Tag: Jordan

Super Jordan stun Korea Republic to reach historic final

Al Rayyan

Goals from Yazan Al Naimat and Mousa Al Tamari secured Jordan a sensational 2-0 win over Korea Republic as the West Asian side advanced to the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ final at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on Tuesday.

A dominant performance from start to finish saw Jordan upstage a Korea Republic side who simply couldn’t match the pace and determination of their opponents, who booked a spot in the AFC Asian Cup final for the first time in history.

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Jordan didn’t waste time in taking the game to Korea Republic, with their fast start almost catching the East Asian side by surprise, Al Naimat’s low strike in the fourth minute from just inside the area forcing goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo into a diving save.

The West Asian side looked dangerous every time they transitioned into attack with Al Tamari waltzing his way past three defenders before setting up Noor Al Rawabdeh, who brought the best out of Jo.

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Korea Republic slowly grew into the match, with Son Heung-min’s effort in the 19th minute ruled out for offside while Lee Kang-in failed to find the target from inside the box in the 24th minute.

Jordan, however, looked menacing each time they ventured forward but wasted a flurry of chances, with Al Naimat missing from inside the area before pulling his effort just wide in the 27th minute, while Al Tamari blazed his shot over the bar from just above the box.

At the other end, Korea Republic had a penalty overruled following a VAR review in the 30th minute before Lee Jae-Sung hit the upright from Hwang In-beom’s cross.

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A mazy Al Naimat run in the 43rd minute saw him waltzing past three defenders into the six-yard-box before unleashing a powerful drive straight into Jo, with the rebound falling nicely for Al Rawabdeh but his effort struck the Korea Republic custodian before going out of play. 

Despite having mostly played second fiddle, Korea Republic should have taken the lead into the break but Seol Young-woo’s cross from the flank was sent skywards by Hwang. 

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Jordan’s pace at the start of the second half was not as intense but they continued to dictate terms, with Korea Republic struggling to keep the ball.

The West Asian side’s positive play finally delivered dividends in the 53rd minute when Al Tamari pounced on a poor back pass from Jung Seung-Hyunto to send a well-timed pass to Al Naimat, who lobbed the ball over the advancing Jo for the opening goal.

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Having fallen behind for the fifth time in six matches, Korea Republic sent on Cho Gue-sung to add more depth to their attacks but the No 9 failed to find the target at the hour mark when he sent his headed attempt off Kang-in’s corner over the bar.

That was to prove costly as Jordan struck again six minutes later, Al Tamari brilliantly cutting inside from just above the area before unleashing a low drive past a despairing Cho.

Korea Republic’s attempts to find a way back were easily repelled from there on as Jordan held on for a well deserved place in the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 final. 

Iran vs Qatar: Head-to-Head

The records show Iran’s clear superiority in all competitions and friendly matches against Qatar. Only 3 defeats in 25 and just one of these defeats was in an official game during Mayeli-Kohan’s coaching. The last meeting was in October last year in Amman, Jordan when Tea Melli defeated Qatar, where the former Team Melli coach Carlos Queiroz was the head coach, 4-0.

Home862019 – 4+15
Away1593318 – 12+6
Neutral22006 – 1+5
Total25175343 – 17+26

DATEAttendanceVENUESCORESTADIUMAzadi Stadium, Tehran
17.10.2023Jordan 4 asideN4 – 0Amman international stadium1,500
31.12.2018FriendlyA2 – 1Khalifa Stadium, Doha50
23.03.2017World Cup QualifierA1 – 0Jassim bin Hamad, Doha
01.09.2016World Cup QualifierH2 – 0Azadi Stadium, Tehran80,000
15.01.2015Asian Cup / Group ‘C’H1 – 0Stadium Australia – Sydney22,673
04.06.2013World Cup QualifierA1 – 0Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium , Doha11,872
12.06.2012World Cup Qualifier / Round 4H0 – 0Azadi Stadium, Tehran80,000
29.02.2012World Cup Qualifier / Round 3 – Group EH2 – 2Azadi Stadium , Tehran55,000
06.09.2011World Cup Qualifier / Round 3 – Group EA1 – 1Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium , Doha8,125
28.12.2010FriendlyA0 – 0Khalifa Stadium, Doha3,000
28.12.2009Friendly / Qatar Intl. Friendly TournamentA2 – 3Suhaim Bin Hamad-Doha Qatar Stadium3,000
09.11.2008FriendlyA1 – 0Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium , Doha5,000
11.08.2008WAFFH6 – 1Khalifa Stadium, Doha5,000
10.01.2008FriendlyA0 – 0Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium , Doha2,000
24.03.2007Friendly / FriendlyA1 – 0Thani bin Jassim Stadium, Doha7,000
13.10.2004World Cup Qualifier / WCQA3 – 2Thani bin Jassim Stadium, Doha3,000
18.02.2004World Cup Qualifier / WCQH3 – 1Azadi Stadium, Tehran45,000
08.04.2002Others / WAGN2 – 1Al Qadisiya Stadium, Kuwait City
01.08.2001Friendly / FriendlyA1 – 2Khalifa International Stadium, Doha3,000
27.09.2000FriendlyA2 – 1Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium , Doha5,000
07.11.1997World Cup Qualifier / WCQA0 – 2Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium , Doha20,000
03.10.1997World Cup Qualifier / WCQH3 – 0Azadi Stadium, Tehran70,000
01.06.1996Friendly / FriendlyA1 – 0Hamad bin Khalifa Stadium, Doha10,000
17.05.1996FriendlyH2 – 0Takhti Stadium , Tabriz30,000
02.12.1988Asian Cup / Group 1A2 – 0Hamad bin Khalifa Stadium , DohaAzadi Stadium, Tehran

Ghgalenoei hits out at his critics.

“Enough is enough” bemoaned Team Melli’s head coach, following widespread criticism of Team Melli’s performance under his command.

” We played 5 games, 4 of which were away from home. We won two finals and conceded only one goal, but look how much we were battered. These attacks are reminiscent of 2006. Manchester City, which has not achieved good results in the last 2-3 weeks after winning the English and UEFA Champions League, has not been attacked as much as we have been!” Ghalenoei said of the recent criticisms of his playing tactics, player selections, poor defensive and midfield composition, and finally his high age average team., all of which he labeled as attacks!

In defense of his record, the head coach of Team Melli said ” If you look at the statistics of the games we played against Jordan, they have managed to defeat us in Tehran and we defeated them in their own country, we beat them at home with a of 2 goals difference. Are these criticisms justified? We have a problem and we accept it, no team or player in the world can play 30 games consistently at the same level, and things happen anyway. In that game, the grass was of poor quality and damaged and one or two players made individual mistakes. In the finals, we also beat Uzbekistan and Qatar, which are great teams, and you will definitely see them in the AFC Asian Cup and World Cup qualifiers.”

Ghaleneoi, who has never been too comfortable with criticism and has demanded that for the sake of Team Melli the media and the fans should refrain from mentioning the negatives and instead pray and support the team, continued ” They say that Team Melli is old, but do they produce players at the senior levels? it is the duty of other youth teams to produce the players(…) “

Ghalenoei also lamented the fact that in Iran, greed and jealousy are rampant.

“since 2006, you judged me and did whatever you wanted against me. I was on constant trial. in these 80 days for the sake of the people, support the national team. The way to success is interaction. The difference between other countries and us is that they care about their country and we have love and hate relationship. The pens that were used against me in 2006 were a kind of cruelty. Now they say the same things in a different way” Ghalenoei whined in reference to similar criticism before his departure to Malaysia for the AFC Asian Cup 2007.

It is clear that Ghalenoei is back to his sulking best. He never offered a sensible reason for insisting on selecting the same squad that has failed to achieve any meaningful victory for the best part of a decade now. He had no excuse to have a player like Ansarifard, while Ghaedi, Sayyadmanesh, and many other younger and promising forwards were available. Although he mentioned Japan as an exemplary footballing nation with a long-term plan to produce an abundance of young players, he has yet to explain his clear ignoring of plenty of Omid Team players who deserve trials in Team Melli.

The fear of failure has already put Ghalenoei on the defensive. Ghalenoei like many other Iranian coaches , has yet to learn how to deal with criticism, normally attacking the critics while offering no solid defense for his actions.

Players rating vs Jordan.

The match against Jordan, despite a 3-1 win, was far from convincing and has resulted in criticism from the media and ex-players. Ghaenoei’s players played ugly yet won against a weak and tactically naive team in Jordan.

Here are the players’ ratings:

1 –Alireza Beiranvand: confident and assured, although he has hardly put to the test thanks to the misfiring Jordanian players. He could not do much about the goal conceded as his defenders made a blunder out of a simple clearance. [7.6]

3-Ehsan Hajisafi: Worked hard and covered well when needed. However, he has lost some of his pace and agility. He was caught off-guard several times. [6.5]
23 Ramin Rezaeian: His fine work on the right flank resulted in Iran’s first goal, however, he was also a savior when he blocked a certain goalbound ball by a Jordanian forward preventing a goal. The shortfall was how easily the Jordainain dribbled past him [7.6]
4 Shojaa Khalilzadeh: Another defender who is short of pace and agility. It is undeniable that this defender gives it 100% on the pitch, but younger more agile, and stronger forwards can easily pass him. One did, in this match, but Shojaa used trickery to hold on to him and for this, he got a yellow card. [6.3]
13 Hossein Kananizadegan: He was guilty of the goal conceded along with Ezaatolahi who could not deal with a simple clearance. He got another yellow card after being dribbled by the Jordanian midfielder and resorting to shirt-pulling to prevent an attack. Not as steady and confident as seen before. Overall an acceptable but below-par performance. [6.1]

21 Ahmad Noorollahi: Hardly showed up in this match and hardly supported the front line. Whatever is holding up Noorollahi must be addressed by the coaching staff [5]
6 Saeid Ezzatolahi: by far the poorest of all the players on the pitch. He has hardly contributed to any of the goals and was lost in the midfield. He stumbled on the ball and clashed with Kananizadegan in the box to give away the goal. This is not the first time that Ezzatolahi has played such poorly The enigma is how is this player maintaining his place in the starting lineup with such poor performances. [3.5]
19 Mohammad Mohebi: Disappointing performance from a promising player. He had no contribution in any of the three goals scored and generally lacked enthusiasm and drive [5.5]

9 Mehdi Taremi: Scored and provided an assist. One cannot ask for more than that from a player of his caliber, however, he could have contributed more and scored at least one more goal. [7.9]
20 Sardar Azmoun: Scored a beautiful opener with a side foot-half volley. His one-on-one in the second half, where a player of his standard should have easily scored, was a black mark. Much better finishing and control were expected from him in that missed opportunity. [7.8]
7 Alireza Jahanbakhsh: Another player who was disappointing and a point of concern for the team. There are considerable expectations from Jahanabakhsh in the AFC Asian Cup, but so far this year, he has been a shadow of himself. Lack of confidence, hesitancy, inability to create chances for the forwards, and many more shortfalls marred his game against Jordan. Another player that needs to be analyzed and coached. [4.5]


Rouzbeh Cheshmi: Replaced Noorollahi in the second half and managed to slightly improve the center, but Jordan was having the best of time leaving Cheshmi to be confined. Provided a beautiful assist to Mehrdad Mohammadi for Iran’s third goal. [7.3]

Saman Ghoddos: Replaced Azmoun on minute 67′. A classy player and possibly the only one in the midfield with vision and finesse. However, His contribution was overshadowed by the Jordanian forcefully pressing Iran to look for goals. He was confined to defensive duties. [6.5]

Mehrdad Mohammadi: came in to replace the dysfunctional Jahanbakhsh. He scored with a beautiful chip in the dying minutes of the match despite lacking support from the midfield [7.8]

Morteza Pouraliganji: Not rated

Coach: Amir Ghalenoei: If the former Esteghlal and Sepahan coach looks to repeat his success at the club level, he needs to be much more aggressive in many areas. He also needs to be more adventurous. Must ensure the team plays as a group and must work on improving the defense and Midfield as they could be the source of Team Melli’s failure. His substitutions were fine and yielded results. Faced with an aging squad, Ghalenoei needs a major tactical adjustment.

Saleh Hardani added to the Team Melli squad

According to the Football Federation website, Dinamo Zagreb right-back Sadegh Moharrami is out of the squad for the Four Nations tournament in Jordan due to an injury in a club match. His replacement is Saleh Hardani.

The updated list is as follows:

Alireza Biranvand, Payam Niazmand, Seyed Hossein Hosseini
Ehsan Haj Safi, Milad Mohammadi, Shojaa Khalilzadeh, Mohammad Hossein Kananizadegan, Morteza Pouraliganji, Mohammad Daneshgar, Amin Hizbavi, Saleh Hardani, Ramin Rezaeian, Roozbeh Cheshmi

Saeid Ezzatollahi, Ahmad Noorollahi, Mohammad Mohebi, Javad Hosseinnejad, Saman Ghoddos,

Mehdi Taremi, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Mehrdad Mohammadi, Karim Ansarifard, and Sardar Azmoun

In the first session of training, only 10 players turned up with the rest of the players trickling in from several destinations. Persepolis players were given a rest after their match to recover.

Confidence crises with Iranian coaches.

Amir Ghalenoei has produced his list for Jordan’s four-nations tournament. Not only this list was quite disappointing for those fans and pundits who liked to see new young faces in an aging Team Melli, but it also included a veteran in Karim Ansarifard who has not been in the picture and has hardly shown the public in Iran any proof of his worth in the Cypriot league. Ansarifard is not even a regular starter for Omonia Nicosia

Since his appointment. Amir Ghalenoei has been facing regular criticism, mainly because he is a local coach. There has been a crisis of confidence in Iranian coaches for a long time, particularly in these few months. The reason is that the fans of different sports have witnessed a decline in performance whenever a local Iranian coach is appointed to coach a team. The worst case was Volleyball, followed to a lesser extent, Basketball, and Futsal. All three sports lost their continental titles under local coaches.

It is a fact that the fans do not trust Iranian coaches. It is a fact that was highlighted in an ISNA poll with the majority losing voting against domestic coaches. It is a deep-rooted problem and has been hidden under the carpet, at least in official media. It seems that talking about it is taboo and the reason is, like everything in Iran, it is the policy of the regime, and one cannot disagree with it. Not in public at least.


However, volleyball, which was fast becoming the number one team sport in Iran threatening the domination of football, suddenly hit a spiral dive after Ataei was appointed. His promotion to Volleyball Team Melli and rise in value was right after a ceremonial meeting with the supreme leader in which Ayatollah Khamenei explicitly declared that domestic coaches have much better value for the Iranian teams than foreign nationals.

Sport authorities took that as a Fatwa that needs to be strictly adhered to not just a pip talk from the supreme leader. It has quickly become a perceived policy of maintaining the values of the Islamic revolution through the appointment of Iranian coaches.

Although Ayatollah Khamenei did say that he is no expert in sports and did not interfere in the appointment of coaches in that meeting with the Iranian national volleyball team, who dares to disagree and work independently selecting coaches based on merits, international standards of competence, experience, and ability rather on patriotism or politics?

Right after the free fall of volleyball, pundits mentioned that Behrouz Ataei, the Iranian head coach of the national team, showed that “we have not yet reached a level with domestic coaches where we can compete closely with the world’s volleyball powers, and we need the presence of a skilled foreign head coach so that the domestic coaches can learn and experience major world events alongside him and improve their own technical abilities. Maybe this issue is not pleasant for some, but it is a fact that many veterans and fans of volleyball acknowledge.”

In football, Ghalenoei, or any Iranian head coach is bound by many limitations.  In a bi-polar football culture, his first felony is that he is a Blue so he will have an apparent bias towards Esteghlal players. This has been observed many times over with Iranian coaches, although Daei was an exception during his tenure.


Iranian coaches have a fear of defeat and setbacks and that is not entirely their own fault. They are facing masses of supporters and press that demand immediate results. A nation hungry for success that eluded it since the revolution over 40 years ago. There is no time for experimenting and being a maverick. Ghalenoei is no exception. Fear of failure pushes him to rely on the most battle-hardened warriors, counting on the experience of senior players to achieve success.  He has just taken over an aging team, the oldest in the last World Cup 2022, in fact, to increase the average age by adding yet another over-33-year-old player!

It is true that the U23 team, which is supposed to be the backbone of senior Team Melli, has been poorly performing for many years, but under a sub-standard unqualified coach in Reza Enayati, the real potential of the team was never going to materialize. Nonetheless, there were a few good players in that team that deserve a trial and call-up. Only one made Ghalenoei’s list.


There will always be political pressure on the national team. The regime’s interest supersedes any other objectives. Players not showing total loyalty to the regime, will have to be excluded and any sign of political dissent must be swiftly dealt with. Under a foreign coach filtering players based on politics is that much more difficult especially if you have a strong character coach.


One of the biggest shortfalls of Iranian coaches will always be DISCIPLINE. Time and again, the local coaches have failed miserably in self-discipline and that of their own players’. Never mind what they preach in public, the Iranian coaches in general feel obliged to be protective of the players even when committing the silliest or most damaging of acts.

The regional teams realize that Iranian footballers play with strong emotion, and the opposition takes advantage of that even provoking their Iranians whose self-control and emotional intelligence are suspect. This could be a game changer comes major championships like the Asian Cup.

Finally….. Do you think Ansarifard’s call to team Melli is justified?

Here is his record this season. Note that he played only one 90-minute game in the league.

Karim Ansarifard

ClubDivisionminutesgamesstartSub inSub outbenchgoalsYC2 YCRC

Omonia Nicosia

Team Melli to set up camp in the Far East before the AFC Asian Cup 2023.

The first vice president of Iran’s football federation announced that Team Melli will partake in a tournament in the Far East before the start of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023.
According to a report, Mehdi Mohammadnabi, the first vice president of FFIRI, on the sidelines of the International Football Clinic Congress, said: “Before going to Qatar to participate in the AFC Asian Cup, Team Melli is supposed to arrange a training camp in the Far East.”

Emphasizing that the location of this camp has not yet been decided, he said: “We are working on the matter and hope that the national team will participate in a tournament in East Asia before the Asian Cup. Of course, this preparatory camp and tournament will be accomplished without the presence of the legionnaires.”

It has been previously announced that Iran will play a friendly match against the Japanese national team before participating in the Asian Cup, a match that will apparently be held without the presence of the legionnaires of the two countries. It is not clear if Mohammadnabi is referring to this match.

There is another two matches for Team Melli in the FIFA Day October break as Iran will be taking part in a 4 nations international tournament in Amman Jordan.

The Asian Cup will be held in Qatar from January 12, 2024, to February 10, 2024.

More Team Melli preparatory matches arranged

According to Mehdi Taj, the Head of IRIFF, Team Melli will meet Capo Verde for a match on 12th September as part of FIFA Day, a few days after playing Bulgaria.

Capo Verde, (Cape Verde) is an archipelago off the western coast of Africa, until three-fourths of the 20th century, was under the governance of Portugal. It is ranked 66 in the FIFA Ranking and has produced good quality footballers that played in Europe, particularly Portugal.

The match against Capo Verde will most probably be held in Iran although the venue is not finalized yet. This is the first time, the two meet at any level.

Taj also confirmed that Iran accepted the invitation of the Jordanian FA for participation in the Jordan four nations tournament 2023 which will be held in Amman. Apart from host Jordan, Oman, and Iraq will join Iran in this tournament, the second of its kind after last year’s. Iran will play Iraq on the 13th of October in the first match. The winner of this match will meet the winner of Jordan vs Qatar on the 16th of October.

With four international friendly matches scheduled, and possibly more, AMir Ghalenoei will have plenty of opportunity to arrange his desired lineup for AFC Asian Cup 2023 which will start on January 2024.

WAFF U23 2023

Omid team to meet host Iraq in the final of WAFF U23 Cup.

Omid Team (Iran U23) defeated Jordan in a penalty shootout to book a place in the final match against host Iraq.

The match was a dour affair with neither of the teams impressing in a match that only saw two serious attempts at scoring. The extra time was not played as usual as after the goalless draw the match went directly to penalty Shootouts which ended 4-3 in favor of Iran.

Reza Enayati, the head coach of the Omid team said: “As of now, our celebration and joy period happiness is over and we are only thinking about the final.” said in the press conference after the win against Jordan and advancing to the finals of the West Asian Under-23 Championship ” Jordan is a good team and we had a tough game. I have to thank the players of the team who showed zeal and were able to achieve this result.”

He continued:” Now the joy of winning in the semi-final is over and we should only think about the final. It doesn’t matter to us whether the opponent is Iraq or Oman. We strive for success. In response to a question about the physical pressure on the team’s players at the end of the second half, Enayati said: This was predictable because we play every other day. Of course, our players managed the game well in the second half. He added: ” We went through difficult training conditions. We had to practice in Karbala from 5 to 6 o’clock, which caused a lot of physical pressure. In the matter of recovery, there was also a problem of compression of matches.”

Iran Omid Team led by the brilliant Yasin Salmani, is looking to take back the trophy last won by an Iranian team 14 years ago in Amman.

Host Iraq narrowly defeated Oman 1-0 to set up the final on Tuesday in Karbala at 21:30 local time.

Team Melli to play in a 4-side tournament

According to the official website of the Football Federation, Teaam Melli under  Amir Ghalenoei is going to participate in the 4-side 2023 Jordan international Football tournament in Jordan. This tournament is expected to be played in the Jordanian capital Amman with the presence of the host nation, Iraq, Qatar, and Iran.

This tournament which normally takes place during the autumn  2023 window of the FIFA International Match Calendar, will be held in Amman, Jordan in October this year. FIFA days for the period are 9–17 October 2023

In last year’s edition Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Oman participated in the tournament. Jordan won the tournament by defeating Oman 1–0 in the final