World Cup 2014 review – Iran

Quarter-finals: FranceColombiaBelgiumCosta Rica

Round of 16: ChileUruguayMexicoGreeceNigeriaAlgeriaSwitzerlandUSA
A: CroatiaCameroon B: SpainAustralia C: Ivory CoastJapan D: ItalyEngland
E: EcuadorHonduras F: BosniaIran G: PortugalGhana H: RussiaSouth Korea

IRAN

World Cup progress: Group stage

Team rating: 4

Top scorer: Ghoochannejhad (1)

Brilliant against Argentina, but too conservative against Nigeria, Iran finished bottom of Group F as expected. Mark Siglioccolo assesses their tournament.

Irritating Iran

Ranked 43rd in the world, Iran were given little hope of progressing from a group containing a former mondiale winner and the current African champions. Yet Team Melli got off the mark in their opening game with a hard earned draw with Nigeria.

They fared even better against Lionel Messi and Co and were desperately unlucky not to snatch a famous win.  Ashkan Dejagah was denied what would have been a famous headed goal but the confidence from that performance was not enough to get the job done against already eliminated Bosnia. A lack of ambition and penetration cost them qualification.

The Coach – Carlos Queiroz

Nullifying tactics certainly kept Nigeria at bay but the Iranians offered little going forward. Against Argentina they were like a different team and their aggressive play almost paid dividends. By then it was too late to beat a talented Bosnian side and Queiroz afterwards quit as Coach.

Player of the Tournament – Ashkan Dejagah

At the forefront of Iran's best moments going forward, which were few and far between. Looked threatening and was unfortunate not to score.

Memorable moment

Dejagah's brilliant header from a Pejman Montazeri cross forced an excellent fingertip save from Sergio Romero. More memorable than their goal for what it would have represented.

Results

16-Jun-14 Iran 0-0 Nigeria Group F
21-Jun-14 Argentina 1-0 Iran Group F
25-Jun-14 Bosnia 3-1 Iran Group F
Group F P W D L F A Pts
Argentina 3 3 0 0 6 3 9
Nigeria 3 1 1 1 3 3 4
Bosnia 3 1 0 2 4 4 3
Iran 3 0 1 2 1 4 1

Squad

No Pos Player Apps Goals Assists
1 GK Rahman Ahmadi
12 GK Alireza Haghigi 3
22 GK Daniel Davari
4 D Jalal Hosseini 3
5 D Amir Hossein Sadeqi 3
13 D Hossein Mahini
15 D Pejman Montazeri 3
17 D Ahmad Alnameh
19 D Hashem Beikzadeh
20 D Steven Beitashour
23 D Mehrdad Pooladi 3
2 M Khosro Heydari 3
3 M Ehsan Hajsafi 3
6 M Javad Nekounam 3 1
7 M Masoud Shojaei 3
8 M Alireza Haghigi 1
11 M Ghasem Haddadifar
14 M Andranik Teymourian 3
18 M Bakhtiar Rahmani
21 M Ashkan Dejagah 3
9 A Alireza Jahanbakhsh 3
10 A Kirim Ansarifard 1
16 A Reza Ghoochannejhad 3 1

For a complete review of the 2014 World Cup, check out the next issue of Soccer Italia, written by the team at Football Italia and available on worldwide subscription.