Tag: Ukraine

Marijo Tot “We have a good chance of advancing from the group

The assistant coach of the Iranian national football team expressed hope that Team Melli would advance to the second round of the FIFA World Cup 2022 for the first time in its history.

In an interview with tportal site, Tot mentioned that this is a historic occasion for Croat coaches. For the second time in history, two Croatian coaches will be leading two different teams in the World Cup. This happened first at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, where Zlatko Kranjcar and Branko Ivankovic, were in charge of Croatian and Iran respectively. Zlatko Dalic has now managed to clinch qualification to the World Cup with Croatia, while another Croat Dragan Skocic achieved similar success with Iran.

“We are very happy with this group, it is clear that you can not have an easy opponent in the World Cup,” said Marijo Tot, about Iran’s draw in the 2022 World Cup. England is both on paper and in reality the first chance to win the group title. The other three teams can compete equally for second place. I honestly think we have a very good chance of making it to the second round. There is a major rivalry with the United States because Iran played the United States in the 1998 World Cup and Iran won 2-1. The players who scored in that game have a special place in the country. It will be a special game now that we all know for what special reasons and our players will go to the World Cup with great motivation.”


“In the case of the third competitor, I would prefer Ukraine.” The assistant coach continued: “There is still a long way to go before the tournament starts and anything can happen. But many fans in Iran have the chance to be present for Team Melli in the World Cup. I believe that this time we can take that historic step forward and cross the group for the first time. Alireza Jahanbakhsh from Feyenoord, Mehdi Taremi from Porto and Sardar Azmoun from Bayer Leverkusen are Iran’s first hopes in this cup. We also have players who play in Greece and Turkey. We also have Sadegh Moharremi from Dynamo Zagreb, who plays very well here in Team Melli and was the best player on the field in the last game against Lebanon. I do not want to get into Dynamo’s problems, but given how good Muharrami is, I wonder why he does not get more minutes of play with his club in Croatia.”

About the defeat of Iran against South Korea, he said: “Despite the fact that we went to Seoul with an incomplete team, that is, without 6 or 7 players from the main team, we were quite strong in that game as well. But regardless of everything, we were ended up first in the group. We are the best team in Asia. We travel to this championship with the extraordinary support of the fans who will surely be with us in Qatar.”

How Iran fared against the opponents ?

Iran’s records against the teams of the group are quite healthy and that is quite a boost for Team Melli players ahead of the first game on November, 21st.

Team Melli played four times against possible and actual opponents. England remains the only team that has not faced Iran before. Team Melli managed 2 wins, 1 draw, and 1 loss to the teams in the preliminary group.

By far the biggest and most famous result against the opponents here was in Lyon on 21st June 1998 when Iran beat USA 2-1 in one of the most anticipated matches of the 1998 World Cup. Estili and Mahdavikia were the heroes of the day scoring for Iran. But 20 years before that in Argentina, when the world cup had only 16 elite participationg teams, Team Melli gained a famous draw with overhyped Scotland or the Tartan Army coached by Ally McCloud who was promising the Scotland team will return home lifting the World Cup before a ball was even kicked. The Scottish team was a star spangle group of the best player in the English First Division, the predecessor of the Premiere League.

Team Melli also played a single match against Ukraine in a friendly international which at the time was making a name for itself in European football, in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. Ali Daei scored the only goal of the match.

Iran’s loss to Wales came in a friendly match in the Araymehr Stadium and was part of the team’s preparation for the Argentine 1978 World Cup.

USA asked Iranian for a friendly in the states in 2000 hoping to get revenge for the loss in Lyon two years before. This match was played in the Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California in front of 50,000 fans. Mahdi Mahdavikia was once again the scourge of the American team when he scored early in the sixth minute of the match. US team equalized through Armas in the second half, the match ending in a 1-1 draw with the USA not being able to exact revenge.

So, for all intent and purposes, Team Melli has no psychological disadvantage in preparing for the World Cup. Such head-to-head results should boost Iran’s hopes of qualifying from the group stages for the first time in history.

Head2Head Table

England 0 0 0 0 0
USA 2 1 1 0 1
Wales 1 0 0 1 -1
Scotland 1 0 1 0 1
Ukraine 1 1 0 0 1


Sayyadmanesh to Shakhtar Donetsk!

A Ukrainian “Sport” website claimed in a news item that the officials of the Zorya Luhansk club intend to activate the permanent purchase clause of the Iranian striker Allahyar Sayadmanesh from the Turkish club Fenerbahce.

According to the Turkish press sources, the management of Zorya Club has informed the heads of Fenerbahce Club that ” it will activate the purchase clause of Allahyar Sayadmanesh’s contract at a price of 1.5 million Euros, ” the website wrote. The Luhansk club intends to buy its striker and then sell it to Shakhtar Donetsk for 8 million euros. “According to this source, Zorya Club has already reached an agreement with all stakeholders”


It was previously reported that Zorya did not have the money to buy Allahyar, but after the Iranian striker helped Zorya beat Shakhtar in the league, he was named the best player in the Ukrainian league in February. He was also invited to the national team of Iran. “In the current Ukrainian season, Sayadmanesh has played 11 games, scoring 4 goals & making 2 assists

Iranian Ladies referees to whistle in UEFA tournament.

Zari Fathi and Gelareh Nazemi , two of top Women Futsal referees in Iran , are off to Portugal to referee the UEFA Women Futsal Cup.

The Iranian Football Federation has reported  that the duo will be refereeing in the European Nations Futsal Cup. The Women’s European competition is now down to 4 semi finalist teams. with Portugal, Russia, Spain and Ukraine. The competition will start  on  26th and finish on 28 February. The European Women’s Futsal Championship stage was held in four groups of four teams, with four leading teams qualifying for the final stages of the competition.

It is a unique recognition for Iranian ladies and the first time they will whistle in European competitions after excelling in the Iranian domestic league and the Asian championships. Saying that, both the referees are seasoned and experienced campaigners and hold the FIFA Futsal refereeing badge.

Gelareh Nazemi is not the first Iranian international referee, nor even the first woman to referee men’s events, but her selection for Olympics futsal competition made her a houehold name in the country.

It is yet another victory for Iranian girls and a definite sign of their passion and desire to be the best at many levels in face of a regime that has forced them to be second fiddle to their men and restricted many of their activities including wearing Hijab by force and fully covered attire even in sports that is restricting their movement or at times creating risks of injury.


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.



FIFA Ranking
39 111
Current Form
Last 5 matches
Letter-W-lg-icon Letter-W-lg-icon Letter-W-lg-icon Letter-W-lg-icon Letter-W-lg-icon Letter-W-lg-icon Letter-W-lg-icon Letter-L-pink-icon Letter-W-lg-icon Letter-D-black-icon



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