National football team of Iran 🇮🇷 qualified for FIFA World Cup for the second consecutive time. Never happened before Russia 2018 🏆.
Team Melli is the nickname of the squad among Iranian fans: literally meaning “National Team”, this expression is used to call all national selections for all sports. So we have Team Melli for wrestling, football, futsal, volleyball, basketball, etc… 🤼♂️ ⚽️ ⛹️♀️
Carlos Queiroz on Team Melli
Asked about his opinion on whether the current Team Melli is better than the 2014 squad, head coach Carlos Queiroz said that now:
we have more solutions;
we are better prepared;
we have more experience;
especially in this moment we have more players in Europe;
The Portuguese coach – who led Iran to play 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2015 AFC Asian Cup – added that in order to pass the group stage the squad need «to put in place the best preparation especially for local-based players». 🏋️
All fans love Team Melli, but they know that this time there is a big possibility that somebody of our favourite players will remain at home. Queiroz himself admitted that it will be not easy to select the squad for Russia 2018.
In Italy 🇮🇹 they say that there are 60 millions head coaches – the same number of the population – because Italian people use to criticize the National football team. Sometimes it seems to be the same for Iran, just read media reports or forum discussions or social media posts: you can read not only by people living in Iran, but also by fans from all over the world, sometimes even with no connection with the Middle Eastern country. 🌎 🌍 🌏
We are not Carlos Queiroz, but – waiting for the FIFA World Cup – we can post on social our Team Melli XI (line up): Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc with the hashtag #MyTeamMelli. And if you speak Persian you can use #تیم_ملی_من 😉
Iranian young talent Sardar Azmoun probably can make a sensational return to Rubin Kazan, after spending 2 seasons and a half to FC Rostov. According to Russian sports newspaper Sport-Express, the 22-years-old forward has already passed medical tests at Rubin training camp in Austria, so the transfer could be announced soon.
Azmoun joined for the first time Rubin Kazan in 2013 and soon became regular in the line-up under Kurban Berdyev: when in 2015 the Turkmen coach moved to FC Rostov, the youngster followed him on loan, helping his new team to avoid relegation. The season after FC Rostov nearly won Russian Premier League, ending second on table, just two points from winner CSKA.
Last season Azmoun was Apple of Discord between both Russian clubs since Rubin claimed that the player had to return from loan, whereas FC Rostov declared there was a buy-out clause in the contract. On 26 January 2017 FIFA ruled in favour of Rostov, waiting for a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (actually expected on summer 2017). However Azmoun played successfully 2016-17 UEFA Champions League: on playoffs he scored against Anderlecht and Ajax; then on group stage he striked both European giants Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid.
With one match remaining (Mashinsazi Tabriz v Saipa Alborz deferred on 8 January 2017) to complete Week 15 of Persian Gulf Pro League- that means half of the season – and after Hazfi Cup quarter-finals, head coach Carlos Queiroz named 24 players for Iran training camp in United Arab Emitares. It is not yet clear if Team Melli will face Morocco in a friendly originally scheduled for 6 January 2017.
The Portuguese coach did not invite Iranian footballers that play abroad (better known as Legionnaires), except for Milad Mohammadi who plays in Russian club Terek Grozny.
Notable names are: Zob Ahan offensive pair Pahlevan & Tabrizi; penalty specialist Iranpourian; unexpected top scorer Sasan Ansari (who scored 12 goals in 10 appearences for Foolad Khuzestan). Below the current list.
Good news from Iranian footballers that play abroad – nicknamed Legionnaires – again successful in European leagues, as we saw on 4-6 November 2016. All players are member of Team Melli, the National football team of Iran that currently leads Group A of Asian zone of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifications.
After his amazing goal that helped Rostov beating Bayern in UEFA Champions League, Sardar Azmoun scored in the week 15 of RFPL-Russian Football Premier League. The young cheetah gave his side the advantage at 41′ and then Rostov won 2:0 against Anzhi Makhachkala. 20-years-old Saeid Ezzatollahi did not enter this game, and according to rumours he could move to another European club in the incoming transfer window, like Azmoun.
In the week 14 of Eredivisie AZ Alkmaar were already beating 4:1 their opponent, Heracles Almelo, with about 10 minutes remaining until the final whistle: Alireza Jahanbakhsh came in the game at 83′ replacing Muren (who had scored a double), and after nine minutes scored AZ 5th goal with no celebration; later his coach Van den Brom expressed his happiness for the Iranian talent more than for the victory, adding that he had previously agreed with Jahanbakhsh that he was benched. The rocket goal resulted in a great solution!
Iranian duo in Greece was impressive in the week 12 of Souper Ligka Ellada, too: Panionios took the advantage at 71′ against Panathinaikos thanks to Team Melli number 10 Karim Ansarifard assisted by his compatriot Masoud Shojaei. Ansarifard celebrated the goal showing to TV cameras the jersey of his young teammate Vasilis Patsatzoglou, who recently had surgery due to a bad injury. After Ansarifard’s replacement, in the injury time Shojaei was close to score but soon after the rivals equalized.
4-6 November 2016 weekend was a no-stop series of great news about Iranian footballers that play abroad – those who are nicknamed Legionnaires – on Facebook, Twitter, Goal.com and other websites. Maybe we never had so many talents from the Persian country, able to be so impressive in a couple of days: about 15 years ago there were Iranian players in German and Austrian Bundesliga, Italian Serie A, Belgian Jupiler Pro League, but it seems that the current generation has already marked a record! Let’s see together.
Heerenveen lost 3:1 after a great rival comeback, but in week 12 of Eredivisie another Iranian assisted his teammate in a very important match on Sunday: AZ Alkmaar v Ajax. Although already leading after thirteen minutes, AZ conceded two goals in the second half until at 79′ Alireza Jahanbakhsh on the right side received the ball making a superb stop and then passed to Weghorst who scored the equalizer.
From Netherlands we fly to Russia for the week 13 of RFPL-Russian Football Premier League. With a back-heel Sardar Azmoun assisted Erokhin at 26′ as Rostov took the advantage against Arsenal Tula. The Iranian youngster – who previously scored in UEFA Champions League against giants Atletico Madrid – ten minutes later beat the rival goalkeeper with a successful header, helping his club to win with the final 4:1 result. 20-years-old Saeid Ezzatollahi did not enter this game.
In Russia again an Iranian talent passed the golden ball in the match between Terek Grozny and Zenit St. Petersburg: left wing back Milad Mohammadi (born 1993) ran from the left side and assisted Balaj, whose double gave a surprising victory to Terek. Mohammadi showed an excellent performance despite an injured wrist.
Last but not least. After one month Panionios returned to victory, defeating PAOK in week 10 of Souper Ligka Ellada. Iranian number 10 Karim Ansarifard scored the winner goal at 14′ assisted by Ben Nabouhane, inspired by Masoud Shojaei action.
Let’s see the results of the 7th week of Persian Gulf Pro League 1395/96, that took place before Team Melli clashes against Uzbekistan and South Korea in order to qualify to 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The battle between Tractorsazi Tabriz and Persepolis Tehran for the leadership of the tournament continues: both team won their matches, but Tractor have a better goal difference thanks to the best attack of the league (12 goal scored, 4 conceded).
Amir Ghalenoei’s boys defeated 3:0 FC Mashhad with a successful penalty by Iranpourian, followed by Hatami’s and late Kiani’s goals; Siahjamegan attempted dangerously twice to beat Akhbari, who saved at 80′ and one minute later with the help of the crossbar.
A double by Mehdi Taremi allowed Persepolis to conquer 3 points away, after Sepahan have equalized with Ehsan Hajsafi: so Isfahanis lost two positions in the league table.
40-years-old Gholam Reza Enayati proved once again to have determination more than many other youngsters: the all-time Persian Gulf Pro League top scorer headed successfully the ball crossed from the left by Ahmad Hassanzadeh, in order to collect Saba Qom first victory; Saipa efforts were denied by rival goalkeeper Hamed Lak (who saved at 66′ a powerful kick by Siamak Kouroshi) and by the crossbar, where ended Ali Gholizadeh last-minute rocket.
Paykan were leading 0-2 thanks to a double by Nigerian forward Godwin Mensha, but coach Sirous Pourmousavi spurred Esteghlal Khuzestan: the defending champions found the equalizer in the injury time with a nice dribbling and shot by Hassan Beit Saeid, and a ball accidentally deflected by Levon Hayrapetyan; it seemed to end with a tie, but Amir Hossein Sadeghi scored Paykan winner just before the final whistle.
Gostaresh Foolad have not yet succeded in scoring, despite some good occasion inspired by playmaker Daryoush Shojaeian: Foolad Khuzestan veteran goalkeeper Vahid Talebloo saved shots by Naghizadeh and Khalegifar, freezing the goalless result.
The 7th week of the season welcomed the first victory to Esteghlal Tehran, too: Blues thanked their supporters at Azadi stadium beating 2-1 Zob Ahan Isfahan. Alireza Mansourian allowed again Bakhtyar Rahmani in the line-up, after being sidelined during the Tehran derby: before halftime the Iranian Kurdish midfielder won a penalty kick, converted by Omid Ebrahimi. In the opening of the second half Ali Ghorbani headed on goal a cross from the right by Vouria Ghafouri. Isfahanis reaction came soon with Mohammad Nejad Mehdi‘s header, deflected to corner by Mehdi Rahmati; then Morteza Tabrizi scored for Zob Ahan, after another Rahmati’s save on Jerry Bengtson’s attempt.
Incredible tie gained by Padideh Mashhad at home: in the first half Mohammad Shadkam sent the ball past Shahab Gordan after five minutes, then Mohammad Reza Pourmohammad scored with a free kick the second goal for Sanat Naft Abadan, whereas Padideh hit the crossbar after a place kick. At 77′ Mashhadi coach Mohammad Reza Mohajeri replaced defender Fariborz Gerami with 22-years-old striker Mohammad Ali Mardani who scored in less than a minute! Coach Nader Dastneshan’s guys attacked one more time so that Shadkam beat Gordan once again with an accidental assist by Karim Ahmadi. Padideh were losing 1-3 when referee Khorshidi conceded a penalty, missed by Younes Shakeri that sent the ball over the crossbar. In 5 minutes injury time, Mashhadis secured one point thanks to Mohammad Reza Nassehi’s hit and Mardani second goal.
The last game of the week was won by Naft Tehran, so that climbed on third place of the Persian Gulf Pro League defeating 2-1 Mashinsazi Tabriz: guests missed the opportunity to take the advantage as a ball retrieved by superb Andranik Teymourian was launched to Mehrdad Bayrami, whose shot was deflected by Naft goalkeeper Milad Farahani. At 15′ Iman Mob’Ali corner kick assisted the successful header by Amir Arsalan Motahari; Ali Daei’s club was dangerous as Mohammad Ghazi rocket ended out, and then defender Hamed Pakdel prevented another goal after umpteenth corner kick for Naft. In the opening of the second half Ali Daei claimed a penalty beacause of a contact between Motahari and Georgian back Kakhaber Kakashvili. Few minutes later the referee Ahmad Salehi declared offside a goal scored by Edson Henrique, assisted by Teymourian’s free kick: the Brazilian defender made a heavy defensive mistake and Ghazi beat easily Spanish goalkeeper Manu Fernandez. Ali Daei became enraged at 87′ as mr. Salehi conceded a controversial penalty due to a contrast between Saman Nariman Jahan and Milad Fakhreddini: Payam Sadeghian converted to goal without problem just before final whistle.
Padideh Mashhad 3-3 Sanat Naft Abadan [WATCH goals & highlights] Goals: 6′ and 84′ Mohammad Shadkam (SAN), 33′ Mohammad Reza Pourmohammad (SAN), 77′ and 93′ Mohammad Ali Mardani (PAD), 90′ Mohammad Reza Nassehi (PAD) Bookings: 93′ Mohammad Ali Mardani (PAD) Referee: Ashkan Khorshidi
Week 7 of Persian Gulf Pro League has just ended, so Iran Team Melli head coach Carlos Queiroz named 17 players for a training camp in Armenia, in order to face Uzbekistan (6 Oct) and South Korea (11 Oct) in FIFA World Cup qualifying games.
The Portuguese coach did not invite Iranian footballers that play abroad – better known as Legionnaires – since they will join the National squad after their league matches.
The most awaited match of the week of course was Shahravard, the Tehran derby, refereed by Alireza Faghani: without injured Vahid Amiri, Persepolis shared one point with arch-rivals Esteghlal [read the full report]. Tractorsazi took advantage of the tie, reaching the Reds at top of the table, thanks to their successful trip at Zob Ahan home: Sina Ashouri scored the winner few minutes after Lebanese midfielder Ali Hamam had equalized.
A late goal by Mohammadreza Khanzadeh prevented a home defeat for FC MashhadSiahjamegan, denying what could be Saba Qom first win of the season. Mehdi Torabi is the new leader of Saipa, skilled in scoring vital goals in the final minutes (as in the previous game): the 22-years-old midfielder responded to Chimba leading goal for Gostaresh Foolad: the Brazilian striker is the only player to score among his squad. Sepahan beat away Mashinsazi, climbing standings and becoming 3rd: Isfahanis risked a late equalizer, after Ehsan Hajsafi missed a penalty at 86′, and two minutes later Saman Nariman Jahan hit the right goalpost.
With a goalless draw against Paykan at Shohada Stadium, Naft Tehran lose one position in the ranking. Esteghlal Khuzestan showed once more a very offensive attitude, taking the advantage against Sanat Naft, but again they could not end a match with a clean sheet, proving to be the most weak defence of the tournament.
In the last game of the week a penalty scored by Sasan Ansari helped Foolad Khuzestan to defeat Padideh and to leave the bottom. Persian Gulf Pro League 1395/96 identifies her champions best candidate in Tractorsazi and Persepolis, since both clubs are still unbeaten after 6 weeks. On the other side, Esteghlal Tehran proved to be ready to face high level opponents: Mansourian’s squad has improved despite a bad start, and maybe new arrival Leandro Padovani will make better the Blues defence.