Iran, US Match among Asian Moments at FIFA World Cup

Iran, US Match among Asian Moments at FIFA World Cup

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – With the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 drawing ever closer, continues its series of looking back at how the Asian teams have performed at the global showpiece over the years.

Twenty years after making its FIFA World Cup debut in Argentina 1978, Iran pipped Australia in the Intercontinental Playoff on away goals, to make its return to the world stage where it was drawn against Germany, Yugoslavia, and the US in Group F.

First up against Yugoslavia, coach Jalal Talebi’s inexperienced men suffered a narrow 1-0 loss courtesy of a Sinisa Mihajlovic trademark free-kick.

At Lyon’s iconic Stade Gerland, next up for Team Melli was an enticing tie against the US. With a little over five minutes to go before the break, Javad Zarincheh picked the onrushing Hamid Estili in the box with a cross, the latter headed high above the reach of goalkeeper Kasey Keller to open the scoring for Talebi’s side.

Shortly before the end of the game, Mehdi Mahdivikia charged goalwards unchallenged through the US’s half of the pitch before doubling the lead, with Brian McBride halving the deficit three minutes later. No better way for the Iranians to get their first-ever World Cup win.

The biggest challenge of the tournament arrived on the final matchday with European champion Germany the third opponents.

Despite moments of promise, a seven-minute lapse in concentration saw goalkeeper Ahmad Reza Abedzadeh beaten by Oliver Bierhoff and Jurgen Klinsmann, sending Iran out of the FIFA World Cup but not without a first win to savor and a young talent such as Mahdivikia shining, going on to play over 100 games for his country until he retired from international football in 2009.

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