Tag: Syria

What is required for Qatar?

Team Melli’s done it again, folks — they’ve blasted their way into the semi-finals of the AFC Asian Cup in Qatar, just like they pulled off in 2019. And guess what? They’re just one heart-thumping match away from hitting the finals for the first time in a whopping 48 years. Feels like forever since they last made it this far back in 1976, right?

So, mark your calendars for Wednesday, because Iran’s squaring off against the home team, Qatar, in the semis. And yeah, while we did give them a 4-0 drubbing recently in Amman, don’t kid yourself thinking this rematch is in the bag. We’re talking about a fresh showdown at Al Thumama Stadium, and this ain’t gonna be a walk in the park. We’re in for a slugfest that’s gonna be gritty, fierce, and all kinds of intense. And if it comes down to penalties, you better buckle up — it’s gonna be edge-of-your-seat stuff. All that jazz about Iran’s past domination? Throw it out the window, because when that whistle blows, it’s anybody’s game.

 It is a new chapter and a new game.

The heartwarming aspect from inside the camp is that Coach Ghalenoei has acknowledged the significance of psychology within his squad. While the emotional side of the game hasn’t traditionally been a strong point for the Iranian team, their recent victory against Japan showcased the grit, determination, and discipline of Team Melii players. As they face Qatar, who have the home advantage and crowd support, maintaining this mental fortitude will be crucial. In terms of player abilities and skills, Team Melli holds a clear edge. However, the potential pitfall lies in other factors that could affect their performance.

The physical side of the game is also an advantage for Iran, What are the potential fail points, though, are these factors:

  •  Arrogance
  •  Undermining the opposition
  •  Discipline failure.

Although the technical and tactical aspects of the game are important, Ghalenoei has greatly improved his reputation in this tournament by making smart decisions even under pressure. It is hoped that he will continue to follow this strategy and build upon it in the final match. This game will be crucial in terms of mental preparedness and emotional intelligence, as even a single mistake could mean the end of the team’s dreams. Iran has come close to advancing to the finals and winning the title in many AFC Asian Cups, but has always fallen short. However, a great team can create its own luck and emerge victorious despite any setbacks. Considering the fact that this match is being hosted by Qatar, it is likely that the refereeing may be biased towards them. It is important for the players to understand this and avoid making unnecessary protests against the referee. Additionally, the use of VAR technology may also work against Team Melli.

The defenders must be extra careful not to commit fouls in the penalty area. In the last five games, two penalties have been called against Iran, and such statistics are considered risky. Players’ behavior is of utmost importance.
The sweet win against Japan should not overshadow the fact that Team Melli still has problems in several areas. Players need to forget Japan completely and prepare for Qatar. Japan is history, and the result will not guarantee success against Qatar, which is ranked 58, 37 ranks below Iran (ranked 21).

Throughout various matches, we’ve observed Team Melli perform inconsistently, sometimes playing well in the first half and poorly in the second, or vice versa. It’s crucial for Ghaleneoi to not only select the best players but also to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the Qatar team and choose players who are better suited to face their style of play, even if they are not necessarily the most skilled players in the squad.

Qatar is expected to employ a similar strategy to Syria, which involves maintaining a compact defense and relying on its fast forwards for quick counterattacks. This tactic was successful for Syria, as they were able to frustrate Iran. It is crucial for all Team Melli players to be aware of these tactics, and patience will be essential in this match. This game presents the best chance for Iran to qualify for the finals of the Asian Cup, and it would be a shame to see this opportunity lost due to careless mistakes that have been made before.

Why the shortfalls in Team Melli?

It was a difficult win for Team Melli against Syria. We have expected as much from a resolute team with a shrewd Argentine coach who has tons of experience at the international level. Syria performed as expected. Tight and compact defending with an eye on the counterattack against an aging and slow Iranian defense.  

That is exactly what happened in the match. Team Melli had difficulty breaking the Syrian defenses, and when they did, the finishing was poor. The surprise or more precisely, the disappointment was the performance deterioration of the senior players of Team Melli. While there was so much expected of the stars such as Taremi, Ghoddos, Rezaeian, and Azmoun, the return was less than desirable.

Nowadays, it seems that it is anyone’s guess which Team Melli will turn up at a match. They have been inconsistent varying from the embarrassing to excellent. On Wednesday, the match contained all the elements in 180 minutes of play.

It all started brightly and looked promising for Team Melli. The players distributed the ball elegantly, the passing was accurate so was the interplay, they managed to break the Syrian defense several times but poor final ball and finishing was a serious flaw in what was a good first half.

In the first 15 minutes of the second half, it was a repeat of the first until that penalty incident on the hour.

Slowly but surely, the performance deteriorated. Profligate, a touch of arrogance, and a lack of application marred Team Melli’s performance. When simple passing was much more productive than sending the ball across the field when standing your ground during a tackle is more beneficial than diving, and when covering an opponent seems to be basic and more important than going forward and leaving a wide space behind, those were the elementary errors committed by many of the Iranian players.

Beiranvand was the rescuer of the team when he saved a penalty, but he was guilty of a wild unnecessary tackle on the Syrian player during the game. Taremi is a well-known diver. It is his trademark and by doing so in front of an eagle-eyed Korean referee, he got himself into trouble and a yellow card. By the end of the regulation time, that cheating got quite expensive for Team Melli as his holding of the Syrian player to prevent a counterattack, got him the second yellow and was dismissed. Iran was down to 10 players for 10 minutes of added time and the whole of the extra time!

Azmoun looked like a player who was strange to international football. He could not make any of his shots on goal count. When he had the chance (s) it was feeble kicks straight at the Syrian keeper.

Ghoddos who is supposed to be the dynamo of the team was neutralized and failed to offer anything of significance. At times he was seen strolling in the park! Rezaeian, so pacey, so precise in his crosses was error-prone, inaccurate, and at times far too overhyped for nothing.

Khalilzadeh was gallant, but it was his mistake that led to the penalty by Beirnavand who tripped the Syrian Sabbagh.

Ezatollahi, always a weak link in Team Melli, was unconvincing in front of an opponent that lacked firepower. Time and again he lost positions and the one-to-one duels once again showing that this post requires a player several notches above what Ezatollahi is capable of providing. Jahanbakhsh was much better than his last few matches but still failed to make an impact.

Gholizadeh was a revelation but did not last long as the substitute was substituted. Ghalenoei needs to readdress such a futile move.

The fans and critics have the right to wonder, what was going on with Team Melli?

Factually, Iran had more than 70% of the ball in the first half. They were the dominant team, creating chance after chance but the finishing was weak and lacked accuracy and resolve. There is even a hint that the Iranian Players took the Syrians too lightly.

There comes the role of a strong Manager-Coach. Was the team ill-prepared for this match? Was the team’s physiological preparation adequate for such an important clash?

There is a hint from the post-match remarks that Ghaleneoi was less than happy with the player’s attitude and he specifically singled out the senior players without naming them. It was a breath of fresh air for an Iranian coach to spell the beans and criticize the performance of players when they failed to deliver. The usual narrative of “Our players were excellent”, “ it was only bad luck that we lost”, “The referee was against us”, and “the pitch was too rough and the sky was cloudy.” is such a tedious repetition and insult to fans intelligence that no person pays any attention too anymore.

Ghalneoei must be given some credit for that. He should be using the hair-dryer approach against any poorly performing player, even to the extent of benching them. It is about time that such elements be put down in their place.  

We must not forget the role of the local media in the complacency of Team Melli who have never failed to over-hype Team Melli and its players.  Such praises end up fueling players’ arrogance on and off the field. I have heard ridiculous claims on TV and read much such nonsense in the press glorifying Team Melli. The little true journalism that is published, the ones that truly reflect the status of the team is buried under the huge piles of praise and glory for Team Melli and derision and belittling of opponents. The biggest example was the CAFA league which exposed this mentality.

All that does not mean that Team Melli is bad, in fact, it is still a force to reckon with in Asia. Japan will be a great test of character for all involved. In two days, not much can be mended, however, a good serious talk and a few tactical adjustments will do a world of good for the squad. In Taremi’s absence, perhaps a major tactical change is required. This time, there is no fear of undermining the opponent as the players and the managers all know that they are facing a mighty team, admittedly better than Team Melli in many departments.

Ghalenoei “Some of our players have inappropriate behaviour”

In the post-match press conference following Iran’s win against Syria in the round of 16, Team Melli head coach, Amir Ghalenoei, breathed a sigh of relief and admitted it was a difficult win despite his team being superior to the Syrians.

“thank God that we managed to qualify for the quarterfinals. I would like to thank all the players of the national team for their tremendous efforts in this game. Even with one player down, we managed to control the game and even had more chances.”

He added: ” We should have finished this match with a difference of four or five goals. I think it was one of our best games of the competition until we conceded the goal. Unfortunately, some players played in a way that put pressure on the national team. This look down and some inappropriate behavior of some players should be resolved in our team and we should address such negative attitude and this behavior before the next match “.

Iran qualify for the Quarter-Finals of the AFC Asian Cup 2023

Team Melli defeated Syriain a cesarean style after a penalty shootout in Doha, this evening in the last match of Round 16 stage of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023. The match ended 1-1 after extra time.

Team Melli was the much better side during the match and had over 70% of ball possession in the first half. Mehdi Taremi won a penalty in the 34th minute which he converted himself to score his third goal of the tournament.

However, despite the superiority in every department, the forwards wasted many chances to score. Taremi and Azmoun were guilty of some glaring misses. The second half was another. The turning point was right on the hour when a loose ball from the center towards Iran’s goal, was headed by Shoja’a Khalilzadeh right in the path of the Syrian winger Pablo Sabbagh in the 6-yard area. Beiranvand, rushing out to block Sabbagh, looked like he fouled him but the Korean referee called it a goal kick. VAR referee asked the the referee to review the footage after which he reversed his earlier decision and announced a penalty while awarding Beiranvand a yellow card for his reckless tackle.

Omer Khrbin easily dispatched the penalty to make it 1-1.

Team Melli’s profligacy continued after the Syrian equalizing goal as the players lost concentration. Mehdi Taremi was yellow-carded for one of his famous simulations in the Syrian penalty area. That card was to prove quite costly near the end of the match. Three other players got yellow-carded in that period.

The profligacy of Iranian players continued with many chances missed in front of the goal. Then came the final minute of the match during a Syrian counter-attack, where a Syrian winger, dribbled past the defense and was heading towards the goal. Mehdi Taremi grabbed the player and fouled him, giving the Korean referee no choice but to award Taremi the second yellow and subsequently, the Porto player got his marching order. Team Melli played 10 minutes of added time plus the 30 extra minutes with one man down.

Despite the extra man, Syrial hardly created any serious threats on Beiranvand’s goal, while Ansarifard and Mohebbi made life difficult for the Syrian backs and the Keeper in extra time.

In the penalty kicks, Alireza Beiranvand redeemed himself and saved a penalty while all the Iranian players scored theirs.

Iran will meet Japan in the quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup 2023.


K. Ansarifard 1 – 0 1 – 1 Pablo Sabbag
R. Rezaeian 2 – 1 2 – 1 Fahd Youssef X
O. Ebrahimi 3 – 1 3 – 2 Aiham Ousou
M. Torabi 4 – 2 4 – 3 Alaa Al Dali
E. Hajisafi 5 – 3

Ghalenoei: “We have no problems in our defense!”

Asian Cup at 19:30 on Wednesday, 11th of Bahman in the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha. 

Amir Ghalenoei, attended a press conference before the game with Syria on Tuesday afternoon and brief the press on the status and conditions of his team for the then proceeded to answer the questions by reporters.

Syria is a team with a great coach

Team Melli’s head coach said “Considering the knowledge we have of the great head coach of the Syrian team and the players of this team, we know that we will have one of the most difficult games ahead of us. They only concede a single goal in the group stage, which shows that they have a good defensive structure. We are playing against a hardworking team. We must run and focus so that we can implement our tactical plans with the least mistakes.

We have learned the necessary lessons 

Emphasizing that his team is ready for the match against Syria, Ghalenoei continued: “Iran’s national team has great players, of course, in order to achieve success, we must have good quality and play with focus. The previous results and behaviors have taught us the necessary lessons. This issue has already shown itself in individual behaviors as well as team issues. Now we have to play with strength and concentration.”

We have changed our attitude 

About Syrian, he said “This team is very good in terms of defensive structure, but we have also made good progress. We have changed our attitude and moved from a defensive structure to attacking football with possession. This shows that we have been able to be effective in this time. In the club team, you can have 150 training sessions per year, but at the national team level, you cannot have more than 20 training sessions. We managed to change the attitude of the national team which was prevailing for several years.”

The goals we we conceded, had nothing to do with the defensive structure

About his team’s defensive problems: “The two goals we conceded in these games had nothing to do with our defensive structure or weakness. They were individual mistakes, which is also a part of football. We have to make people enjoy football. That’s why we have to play offensive in the match against Syria. The characteristic of Iranian football is that it must be present in the defensive third of the opponent and play offensively. We hope the players will implement the tactical orders on the field. have high concentration and minimize individual mistakes so that we can win with an acceptable performance.”

return to the events of the past ; I was wronged

In response to a journalist’s question about the events of his previous coaching in the 2007 Asian Cup, Ghalenoei said: “They brought a head coach in the worst possible situation, the federation did not have a president, football is suspended, two political groups were involved. A head coach comes, doesn’t lose, scores 11 points, and leaves the team without a loss. I wasn’t sad about being abandoned, I was sad about the cruelty that happened and the bad treatment I received.” 

They made a program and wrote 300 articles against me

Ghalenoei continued: “Nowhere in the world would they treat a coach who had taken over the team in such difficult situation treated me. There was a certain group that had a problem with me and they produced a TV program targeting me and wrote 300 articles against me. I was surprised myself. Certain political conditions prevailed in the country.

Do not break the sanctity of people

Ghaleneoi continued :” My request is that you treat people in such a way that we do not break the sanctity of people. I myself have left out many players, rightly or wrongly. But I have tried not to break anyone’s sanctity. I tried to be honest in my behavior. These players are really smart and intelligent and we have to be honest with them.”

We have no problem with the defense line 

Commenting about remarks in his defensive line up, lack of cohesion and defenders mistakes, he said ” Kananizadegan is a good player who will be absent in this match. However, we have good players that we can use. We also have good young players who can gradually join the team. We are not worried about the player who is unable to play because we can solve these problems by moving positions.


Azmoun receives a knock in training

While Team Melli was active yesterday in training sessions, preparing for the upcoming match in the AFC Asian Cup 2023 against Syria, the team’s forward Sardar Azmoun received a slight knock which forced him to leave the practice early and head for treatment room.

While the injury does not look serious, some media reports have already speculated that Azmoun might miss the clash with Syria on Wednesday.

There were no official statement by the team on Azmoun’s condition yet.

Iran will face Qatar in the Round of 16 match at Abdullah Bin Khalifa stadium , Doha , Qatar at 19:00 local time.

Syria: A difficult team to beat

. Iran needs various solutions against park the bus Syrian defense

. Syria will frustrate the Iranian forwards.

. Team Melli lacks prowess in the middle of the park.

On paper and form, Iran is the favorite to go through the round of 16 match against Syria on Wednesday. Everything is backing Team Melli from the head to head records to form, players ratings and anything in between. Frankly, it is hard to find any aspect of the Syrian team that can match Iran’s.

Football, however, is a strange game where forms and stars sometime lose their way in a match. Team Melli started brightly against Palestine, dispatching four goals in the process. Against Hong Kong, the Team was an embarrassment and perhaps even lucky not to come out with draw. Third time against the UAE, the team was back to its standard and perhaps unlucky not to score more than two goals.

Evaluating the performance of the Syrian team, their last 3 games were hardly impressing. However, it must be mentioned that in Héctor Raúl Cúper , they have a seasoned coach with an immense experience. at club and national teams levels. The Argentine, who at one stage coached Inter Milan , has moved eastward coaching Georgia, Egypt, Uzbekistan . Congo DR before settling in Syria. He is , perhaps, the Syrian team greatest asset.

Syria, just made it to in the knockout stage of the Asian Cup, after a narrow 0-1 loss to Australia, a goalless draw versus Uzbekistan and a narrow 1-0 win against India. The stats clearly says that there is not much fire power in the Syrian team scoring one goal in three matches to qualify, but on the other hand, they seem to have a solid defense that has conceded one goal only, a record which is better that Iran which has conceded two goals.

Clearly, this team excels in defending. Cuper is well aware of his team strength and will be repeating the same against Iran. Packed and tight defenses , double teaming the Iranian wingers and closing down the central defense will be the game plan for Syria. It will be a classic Italian style defense.

The Syrian players are physically and technically strong and can match the Iranians. What they lack, however, is the skills, experience and the team work of Iran. Ghalenoei, must have a pragmatic approach to this match and be prepared to change game plan and players’ options to counteract the tight defenses of Syria.

While Rezaeian will be a key provider of crosses on the right flank for Taremi and Azmoun, the lack of pace and skills of Ezatollahi to cover him, could prove costly in case of counter attacks by Syria. The same can be said on the left side of the defense where Hajsafi is venturing much less than usual but also has no real backing in case he decides to venture forward for crosses.

In fact, it there was a good defensive midfielder in the team, the central defenders would have benefitted a lot and their work cut short playing more comfortably at the back. This is probably the major shortfall of Team Melli right now. Feeble defensive midfield players.

Hossein Kanani is suspended for the match against Syria, which might be a good thing for Iran as he has been error prone in the las three matches. Majid Hosseini, and Shoja’a Khalilzadeh , although not familiar with each other, can still perform the job expected from them.

Saman Ghoddos, at his best, is a key player in Team Melli although , he does tend to drift in and out at times. His defense splitting passing is crucial, as well as the dribbling of Ghayedi and the crosses of Jahanbakhsh. Ghalenoei must introduce a variety of plans to put pressure on the Syrian defense.

Saeed Ezatollahi whose style of play is slow , destructive, and passes somewhat backwards, needs to be counted if he is picked as a starter. He has been one of the weaknesses in the line up as the squad does not have adequate coverage in this department. Cheshmi is more versatile and better defensive player, while Ebrahimi is stronger in tackles and more experienced but Ghalenoei somehow sees something in Ezatollahi that keeps him in the team as a regular starter. It is about time that this midfield performs it defensive duty to help the team and ease the pressure on the defenders.

Iran- Lebanon : Match preview

Mashhad: Lebanon will look to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, while Iran’s focus rests on clinching top spot in Group A when the two sides meet in their final AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar™ Group A fixture on Tuesday.
A 3-0 home loss to already-eliminated Syria last time out did severe damage to Lebanon’s hopes of reaching their first ever global Finals via June’s playoffs but results elsewhere mean Ivan Hašek’s retain a glimmer of hope going into Matchday 10.

Three points behind third-placed United Arab Emirates, and two short of fourth-placed Iraq, the Cedars can still claim the playoff spot for themselves should they defeat high-flying Iran, in addition to results in the group’s two other fixtures all their way.

Even the first element of that scenario is no easy task.


Team Melli hasn’t lost a FIFA World Cup Qualifier on home soil since November 2012 and has been similarly difficult to beat there in this campaign, with Son Heung-min the only player in Group A to find the back of the net for a visiting team in Iran.

Dragan Skočić’s side – who qualified for Qatar 2022 weeks ago – will welcome back Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who missed Thursday’s 2-0 defeat to the Korea Republic due to COVID-19, while Sardar Azmoun is expected to lead the line in the absence of Mehdi Taremi, who also returned a positive test prior to the match in Seoul.

But while the Iranian squad is filled with European-based stars, Lebanon’s biggest task may well be to overcome the disappointment of Thursday’s defeat.

With a playoff place on offer, the Cedars failed to perform in Saida, slumping to a disastrous 3-0 defeat to a side that had taken just two points from their previous eight matches in Group A.

That result came as a devastating blow, but Iraq’s win over the United Arab Emirates a few hours later meant that Lebanon’s campaign retains a sense, however slight, of final day optimism.

Hašek and his players may well take confidence from their earlier meeting with Iran, played last November, when a Soony Sadd goal had Lebanon 1-0 ahead going into second-half stoppage time, only for late goals from Azmoun and Ahmad Nourollahi to dramatically snatch all three points for the visitors.

The Lebanese outfit also seems to thrive away from home. While their five home games have produced only a solitary point, they have taken five from four matches on the road, with their only away defeat coming against group leaders the Korea Republic.

They have never beaten Team Melli in Iran, but they did famously claim a 1-0 win in a World Cup Qualifier in Beirut back in 2012.

If the Lebanese class of 2022 can shrug off the disappointment of last week’s defeat and produce a shock of their own, all eyes will turn to Dubai, where the results of both the United Arab Emirates and Iraq will reveal the final twist in what has been a dramatic Asian Qualifiers tale.



H / A / N Matches W D L Goals + / –
H 4 4 0 0 14 – 0 +14
A 6 4 1 1 13 – 3 +10
N 1 1 0 0 2 – 0 +2
Total 11 9 1 1 29 – 3 +26
Date Comp. H / A / N Final score Stadium Attendance
11.11.2021 World Cup Qualifier / Round 3 – Group A A 2 – 1 Saïda International Stadium (Saïda ) 100
19.11.2013 Asian Cup Qualifier A 4 – 1 Sports City, Beirut 0
11.06.2013 World Cup Qualifier H 4 – 0 Azadi Stadium, Tehran 91,300
06.02.2013 Asian Cup Qualifier / Group B H 5 – 0 Azadi Stadium, Tehran 19,733
11.09.2012 World Cup Qualifier A 0 – 1 Camille Chamoun Sports City, Beirut 10,000
17.06.2004 WAFF / WAFF H 4 – 0 Azadi Stadium, Tehran 40,000
28.11.2003 Asian Cup Qualifier H 1 – 0 Azadi Stadium, Tehran 20,000
19.11.2003 Asian Cup Qualifier A 3 – 0 Sports City, Beirut 5,000
03.09.2002 WAFF / Group 1 N 2 – 0 Al Abbassyin  Stadium, Damascus 2,000
12.10.2000 Asian Cup / Group A A 4 – 0 Sports City, Beirut 52,418
13.11.1996 Friendly / Friendly A 0 – 0 Beirut 50,000

Created by www.teammelli.com . All rights reserved © 2009 Team Melli Website – Updated Jan. 2022


Team Melli : FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers updates.

The preparation for Team Melli is on its way after the return of head coach Dragan Skocic from his homeland. The Croat coach will be preparing the final list for the upcoming matches vs. Iraq and the UAE on 27th January and 1st February respectively.

There is no major changes or surprises are expected from the new list and it is pretty certain that Mehdi Taremi who missed two matches of the qualifiers, will be invited back to the team. Barring any serious injuries, the squad list will be close to the last one.




                                                                            SAIDA MUNICIPAL STADIUM



Qualification possibilities.

With the 3rd rank team, UAE on 6 points, which is 10 points behind Iran, a win against Iraq will increase Iran’s points to 16 assuring qualification for the third consecutive FIFA World Cup. A win for UAE against Syria increases their point to 9, the maximum point the UAE can achieve from their remaining 3 matches is 9 only.

Team Melli will be highly motivated to register a win in Azadi and celebrate the early qualification.

Since the last two matches, the Legionnaire players have been al doing well except for a brief goal drought by Taremi, However, the Porto forward has scored in his last two consecutive matches  Azmoun is involved in a transfer struggle with Lyon being the most possible destination. Ansarifard and Hajsafy are well settled in AEK Athens and have been scoring goals too.




Iran injury vows continue. A key player in the Iraq team’s defensive line has been injured, and this has raised concerns for the team. Zargham Ismail,  is injured and will most probably not recover in time for the match against Iran, and Rabin Solaqa, another Iraqi defender who plays in the Thai league, is also infected with the Coronavirus, and there are rumors that he will not be invited to the squad. Mohammad Qasim is another key player for the Iraqis, who is also very unlikely to recover to play this crucial game. Iraqi is scheduled to play a friendly match against Uganda in Baghdad before facing Iran, after which it will depart for Tehran.

It is also believed from unofficial sources that the trio of the Iraqi national team players: Saad Natiq, Mohammad Daoud, and Alaa Mahawi, have outstanding administrative problems that prevent them from being selected for the squad to face Team Melli.


The team was in crisis after the humiliating 5-0 defeat against Qatar in the recently concluded Arab Cup. There were calls to sack Van Marwijc but the UAE FA did not find it appropriate to change the coach at this crucial stage of the competition.  UAE still stands a chance to qualify for the play-off if it can maintain the 3rd rank with 4 matches to go.

No major absentees have been announced but the final squad list for the two matches against Iraq and Iran have yet to be announced.



Bad news for the Koreans with their star player Son Hyung-min injury in the match against Chelse in Carabao cup semi-finals. Son will not be able to accompany his country’s national team for the World Cup qualifier due to due to a muscle injury according to the Tottenham Hotspur announcement.

Korea still has a good squad but the game against Lebanon in Sidon will be a tough test for the Koreans and three points is not a foregone conclusion. Korea Rep trails Iran by two pints at the top of the group.


The temporary committee in charge of managing the affairs of the Syrian Football Association announced that it had reached a final agreement with Romanian coach Tita Valerio, for the latter to continue coaching the Syrian national team, after long negotiations that brought the two sides together for more than 60 days.

For his part, Valerio confirmed that he will do his best to achieve what is required in the remaining matches in the Asian qualifiers of the World Cup, especially in the next two matches against the UAE and South Korea.

Tita indicated that he had contacted Omar Khribin and Omar Al-Soma, and confirmed the inclusion of the two strikers in the list of Syrian squad.

Meanwhile, the federation is active in recruiting players of Syrian origins in Europe. The Expatriate Committee has identified six such players of Syrian origin active in Europe, at the request of Romanian coach Valerio, who is looking into the possibility of utilizing their services in the remaining matches of World Cyp qualifiers.

Four players who are active in Sweden League: Matthias Behnan, Sherko Shehab, Almar Abraham, and Mark Gerges, have already completed the formalities and arrived in Aleppo to join the squad.

Players Rating : Syria vs. Iran

Team Melii players ended the match against Syria as clear winners. In arguably the best performances of the qualifiers, every player played his part well. Discipline, which marred the Team Melli performance on many previous matches, was excellent. No player was given a yellow card.

The absence of two key players in Jahanbakhsh, Taremi and Dragan Skoci on the bench, hardly dented the team display. This is evidence of a big team with a strong bench, with available players capable to replace any of their teammates no matter how important they have been. It proves that Team Melli reached a maturity that the absence of one or two key players hardly matters.

The individuals rating are as follows:

Amir ABEDZADEH:  [8.0] Was not really tested but when he was required to act, he did with confidence and control. His ball distribution and aerial balls collection was immaculate.

Shojaa KHALILZADEH  [7.8] As always, dependable and solid in defense forming a steadfast partnership and understanding with Kananizadeghan. Unlucky at set-pieces despite the large numbers of corners won by Team Melli.   
Sadegh MOHARRAMI:    [7.8] Effective as a wing-back despite the fact that he was less involved on the flanks from the previous match. Remains a valuable asset at right back.
Hossein KANANI-ZADEGAN:   [7.8] Enjoyed an easy day and had no issues defending against the lone Syrian striker. His performance with Khalizadeh in the heart of defense helped Team Melli keep a clean sheet.

Ehsan HAJSAFI:  [8.3] Despite his absence from Team Melli in a few matches, he never lost his touch. Positive and reliable. Scored the Penalty with cool despite the Syrian goalkeeper intimidations.
Vahid AMIRI  [9.0] One of the best performances seen by the winger for many years. Played a decisive role in this game. Full of energy and class Kept the ball moving to build attacks and enjoyed many forays forward down the left side. Provided a world-class assist to Azmoun. Provided many crosses which showed his quality of delivery. Created more chances than any of his teammates in another good demonstration of his quality and versatility.

Ahmad NOUROLLAHI  : [8.8] Another sterling performance. Unlucky not to be on the scoresheet after three very well taken shots on goal, which saw two being magnificently saved by the Syria keeper.
Saeid EZZATOLLAHI   [7.6] Dependable and solid in the midfield. Won many balls back swiftly for his side on the rare occasions they didn’t have it and showed his passing precision too.
Omid NOORAFKAN: [7.8] Had a quiet game although there were some signs of nervousness, especially when he losses the ball. Could be reckless at times.
Ali GHOLIZADEH : [8.9] Scored a magnificent goal that showed his wizardry. He was a constant menace for the Syrian defense. His timely use of his dribbling skills can break solid defenses. Had an excellent game. 
Sardar AZMOUN:  [8.9] Scored a wonderful goal that shows his class and how far he has improved in Europe. He remains one of the best assets of Team Melli. However, he could have scored a hat trick but for missing two easy chances. 


Milad SARLAK : [7.8] Replaced Hajsafi and had a quiet match without exerting too much effort. A solid player and a valuable one to support both the defense and midfield.