Tag: Skopje

Team Melli returns to Tehran to prepare for Kyrgyzstan.

Team Melli landed in the early hours of  Sunday morning in Tehran returning from Skopje , Macedonia via Istanbul airport. After the 3-1 win against Macedonia , Team Melli stayed in the country and continued training and preparation for the upcoming friendly international against Kyrgyzstan.

So far , all the squad members are in a good condition with no injury reported. The squad will stay in the hotel until the match day on Tuesday 7th June. The match will be played in Azadi Stadium at 21:00 local time (15:30 GMT).



The two neighboring countries have a very few number of games between them and no friendly matches at all. This is the first time the two teams are meeting in a friendly. The only two matches played were during the FIFA World Cup 1998 Asian Zone qualifiers were Team Melli came out comfortable winners in both matches.

Karim Bagheri tops the scoring against Kyrgyzstan with 3 goals in 2 matches while Khodadad Azizi has two goals.

Kyrgyzstan had a bit of a revival recently and despite failing to make the top 10 teams in the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifiers, their performances were good enough to worry the opponents and never were the punching bag team of the group as some predicted. Their best achievement was defeating Jordan in the qualifiers 1-0 , the goal scored by Anton Zemlianukhin.

Kyrgyzstan never qualified for any major tournament since independence from the Soviet Union in 1992. Their biggest defeat remains the 7-0 drubbing by Iran in Damascus.

one of the promising players emerging in Kyrgyzstan  is the young  Akhlidin Israilov who is playing for the second string team of mighty Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine. There are several national team players who play their football outside of Kyrgyzstan but none at major teams.



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Venue Matches W D L Goals + / –
H 1 1 0 0 3 – 1 +2
A 0 0 0 0 0 – 0 +0
N 1 1 0 0 7 – 0 +7
Total 2 2 0 0 10 – 1 +9
Date Comp. venue  score Stadium Attendance
09.06.1997 WC Qualifier
H 3 – 1 Azadi – Tehran 50000
04.06.1997 WC Qualifier N 7 – 0 Abbasyeen Stadium , Damascus 25000


Iran’s golden boy scores a hat trick against Macedonia

Sardar Azmoun scored a hat trick, his first at international level to lead Team Melli 3-1 against Macedonia in the match played At Philip II stadium at Skopje.

Azmoun scored early in the 8th minute from an assist by Dejagah , however the host quickly replied back and scored the equalizer in the 10th minute by A. Trajkovski assisted by I. Tričkovski

The parity however did not last long as once again Sardar Azmoun pounced on an easy opportunity to beat S. Dimitrievski with an easy shoot from Hajsafy’s assist.  The half time finished 1-2 for Iran although Team Melli could have still added another goal.

In the second half Macedonia rested their star player Pandev and made a few changes but to no avail as The star of the Team was on a roll. Assisted by the fine pass of Saeed Ezatollahei , Azmoun found himself one on one from the through ball with only the keeper to beat. The FC Rostov top scorer finished immaculately to make it 3-1 for Team Melli. Azmoun was subbed in the 64th minute with Karimi Ansarifard who had a good season in the Greek League himself. Ansarifard managed to score a goal but it was disallowed for offside.

The result was never in doubt as Queiroz stuck to his game plan of building a solid defense and packing the midfield to feed the brilliant Azmoun. The result was a fine win for Team Melli against a European opponent , albeit not a very high ranked team. On the other hand South Korea was humiliated by Spain  6-1 in their international friendly in Switzerland.

Team Melli’s next friendly is against Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday.


Macedonia vs. Iran


Team Melli carried out its last practice session on Wednesday in Skopje’s main Stadium Philip II in preparation for the game against host Macedonia in the friendly international on Thursday.

The training session led by Carlos Queiroz was mostly light drills including acceleration practise, shooting and group passing. This was the only practise for the match stadium which will kick off at 1730 local time  (20:00 Tehran Time)

Macedonia played against Azerbaijan on Sunday winning 3-1 with goals scored by M. Radeski, Goran  Pandev and  Nestorovski .  The 32 years superstar of the team and Captain Goran Pandev  is the most senior player and plays in Italy with Genoa. 

Team Melli will be playing with the same usual line up possibly with two attackers, Azmoun and Taremi. However , Queiroz might find it more appropriate to solidify his midfield which could relegate Taremi to the bench while leaving Azmoun to spearhead the attack.

The absence of Teymourian could be significant loss , however there are plenty of good options for Queiroz in the midfield area although none has the experience of Teymourian. Ashkan Dejagah will be leading from the midfield.

Goalkeeping remains the most critical of the lines with 3 options that have not been performing up to a satisfactory level. Queiroz will be working extra to ensure a solid defense line featuring  Hosseini , Montazeri in the middle of the defense while Hajsafy will occupy the left back position and Rezaeian on the right. 

This will be the 4th match between Macedonia and Iran at full international level. The honors are even between the teams with a win each and one draw.


MACEDONIA  141        –       IRAN   42


Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Club
GK Stole Dimitrievski 25 December 1993 (age 22) Spain Granada B
GK Igor Aleksovski 24 February 1995 (age 21) Republic of Macedonia Makedonija Gj. P.
DF Vanche Shikov 19 July 1985 (age 30) Austria Austria Wien
DF Stefan Ristovski 12 February 1992 (age 24) Croatia Rijeka
DF Kire Ristevski 22 October 1990 (age 25) Hungary Vasas
DF Leonard Zhuta 9 August 1992 (age 23) Croatia Rijeka
DF Darko Velkovski 21 June 1995 (age 20) Republic of Macedonia Vardar
DF Egzon Bejtulai 7 January 1994 (age 22) Republic of Macedonia Shkendija
DF Gjoko Zajkov 10 February 1995 (age 21) Belgium Charleroi
MF Ivan Trichkovski 18 April 1987 (age 29) Cyprus AEK Larnaca
MF Aleksandar Trajkovski 5 September 1992 (age 23) Italy Palermo
MF David Babunski 1 March 1994 (age 22) Serbia Red Star
MF Enis Bardhi 2 July 1995 (age 20) Hungary Újpest
MF Bojan Najdenov 27 August 1991 (age 24) Republic of Macedonia Rabotnichki
MF Nikola Gjorgjev 22 August 1997 (age 18) Switzerland Grasshopper
MF Boban Nikolov 28 July 1994 (age 21) Republic of Macedonia Vardar
MF Dejan Peshevski 5 August 1993 (age 22) Slovakia Podbrezová
FW Goran Pandev (Captain) 27 July 1983 (age 32) Italy Genoa
FW Ilija Nestorovski 12 March 1990 (age 26) Croatia Inter Zaprešic
FW Marjan Radeski 10 February 1995 (age 21) Republic of Macedonia Shkendija


Venue Matches W D L Goals + / –
H 3 1 1 1 5 – 4 +1
A 0 0 0 0 0 – 0 +0
N 0 0 0 0 0 – 0 +0
Total 3 1 1 1 5 – 4 +1


Date Comp. H / A / N Final score Stadium Attendance
18.11.2009 Friendly H 1 – 1 Azadi Stadium – Tehran 1000
11.11.2005 Friendly / Tehran Intl. Tournament H 1 – 2 Azadi Stadium, Tehran. 27000
09.06.2000 Others / LG CUP H 3 – 1 Azadi – Tehran 40000

Queiroz “We will request to move Qatar match to Tabriz”

Team Melli head coach suggested that the first match against Qatar in the final rounds of FIFA World Cup 2018 should be moved to Tabriz’z Yadegar Imam  stadium because of friendlier atmosphere!

“I have asked Mr. Taj to move our match against Qatar to Tabriz because they treat us much better there.”  Queiroz said in a statement to the press after the conclusion of the Team Melli practise session in Azadi this afternoon.  Iran has always played major Team Melli games in Tehran’s Azadi Stadium. The last time a match was played in Tabriz was 16 years ago. A decision to move to Tabriz, would should surely antagonize Queiroz fans in Tehran. Queiroz did not mention how he figured out the friendlier atmosphere in Tabriz while he never experienced playing there with Team Melli.

Queiroz who is never far from controversy , hostility and a battles against his alleged enemies, also had some harsh words for the Manager of Azadi sport complex. He accused the person without naming him of being an enemy of Team Melli  and treating his squad with contempt.! 

It is believed that this idea of moving to Tabriz is more directed to the alleged bad treatment of the stadium  management rather than the fans sentiments.

Queiroz said that he will be taking 24 players to Macedonia for the friendly international in Skopje. The final list has not been produced yet pending health report and injury condition on couple of the players.

Queiroz also said that he will present a comprehensive report on the new Team Melli kit to Mehdi Taj , the head of IRIFF , however he declined to disclose any details. Team Melli has just changed its kit to a little known Italian kit supplier.

When confronted by a journalist about his broad and repetitive accusations, a defiant Queiroz admitted that but said “I know that I have been repeating the same things over and over again for a few years now, but as long as these people (…) are there and acting hostile , I will talk. No body can stop me from talking against them and exposing them!”

It is clear that no one seems to dare to stop the Portuguese from trash talking , and it is also clear that many are tired of his rhetorics, however , what really matters is how he will lead his team in the World Cup qualifiers. The competition is tough but Iran is well capable of making the trip to Russia if the Portuguese plays his cards right and not come up with the excuses such as Qatar and China are rich and investing!


Team Melli upcoming friendly internationals.

With so much rumors and uncertainties around Carlos Queiroz , Team Melli might very well be facing Croatia and FYR Macedonia without a permanent coach.

Team Melli is scheduled to play the Croatian national team in its first international football match ever in the northern city of Koprivnica in May.

The friendly international at the end of May is part of the build up for the host to Euro 2016 in France.  While Team Melli would be using this match for its own build up for the third round of FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifiers. The match will be the first to be hosted in the city and Koprivnica.

Croatia and Iran have met twice before in friendlies. Croatia won 2-0 just before France ’98 in Rijeka and the two sides played out a 2-2 draw in Osijek in a warm-up before the World Cup in 2006 in Germany.

Team Melli is scheduled to meet Macedonia in Skopje on 4th June after the Croatia match.

With the recent outburst of  Carlos Queiroz and his contempt against the Secretary General of the FFIRI, the Portuguese coach has clearly paved the way for his exit from Team Melli. Queiroz has become a divisive figure in Iranian football. There are those who strongly support him , and that would normally be the fans who do not have any voting power, and those who do not stand him for his brash and abrasive style. The latter category would be the ones with power and close to decision makers.

As of now, it is question of waiting time.