Tag: Sardar Azmout

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.

A deserved 3-0 win for Team Melli vs. Iraq

Three beautiful goals, 3 precious points, and one hell of a polished performance were the result of Team Melli’s game against Iraq on Tuesday evening. Iran beat Iraq 3-0 on Matchday 2 of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 to lead the table with maximum points.

Team Melli opened the scoring as early as the third minute from a brilliant piece of play started by one of the match stars Omid Noorafkan. From the left flank, Noorafkam sent a perfectly weighted ball to Taremi who was acting as a wing. Without much hassle, Taremi crossed to the onrushing  Alireza Jahanbkash. Team Melli Captain headed a powerful ball into the goal with Iraq keeper Fahad Taleb could only parry into his own net.

In the minutes after the goal, Iraq took control of the game with surprising ease, however, none of their efforts was towards the goal as Beiravand had the quietest period. But that ball possession for Iraq did not last long as Team Melli took control of the midfield quite logically with Noorollahi and Amiri playing a vital role. Iraq lost Bashar Resan midway through the half due to injury.

Sardar Azmoun could have made the score 2-0 after a perfect diagonal pass from Noorollahi, another star of the match, from the right. Azmoun met the ball and released a powerful low shot, this time however Fahad Taleb was ready for it and saved brilliantly.

The start of the second saw Iraq put the ball into the net as early as the 2nd minute to return the compliment, but the goal was ruled offside by the linesman and the VAR confirmed the right decision has been taken by the Chinese referee.

From then on, both teams battled for the ball, especially in the midfield. Iran looked like the more organized side, with some neat passing and swift counterattacks. The enthusiastic Iraqi’s looked naive in defending and from a ball that was just going dead for an outside throw, Azmoun controlled it and despite two markers, he sent a superb ball all the way to the box where Taremi was lurking. The Porto striker brilliantly controlled the ball, ran a meter or two, and slotted the ball between the onrushing Iraq keeper’s legs, it was 2-0.

The third goal came late in the game with Iraqi players tiring, this time Karim Ansarifard, a late substitute did another Azmoun trick but from the opposite side, the ball reached Ali Ghlozadeh, himself a late substitute. The Chareloi midfielder received the ball well and dribbled Dhargam Ismael, his marker in one smooth move and easily slotted home past Fahad Taleb.

It wasn’t that difficult after all. Team Melli did not leave much for the critics. All the players did their job well, Although Aref Aghasi was short of experience and confidence being his debut match at an important match, he defended well and managed some shy incursions forward, too.

The two outstanding players were Noorollahi and Omid Noorafkan. The central defenders were solid as a rock and very little passed them. Amiri was a menace to the Iraqi and must be given a special mention.

Iran now leads the table with six points and a goal difference of +4 ahead of second-ranked team South Korea.