of the main factors of early qualification of Team Melli to the Qatar World Cup,

There is no question about the technical abilities or performance of Khalilzadeh, but his place in Team Melli is threatened by the bad relationship with Queiroz. The issue came to the surface after the defender gave an interview that was critical. This defender’s opinion about how he can affect the future of the defensive composition of the Team did not set well with Queiroz and Khalilzadeh like many other players before was banished from Team Melli.

Queiroz, unlike his predecessor Dragan Skočić, has zero tolerance for any type of opposition. In that sense,  it is quite likely that will make Khalilzadeh will be watching the World Cup games on TV rather than defending the three colors jersey. The Portuguese man will most probably see the return of players such as Seyed Majid Hosseini, Morteza Pouraliganji, and even Roozbe Cheshmi.

Team Melli will leave for Austria next week to play two preparatory games against Uruguay and Senegal under Carlos Queiroz. While Uruguay has published the name of the squad for the match against Iran last week, FFIRI has not finalized its list.

FFIRI bans Hossein Kananizadegan for lack of ethics.

The Disciplinary and Ethics Committee of Iran’s Football Federation FFIRI has issued its verdict regarding the case against Team Melli central defender Hossein Kananizadegan.

“The committee has found Hossein Kananizadegan guilty as charged and fined one billion rials plus a two games ban for violating the ethical rules of football. The ban applies to National Team Games, Futsal, and Beach Soccer. Pursuant to paragraph 1 of Article 63 of the Code of Ethics and paragraph 4 of Article 103 of the Disciplinary Code, the ban and fine contained in the above ruling shall not prevent the execution or the suspension of the ruling as soon as the execution is issued and an appeal is filed. Also, if he has an appeal to file, the player should submit his objection to the ethics committee of the federation within one week from this date, observing the legal formalities mentioned in Article 63 of the ethics regulations regarding the appeal process”.  the ruling declared according to the FFIRI website.

Kananizadegan has been a subject of controversy and his inclusion in the two Team Melli games against Iraq and UAE has been found to be a fraudulent and crooked move by the federation. The notorious Knanizadegan, who always seems to be one step near trouble on and off the pitch has uttered profanity and insulting remarks against Estghelal club fans. The recording he made went viral and was condemned by a large swathe of journalists, fans, and footballers alike. Esteghlal club management filed an official complaint against him in December last year.

The defender will miss both the South Korea match away and the final match against Lebanon in Azadi.

The 27 years old Kananizadegan currently plays his football in Qatar Stars League with Al-Ahli

Yet, the FFIRI Disciplinary committee despite having all the incriminating evidence to prosecute the player, conveniently waited until the last two Team Melli matches then issued the disciplinary action!