Tag: Kyrgyzstan

FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers Third Round explained.

The second round of double qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup and the 2027 Asian Cup concluded on Tuesday, June 11, 2024, marking the beginning of two new chapters in Asian football.

2027 Asian Cup Qualification:

  • 18 teams secured their spots in the 2027 Asian Cup by finishing first or second in the second-round groups.
  • These 18 teams will also participate in the decisive third round of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

The Third Round of 2026 World Cup Qualifiers:

  • In this stage, the 18 qualified teams will compete in a group system, with each group containing 6 teams.
  • The top two teams from each group will directly qualify for the 2026 World Cup.
  • For the first time in history, the Asian continent will have 8 seats at the World Cup.
  • The remaining 6 teams will vie for the last two spots through a fourth round.
  • The fourth round will feature two groups, each comprising 3 teams. The top team from each group will secure direct qualification to the World Cup.

Draw Date:

  • The draw for the third round of the 2026 Asian World Cup qualifiers is scheduled for Thursday, June 27, 2024, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at the headquarters of the Asian Football Confederation.


The following teams finished first or second in their respective second-round groups:


The seeding for the draw was based on the FIFA Men’s World Rankings on 20 June 2024 (shown in parentheses below).

Each group will contain one team from each of the six pots.

Pot 1Pot 2Pot 3
 Japan (17) Iran (20) South Korea (22) Australia (23) Qatar (35) Iraq (55) Saudi Arabia (56) Uzbekistan (62) Jordan (68)
Pot 4Pot 5Pot 6
 United Arab Emirates (69) Oman (76) Bahrain (81) China (88) Palestine (95) Kyrgyzstan (101) North Korea (110) Indonesia (134) Kuwait (137)

Best case Scenario for Iran

While teams in pots 2 and 3 can spring surprises for the three leading Teams, Japan, Iran and Korea Republic, the other teams are by no means easy opponents either. However, based on ranking, location and current form, Team Melli can do with a comfortable group. The best that Iran can get in the draw next week is this group.

These teams are quite familiar for Iran and the biggest advantage will be travelling time. Three of the teams are neighbours, while the other two (Jordan and Kyrgzysran) are 2 1/2 hrs to flying time Amman while Bishkek is 3 hrs 15 minutes.
In case Iran gets North Korea and/or Australia, it will be a logistical nightmare.

Match Preview: Iran v Kyrgyzstan

Team Melli will face host Kyrgyzstan in the final group match of CAFA Nations Cup 2023 today Friday 16th June at 18:30 Iran time.

The winner of this match will go through to the CAFA Nation Cup 2023 final as the leader, while the losing team will play in the ranking match.

Iran leads the group on goal difference with three points and a goal difference of 5 and Kyrgyzstan with three points and a goal difference of 3 as both assured a trip to Uzbekistan for the next stage. The third team, Afghanistan lies at the bottom of the table without any points. If Iran needs only a draw against Kyrgyzstan, to qualify for the Final match which will be against Uzbekistan.

in Group A, Uzbekistan has qualified for the final match by heading the group while one team from among the teams of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Oman will be playing the 3rd playoff match.

Iran and Kyrgyzstan have faced each other three times before today, which resulted in three victories of 6-0 (1995), 3-1, and 7-0 (1976) for Iran.

H / A / NMatchesWDLGoals+ / –
H22009 – 1+8
A00000 – 0+0
N11007 – 0+7
Total330016 – 1+15
DateComp.H / A / NFinal scoreStadiumAttendance
07.06.2016FriendlyH6 – 0Azadi Stadium, Tehran4500
09.06.1997World Cup Qualifier / Group 2H3 – 1Azadi Stadium, Tehran50000
04.06.1997World Cup Qualifier / Group 2N7 – 0Al Abbasyeen Stadium , Damascus25000

This is Iran’s first participation in CAFA Nations Cup and regardless to the results, it would be a confidence booster for Team Melli preparing for AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023. In the first game, Team Melli defeated Afghanistan 6-1 to head group B table and did not have a hard time against its rival. For the second game, Team Melli will face a team that is ranked 97th in FIFA, and in the last meeting between the two teams in 2015, they won 6-0 against the Kyrgyz Republic. In that meeting, Mehdi Taremi, Mehdi Torabi, Sardar Azmoun, Masoud Shojaei, and Karim Ansarifard scored for Iran.

Despite needing a draw only to face Uzbekistan in the final, Team Melli under Amir Ghalenoei will be aiming for a win in Bishkek in front of an expected full-capacity stadium. The Kyrgyz national football team, the host of the CAFA Nations Cup 2023 Group B, has made good progress compared to previous years. In their first game, they won 1-0 against Afghanistan, and the only goal of the game was scored in the 97th minute, which did not amuse the Afghanistan team. While the team protested an ugly scene led by the Kuwaiti coach Abdulla Mutairi ensued. He forced and pushed the Afghan Player to leave the field.

As a result, according to the decision of the disciplinary committee of the tournament, Kyrgyzstan was declared the winner 3-0, despite scoring one goal only. Kyrgyzstan needs to defeat Iran to advance to the final while it is assured a place in the top four. According to local media, the match is sold out hours before the start with Kyrgyz spectators grabbing the most. Their fans are hoping for a miracle from their country’s team and a famous victory against ran.

Afghan players leaving the pitch

Worst Possible Start for CAFA Nations Cup 2023

The inaugural CAF Nation Cup got to the worst possible start in the first match of the 7 teams tournament between host Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan on Saturday when an official from the Afghan team forced his players to leave the pitch in protest at the goal Kyrgyzstan scored in the dying seconds of the match at minute 97.

After the goal, which seemed to be legitimate, the unruly official, possibly one of the coaches, entered the pitch and signaled that the ball was handled by Kyrgyzstan’s forward before scoring. Afghanistan players were ushered out by that official despite the fact that there were no strong protests from the Afghani players themselves, who played a respectable game until that time.

The host team found it difficult to penetrate the Afghan defenses who were quite solid at the back. They withstood the home team’s attacks until the 97th minute when a momentary lapse of concentration allowed the Kyrgyzstan forward to grab a loose ball in front of the Afghan center-back and beat the keeper. However, that zealot of an official had other ideas and was intent to spoil it for everyone. He accused the referee by signaling that he received money, shoved a few people around here including his own players, and then sarcastically clapped for the Kyrgyzstan players.

Leaving the pitch is an archaic act that you never see in football nowadays, but Afghanistan seems to be way out of touch with modern football realities. The referee and Kyrgyzstan team waited for the required legal time for the Afghan team to return for the restart. The match was called off after the failure of Afghanistan to honor their commitment.

In normal circumstances as per FIFA’s Laws of the Game, if a team leaves the pitch not completing a match in protest in an official soccer game, the opposing team is awarded a 3-0 victory 

In addition to that, some tournament rules void all other match results and expel the team from the tournament. Afghanistan is facing possible expulsion from CAFA Nations Cup 2023

In this scenario, Team Melli will not be facing Afghanistan on the 13th of June as scheduled and will instead play the host on the 16th.

Match line up


#1 Erzhan Tokotaev; #10 Mirlan Murzaev , #3 Tamirlan Kozubaev , #4 Khristiian Brauzman, #8 Farkhat Musabekov, #11 Bekzkhan Sagynbaev, #12 Odilzhon A., #18 Kairat Zhyrgalbek Uulu, #23 Erbol Atabaev, #24 Eldar Moldozhunusov, #25 Atai Dzhumashev

7 Rustamov
5 Akmatov
9 Batyrkanov


#1 Faisal Ahmad Hamid, #4 Mahboob Hanifi, #3 Amanullah Dardari, #3 Hussain Alizadeh, #5 Farzad Ataei, #10 Mohammad Noman, #12 Moshtaq Baset, #15 Yar Mohammad Zakarkhil, #16 Taufee Skandari, #7 Yama Sherzad, #18 Amiruddin Sharifi

20 Fareed
11 Hussain

Ghalenoei announces the initial squad for CAFA Championship 2023

In preparation for the inaugural Central Asian Football Association championship in Kyrgyzstan, Amir Ghalenoei, the head coach of Team Melli, has selected an initial list of 24 players who will form the initial squad with the group scheduled to start a mini camp on Sunday.

The players invited to the camp are :

Payam Niazmand (Sepahan), Mohammad Reza Akhbari (Tractor), Hossein Pourhamidi (Aluminum)

Ehsan Haj Safi (A.K. Athens, Greece), Mohammad Naderi (Altaispor, Turkey), Ehsan Hosseini (Arak Aluminum), Mohammad Daneshgar (Sepahan), Hossein Kananizadegan (Al Ahli Qatar), Arif Agassi (Foolad Khuzestan), Amir Mehdi Janmelki (Nasiji Mazandarane), Mehdi Tikdari (Gol Gohar Sirjan), Ramin Rezaian (Sepahan) Gholamreza Thabit Imani (Peykan), Alireza Alizadeh (Gol Gohar Sirjan), Omid Nourafken (Sepahan),

Mohammad Karimi (Sepahan), Amir Hossein Hosseinzadeh (Charloei, Belgium), Mehran Ahmadi (Malavan), Mohammad Javad Mohammadi (Hawadar), Shahab Zahedi (Puscas), Mehdi Memizadeh (Sanat Naft Abadan), Mohammad Ghanbari (Tractor), Mohammad Reza Azadi (Arak Aluminum) and Reza Asadi (Tractor)

These players are to introduce themselves to the national team’s coaching staff on Sunday, June 4th. Also, the selected players from Esteghlal and Persepolis along with Mehdi Taremi, Saeed Ezzatollahi, Sadegh Moharrami, Sardar Azmoun, and Majid Hosseini will be added to the national team after the end of the mini camp due to the late ending of the season for those players.

A specific training program will be considered for the aforementioned players during the rest period at the end of the season. Allahyar Sayadmanesh is absent from this camp due to a marriage ceremony outside Iran and with the permission of the head coach and will be added to the camp in the next stage based on the opinion of the head coach of the national team. Shoja Khalilzadeh and Ahmad Nourollahi are both suffering injuries and will be dealt with by the medical staff of the national team with a decision to be made about them before the trip to Kyrgyzstan.

Team Melli’s CAFA Nations Cup 2023 matches

13 June 2023
Iran  v  Afghanistan
    Dolen Omurzakov StadiumBishkek

16 June 2023
Kyrgyzstan  v  Iran
    Dolen Omurzakov StadiumBishkek

CAFA Championship to be held in Jume 2023 and Team Melli will be there too.

FFIRI website has officially confirmed Team Melli’s participation in the CAFA Championship to be held in June 2023.

The 2023 CAFA Championship will be the 1st edition of the CAFA Championship, the biennial international men’s football championship of Central Asia organized by the Central Asian Football Association (CAFA). The event will be held in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan from 9 June to 21 June. Iran, Kyrgyzstan (Host), Russia (invitee), Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan (Host) will form the two-group championship.

This championship which was been on and off several times was first supposed to be played in Uzbekistan in 2018, however, it was never played for various reasons. Even this current one was under doubt until the announcement by FFIRI. Iran is in the first pot of the draw along with Russia according to FIFA Ranking. It is expected that another invitee team will join the championship. This will be a good test for Amir Ghalnoei in preparation for the AFC Asian Cup 2023.

Russia negotiating with UEFA and FIFA on their future.

The Russian Football Union (RFU) is negotiating with FIFA and UEFA to retain eligibility to participate in competitions with friendlies already lined up.

The Russian team will play a friendly match against Iran in Tehran on March 23 and are also due to face Iraq on March 26 in the city of Saint Petersburg.

They will also be participating in the Championship of the Central Asian Football Association, which will involve Tajikistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan, and is due to be held from June 9 to 21 in Bishkek and Tashkent.

FIFA and UEFA were both on the list of sports associations that banned the Russians for the invasion of Ukraine on February 21 2022.

The ban was imposed exactly one week later on February 28.

The Russian national team was due to face Poland in a qualifier for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, with the winner going on to face Sweden for a spot in the finals, but the ban took effect before the match and Poland got a pass through the round.

Russia were disqualified from the 2022 World Cup when they were two wins away from claiming a spot ©Getty Images
Russia were disqualified from the 2022 World Cup when they were two wins away from claiming a spot ©Getty Images


Since the ban, the Russian national football team have participated in three friendlies, defeating Kyrgyzstan 2-1 in Bishkek and drawing with Tajikistan in Dushanbe and Uzbekistan in Tashkent, with both matches ending goalless.

Denis Rogachev, the RFU deputy secretary general, spoke on the current state of the national team in a meeting of the State Duma Committee on Physical Culture and Sports.

“The activity of the national team is not frozen,” Rogachev said, as reported by Russia’s official state news agency TASS.

“It has suffered greatly, we do not experience a flow of people who want to play with us. This is a very difficult negotiation process, negotiations are underway to participate in the Championship of the Central Asian Football Association in June. We have retained corporate rights to participate in FIFA and UEFA, but we are negotiating with colleagues about a phased return to competition.”

“I can’t add anything new. ”

The RFU had an appeal to return to FIFA and UEFA rejected by the CAS in May 2022 ©Getty Images
The RFU had an appeal to return to FIFA and UEFA rejected by the CAS in May 2022 ©Getty Images

“A working group has been created, a negotiation process is underway with UEFA and FIFA on a phased return. “A FIFA Congress was held in Africa, and there will be elections of the UEFA President, which we will attend.

“The process of restoring our rights as a priority option provides for keeping us in European football, but all scenarios are being considered.” The RFU attempted to appeal to overturn the ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), but failed to meet the deadline for the filing of the complaint. The CAS already rejected the return of Russia to tournaments in May 2022 after a majority vote by members on the matter.

The 2018 World Cup hosts will be looking to return to international competitions, as well as competitions for their club teams such as the UEFA Champions League.

A friendly international match against Russia is announced.


The Russian football federation has announced upcoming friendly matches against Kyrgyzstan and Iran, with the latter likely to take place in Tehran, according to reports.

Russian teams at all levels remain banned from UEFA and FIFA competitions following the onset of Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine – a situation that prevented the Russian team from attempting to qualify for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

But they can play friendly internationals and will take on an Iran team that will play at the World Cup in a group alongside the USA, England, and Wales.

The Iranians will host the Russian team managed by Valeri Karpin in a game planned for November, with a date and location to be confirmed but which will likely take place in Tehran, according to Match TV.

The match against Kyrgyzstan is scheduled for September 24 in Bishkek’s Dolen Omurzakov Stadium and will be the first football meeting at this level between the two nations.  

The coaching staff of the Russian national team is happy to have the opportunity to get together again and hold a full-fledged training camp,” said manager Karpin, who later announced a provisional 35-man squad for the meeting with Kyrgyzstan.

“Iran are a World Cup participant, a team with a good rating. There are questions about the dates of the matches, Iran plays the first match on November 21 at the World Cup [against England].

“Negotiations are underway,” added Karpin when asked about an exact date.

Russian official outlines plan to tackle UEFA & FIFA bans

The Russian national team has not played since a World Cup qualifying defeat to Croatia in Split back in November.

That loss ended their hopes of qualifying directly for Qatar, although Russia was due to play Poland in a European qualifying playoff semifinal in Moscow in March, before a potential qualifying final against Sweden or the Czech Republic.

Russia is currently ranked number 35 in FIFA’s men’s ratings, with Iran in the 22nd spot and Kyrgyzstan down in 95th.

Perfect start for Iran U19 starts with a solid win vs Kyrgyzstan

Iran’s U19 national football team started the qualification for the final tournament in a positive manner defeating a stubborn 3-0 in the match held today Wednesday in Pas stadium in Ekbatan.

This is the first victory of the team coached by Sirous

The AFC Asian U19 Youth Championship Group D  qualifying match between Iran and Kyrgyzstan ended goal-less. Both teams efforts to score were futile with some of their best chances to score wasted as neither could find the opener as the score remained 0-0 at half-time.

In the second half, the tide changed and the stubborn defensive game-plan of  Kyrgyzstan crumbled early. The second half started with Iran’s pressing hard to break the deadlock. In  the53rd minute Iran scored the opener.  Aria Barzegar jumped above the defenders to finish off Ahmad Reza Jalali’s perfect delivery from the left flank.

The goal spurred Seyyed Akbar PourMousavi’s side to push forward as they dominated the game and their persistence paid off in the 78th minute when Alireza Monazami rose highest to head home Iran’s second goal. It was a well-taken header, as Monazami managed to increase the deficit for his team.

 Yassin Salmani sealed the match for the host in the 82nd minute. Salmani cooly slotted the penalty spot-kick to make it 3-0.

Despite the good result, Pourmousavi’s team lacked good finishing. There were individual flashes of good moves by the young players but as a cohesive unit, it seems that the team needs much more time to gel. Kyrgyzstan team was defensively strong with good physical shapes. The team was mostly dependent on their defensive play including some rough handling of the Iranian forwards. Despite their good efforts, especially in the 1st half, the team lacked punch upfront and were technically weak in ball handling. Their aerial defences left a lot to be desired.

 With this result, Iran is in the second in Group D by goal difference. Kyrgyzstan will meet UAE next while Iran will face off against Nepal on Friday at 17:45

Iran and Qatar to meet in a friendly

Team Melli will probably be playing its last preparation match against Qatar on the last day of the year to complete its schedule before flying to the UAE to compete in the AFC Asian Cup 2019.

The Qatar Football Association has announced the program for its national team which includes four matches against Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Algeria and Iran.

Team Melli will be playing against Trinidad and Venezuela before meeting Qatar.

There was no confirmation from FFIRI on this match., but that is pretty much expected.

Mohammad Tayebi, Foolad Khuzestan & Team Melli Central defender has transferred to Qatar FC for an undisclosed sum.

The big defender who made his debut for Team Melli against Kyrgyzstan on 7th .Jun 2016 is the first foreign player on the list of the Qatar Star League side coached by the Argentine Gabriel Calderón

Tayebi (30 years) will be playing in a pivotal role for Qatar SC which plays in their  Suheim Bin Hamad Stadium, in Doha