Iran national football team

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This article is about Iran national men's team. For the women's team, see Iran women's national football team.
"Team Melli" redirects here. For other national teams, see Category:National sports teams of Iran.
Iran
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) Ŝirāne Irān (شیران ایران – The Iranian Lions)[1][2]
Ŝāhzādegāne Pārsi (شاهزادگان پارسی – The Princes of Persia)[3][4][5]
Setāregāne Pārsi (ستارگان پارسی – The Persian Stars)[6][7]
Eftexāre Pārs (افتخار پارس – Honour of Persia)[8]
Association Football Federation of Iran (FFIRI)
Federāsione Futbālle Irān
Sub-confederation CAFF (Central Asia)
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Head coach Carlos Queiroz
Captain Javad Nekounam
Most caps Ali Daei (149)
Top scorer Ali Daei (109)
Home stadium Azadi Stadium
FIFA code IRN
FIFA ranking 48 Increase 1 (14 August 2014)
Highest FIFA ranking 15 (July 2005)
Lowest FIFA ranking 122 (May 1996)
Elo ranking 42
Highest Elo ranking 15 (May 2005)
Lowest Elo ranking 73 (January 1964)
First colours
Second colours
First international
non-FIFA International
Afghanistan Afghanistan 0–0 Iran Iran
(Kabul, Afghanistan; 25 August 1941[9])
FIFA International
 Turkey 6–1 Iran Iran
(Istanbul, Turkey; 28 May 1950[10])
Biggest win
Iran Iran 19–0 Guam 
(Tabriz, Iran; 24 November 2000[11])
Biggest defeat

 South Korea 5–0 Iran Iran
(Tokyo, Japan; 28 May 1958[12])

 Turkey 6–1 Iran Iran
(Istanbul, Turkey; 28 May 1950[10])
World Cup
Appearances 4 (First in 1978)
Best result Round 1, 1978, 1998, 2006 and 2014
AFC Asian Cup
Appearances 12 (First in 1968)
Best result Champions, 1968, 1972 and 1976

Iran national football team (Persian: تیم ملی فوتبال ایران‎) represents Iran in international football competitions and is controlled by the Iran Football Federation. The national football team of Iran, known as Team Melli,[13] ranks 2nd in Asia and 49th in the world according to the July 2014 FIFA World Rankings.[14]

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

The first match that Team Melli played was on 25 August 1941, away at Afghanistan, while Iran's first FIFA international match was on 28 May 1950, away at Turkey.[10] Iran won the Asian Cup three consecutive times (1968, 1972, 1976), to which the team has not been able to add since.

1978 FIFA World Cup in Argentina[edit]

Additional information: 1978 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC and OFC)
Additional information: 1978 FIFA World Cup

In 1978, Iran made its first appearance in the World Cup after defeating Australia in Tehran. Iran lost two of three group stage matches against the Netherlands and Peru.[15] however managed to surprise the footballing community[16] by securing one point in its first ever World Cup appearance against Scotland which saw Iraj Danaeifard cancel out an own goal scored by Andranik Eskandarian for the 1–1 draw.[17]

Iran's squad in '78 WC qualification match against South Korea, Tehran, 11 November 1977

After the Revolution[edit]

After the 1979 Revolution, football was somewhat neglected and cast aside. During the 1980s, the Iranian national team did not feature in World Cup competitions due to the Iran–Iraq War (1980–88) and domestic football suffered the inevitable effects of conflict. The national team withdrew from the Asian qualifiers for the 1982 World Cup, and refused to participate in the qualifiers for the 1986 World Cup because of having to play on neutral ground. The war and political upheavals left Iran without major club competitions until 1989 when the Qods League was established. A year later, the Qods League was renamed the Azadegan League. Despite failing to qualify for either the 1990 or the 1994 World Cups, it was during this period that a number of quality players burst onto the Iranian football scene, laying the foundation for third place in 1996 AFC Asian Cup (memorable victories in that tournament like winning 3–0 against Saudi Arabia and impressive 6–2 victory against South Korea) and their second stab at World Cup glory in 1998.[18]

1998 FIFA World Cup in France[edit]

Iran's starting line-up against United States, World Cup 1998
Additional information: 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC–OFC play-off)
Additional information: 1998 FIFA World Cup – Group F

In November 1997, Iran qualified for the 1998 World Cup after eliminating Australia in a close playoff series. Both games finished undecided, but Iran managed to qualify due to the away goals rule. Iran held Australia to a 1–1 draw at home, and a 2–2 draw in Melbourne; however, since Iran had scored more away goals, they were able to qualify for the Cup.[19]

At their first game of the Group F at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, Iran played well against Yugoslavia, losing narrowly 1–0, only to a free kick goal by Mihajlović.[18] Iran recorded their first World Cup victory in the second game,[17] beating the United States 2–1, with Estili and Mahdavikia scoring goals for Iran. The Iran vs USA World Cup match was preheated with much excitement because of each country's political stance after the Iranian revolution. However, in an act of defiance against all forms of hatred or politics in sports, both sides presented one another with gifts and flowers and took ceremonial pictures before the match kickoff.[20] Following defeat against Iran, the United States was eliminated from the World Cup.[21]

Iran played against Germany in the third game. The game was lost 2–0. The goals were scored by Bierhoff and Klinsmann.[22] The one win and two losses meant Iran came third in the final group standing and failed to make it to the next round.[23]

2000 AFC Asian Cup[edit]

Main article: 2000 AFC Asian Cup

Iran finished first in the group stage of the tournament, but lost against South Korea in quarter-final.

2002 FIFA World Cup[edit]

Additional information: 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification

Iran failed to qualify for World Cup 2002 after an aggregate defeat to the Republic of Ireland, losing 2–0 in Dublin and winning 1–0 in Tehran. The elimination saw manager Miroslav Blažević step down from the top spot to be replaced by his assistant Branko Ivanković, who stepped up from assistant coach.

2004 AFC Asian Cup[edit]

Main article: 2004 AFC Asian Cup

After qualifying to the Asian Cup 2004, Iran was drawn with Thailand, Oman, and Japan in the tournament. Iran finished second in this group. In quarter-final clash against South Korea, Iran won 4–3 in normal time. In semi-final, Iran lost to the host, China. Iran won against Bahrain 4–2 to finish third place in the tournament.

2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany[edit]

Iran score against Angola during a 2006 FIFA World Cup match.
Additional information: 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC)
Additional information: 2006 FIFA World Cup seeding

On 8 June 2005, Iran together with Japan became the first country to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, making it Iran's 3rd appearance on the world stage of football. The qualification round both in 2001 and 2004–05 resulted in mass celebrations, hysteria and rioting, causing internal chaos and unrest between youth and government officials. The Iran versus Japan leg of the 2006 World Cup qualifiers in Tehran, played on 24 March 2005, was the highest attended qualifying match among all confederations. The match ended in tragedy with 5 fans killed and several others injured as they left the Azadi Stadium at the end of the match.[24]

Iran started their 2006 FIFA World Cup appearance with high expectations from fans and media. Their first match was against Mexico in Group D. The game was level 1–1 at the half-time, but Iran lost at the end because of a defensive mistake. The final score, 3–1, was brought about by goals from Omar Bravo and Zinha for Mexico, with Yahya Golmohammadi scoring the only Iran goal.

Iran played against Portugal in the second game. The game was lost 2–0. The goals were scored by Deco and Cristiano Ronaldo (penalty). The two losses meant Iran was eliminated from the competition, before their third and final game against Angola. Iran drew 1–1 with Angola on the 21 June 2006, Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh scoring the Iran goal.

Temporary suspension[edit]

Iran's squad in August 2006 against UAE, Manager: Amir Ghalenoei
Standing left to right: Nekounam, Enayati, Nikbakht, Shakouri, Fekri, Sadeghi
sitting left to right: Taleblou, Madanchi, Khatibi, Teymourian, Mahdavikia

In November 2006, Iran was suspended by FIFA from all participation in international football, on the grounds of governmental interference in the national football association.[25] The ban lasted less than a month,[26] and as a dispensation was given to allow the Iran under-23 team to participate in the football competition of the 2006 Asian Games,[27] fixtures were unaffected.

2007 AFC Asian Cup[edit]

Main article: 2007 AFC Asian Cup

IRIFF appointed Ghalenoei as head coach of the Iran national football team on 17 July 2006 to succeed Branko Ivanković. After finishing first in the qualifying round 2 points ahead of South Korea and then finishing first in the group stage of the final tournament in Malaysia, Iran lost to South Korea in the penalty shoot-outs of the Quarters Final match and was eliminated from the 2007 Asian Cup. Ghalenoei was heavily criticized by the press. After a period of discussion in the Iranian football federation, his contract was not renewed and Team Melli was left with a caretaker manager for several months.

2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa[edit]

Qualification[edit]

Additional information: 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC)

Ali Daei was chosen to become the new coach after Spanish coach Javier Clemente had been close to signing on as Iran's national team manager but talks collapsed when he refused to live full-time in the country.[28] Iran was in the same FIFA World Cup qualifying group as Kuwait, Syria and United Arab Emirates in the third round. They played home and away against each of the other three teams in group 5. In the middle of fourth round, Ali Daei got ejected from his position as the Iranian national coach on 29 March 2009.[29] He was replaced by Afshin Ghotbi. Iran failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup after ranking 4th overall in its group.[30]

Iran renewed the contract with Afshin Ghotbi until the end of 2011 AFC Asian Cup and the team qualified to the tournament with 13 points as the group winners.

Prior to the final qualification match against South Korea, several Iranian players started the match wearing green armbands or wristbands, a symbol of protest at the outcome of the Iranian presidential election.[31] Most removed them at half-time. The newspaper Iran reported that Ali Karimi, Mehdi Mahdavikia, Hosein Kaebi, and Vahid Hashemian had received life bans from the Iranian FA for the gesture.[32] However, the Iranian FA denied this claim in a response to FIFA's inquiry saying that "the comments in foreign media are nothing but lies and a mischievous act."[33] The Iran national team head coach Afshin Ghotbi also confirmed that it was a rumour and Iranian FA "has not taken any official stand on this issue."[34]

Afshin Ghotbi was able to qualify for 2011 Asian Cup and finished second in West Asian Football Federation Championship 2010 just few months before the 2011 Asian Cup. Iran was able to gain all the three points in group stage of the 2011 Asian Cup but after the extra time goal from Korea Republic Iran was not able to get to the semifinals and left the competition. Iran appointed Carlos Queiroz as their new head coach in April 2011.

2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil[edit]

Iran's squad in July 2011 against Maldives, Manager: Carlos Queiroz
Standing left to right: Aghili, Hosseini, Haddadifar, Ansarifard, Zare, Pooladi
Sitting left to right: Heydari, Norouzi, Rahmati, Khalatbari, Karimi

Qualification[edit]

On 4 April 2011, former Real Madrid manager Carlos Queiroz agreed to a two-and-a-half-year deal to coach the Iranian national team until the end of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.[35] Iran, under Queiroz, began their World Cup qualification campaign successfully, defeating the Maldives 4–0 in the first leg of their second round of qualifiers. After winning 5–0 on aggregate, Iran advanced to the third round of qualifiers, where they were drawn with Indonesia, Qatar and Bahrain. Iran highlighted their position at the top of their group by defeating Bahrain 6–0 at home in the Azadi Stadium, as well as inviting former German youth international, Ashkan Dejagah, who scored twice on his debut against Qatar. After a 4–1 win at Indonesia, Iran qualified for the final round of direct qualifiers, the fourth round. In the fourth round, Iran was drawn with South Korea, Qatar, Uzbekistan, and Lebanon in their group. Queiroz made new foreign-based additions to his squad, adding players such as Reza Ghoochannejhad to his team. Iran started their fourth round of Asian qualifiers with a 1–0 win in Uzbekistan. Team Melli then drew Qatar and lost in Lebanon before defeating South Korea at the Azadi on 16 October with a goal from captain Javad Nekounam. After a 1–0 loss in Tehran against Uzbekistan, Iran defeated Qatar 1–0 in Doha and Lebanon 4–0 at home. In their last qualification match, Iran defeated South Korea 1–0 in Ulsan Munsu with a goal from European-based Ghoochannejhad, resulting in their qualification to the 2014 FIFA World Cup as group winners with 16 points. Thus, Iran became the third team that Queiroz has managed to qualify for the World Cup, having reached the 2002 edition with South Africa and the 2010 edition with Portugal, leading the latter to a knockout stage finish. Iran continued their winning streak, securing qualification to the 2015 Asian Cup months later as well.[36]

Foreign-based call-ups[edit]

Since Queiroz's role as manager of the Iranian national team, he has been renowned for introducing players from the Iranian diaspora to the national squad. These players include German-Iranians Daniel Davari and Ashkan Dejagah, Dutch-Iranian Reza Ghoochannejhad, Swedish-Iranian Omid Nazari, and Iranian-American Steven Beitashour among others.[37][38]

Finals[edit]

Main article: 2014 FIFA World Cup

Iran qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup as group winners and competed in Group F alongside Argentina, Nigeria, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The sold out Argentina match tickets were among the eight most purchased for this edition of the tournament.[39] On 1 June 2014, Queiroz announced his 23-man squad.[40] Prior to the tournament, they founded the Central Asian Football Federation.[41]

In the opening match of the tournament on June 16, Iran drew Nigeria 0-0, making it their first clean sheet of the FIFA World Cup.[42] In their next match, Iran was defeated by Argentina 1–0 with a late goal from Lionel Messi, and received praise after holding Argentina for 90 minutes while creating some attacking opportunities of their own.[43] Iran was eliminated from the tournament in their next game, a 3–1 defeat to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Iran's lone goal was scored by Reza Ghoochannejhad.[44] After the tournament, Queiroz extended his contract until the 2018 FIFA World Cup.[45]

2015 AFC Asian Cup[edit]

Main article: 2015 AFC Asian Cup

Iran qualified for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup as group winners, where Team Melli were the highest ranked seed.[46] Iran will face Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE in Group C.

Political protests[edit]

Australia-Iran, 29 November 1997[edit]

After qualifying for the 1998 FIFA World Cup by defeating Australia on aggregate, Iranian fans celebrating in the streets quickly turned them into protests against the Revolutionary Guards.[47]

Bahrain-Iran, 21 October 2001[edit]

The 3–1 defeat by Bahrain came as a surprise. This in turn brought upon Iran's failure to qualify for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. There were allegations that the authorities pressured the players to lose. It was later denied by Safaei. Nevertheless, up to this day, many fans of 'Team Melli' continue to speculate whether the defeat was of legitimate causes or whether some authorities behind the curtain had brought on the defeat on purpose in order to prevent celebrations in the streets.[48]

Presidential election protests, 2009[edit]

During the final game of the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against South Korea in Seoul on 17 June 2009, seven members of the team, Javad Nekounam, Ali Karimi, Hossein Kaebi, Masoud Shojaei, Mohammad Nosrati, Vahid Hashemian, and captain Mehdi Mahdavikia wore green wristbands in support of the Iranian Green Movement during the 2009 Iranian election protests. Initial reports were that all seven players were banned for life by the Iranian Football Federation, however, state-run media claimed that all seven had "retired".[49] On 24 June 2009, FIFA wrote to Iran's Football Federation asking for clarification on the situation. The Iranian Football Federation replied that no disciplinary action has been taken against any player.[50] As of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification, several of the above players have played again for the national team, notably Javad Nekounam, Masoud Shojaei, Mehdi Mahdavikia, and Ali Karimi.

Fans during the 2014 World Cup[edit]

During the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Iranian fans bridged gaps with American and Israeli fans.[51][52] Many of them waived pre-revolutionary Lion and Sun flags.[53][54][55][47][56] Iranian women also held one of the highest percentages for social media posts.[57][58][59]

Nicknames[edit]

The Iranian national team has received several nicknames by supporters and media. The most common one used to refer the team is "Team Melli", which literally means "The National Team". Iranians call any national team from any country or sport a "Team Melli" and because of this it has become common for the national team to be referred to as the "Team Melli Iran" or, more specifically in the case of the national football team, the "Team Melli e Football e Iran". Although the Iranian supporters have popularized "Team Melli", other nicknames for the team include "Persian Stars"[60][61][62] (entitled since the World Cup 2006) "Shiran e Iran",[1][2] meaning "The Iranian Lions" or "The Lions of Persia",[63] "Shirdelan", "Lion Hearts" and "Princes of Persia"[3][4] (used since AFC Asian Cup 2011)[5][64] have been used in media as well.[65] Iran's nickname for the 2014 FIFA World Cup was Honour of Persia, selected in an internet poll held by FIFA.[8]

Stadiums[edit]

Iran plays most of its home games at the Azadi (Freedom) Stadium with a capacity of 95,225 spectators. Azadi Stadium is the fifth biggest association football stadium in the world, third in Asia and first in West Asia. A record was set in Azadi for the 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Australia with over 128,000 in attendance.[66] The other stadiums that Iran has been played international games are Sahand Stadium, Takhti Stadium and Enghelab Stadium. The government does not allow Iranian women to enter the stadiums.[67]

Kit providers[edit]

The table below shows the history of kit providers for the Iranian national soccer team.[68]

Period Kit provider
1946–1978 France Le Coq Sportif[citation needed]
1978–1980 Germany Adidas
1980–1993 Germany Puma[citation needed]
1993–1998 Iran Shekari
1998–2000 Germany Puma
2000–2004 Iran Shekari
2004–2006 Iran Daei Sport
2006–2007 Germany Puma
2007–2008 Iran Merooj
2008–2009 Iran Daei Sport
2009–2011 Italy Legea
2011–2012 Germany Puma
2013–present Germany Uhlsport

Sponsorship[edit]

Primary sponsors include Uhlsport, Bank Pasargad, Hamrah-e-Avval, Golrang, Oila, Tatilat Royaee and Kaspid.[69]

Kit history[edit]

Home[edit]

Away[edit]

Asiatic cheetah[edit]

On 1 February 2014, Iran announced the addition of the endangered Asiatic cheetah on their 2014 FIFA World Cup kits in order to bring attention to its conservation efforts.[73]

Tournament records[edit]

World Cup record[edit]

World Cup finals World Cup qualifications
Hosts/Year Result Position GP W D* L GS GA Squad GP W D* L GS GA
1930 to 1970 Did not enter - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
West Germany 1974 Did not qualify - - - - - - - - 8 5 1 2 9 6
Argentina 1978 Round 1 14th 3 0 1 2 2 8 Squad 12 10 2 0 20 3
Spain 1982 Withdrew - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Mexico 1986 Disqualified - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Italy 1990 Did not qualify - - - - - - - - 6 5 0 1 12 5
United States 1994 Did not qualify - - - - - - - - 11 5 3 3 23 13
France 1998 Round 1 20th 3 1 0 2 2 4 Squad 17 8 6 3 57 17
South KoreaJapan 2002 Did not qualify - - - - - - - - 14 9 3 2 36 9
Germany 2006 Round 1 25th 3 0 1 2 2 6 Squad 12 9 1 2 29 7
South Africa 2010 Did not qualify - - - - - - - - 14 5 8 1 15 9
Brazil 2014 Round 1 28th 3 0 1 2 1 4 Squad 16 10 4 2 30 7
Russia 2018 To be determined - - - - - -
Qatar 2022 To be determined - - - - - -
Total Round 1 4/20 12 1 3 8 7 22 - 110 66 28 16 230 76

Asian Cup record[edit]

AFC Asian Cup finals Asian Cup qualifications
Hosts/Year Result Position GP W D* L GS GA GP W D* L GS GA
Hong Kong 1956 Withdrew - - - - - - - - - - - - -
South Korea 1960 Did not qualify - - - - - - - 6 3 1 2 12 10
Israel 1964 Withdrew - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Iran 1968 Champions 1st 4 4 0 0 11 2 Automatic qualification as hosts
Thailand 1972 Champions 1st 5 5 0 0 12 4 Automatic qualification as champions
Iran 1976 Champions 1st 4 4 0 0 13 0 Automatic qualification as hosts and as champions
Kuwait 1980 Third place 3rd 6 3 2 1 16 6 Automatic qualification as champions
Singapore 1984 Fourth place 4th 6 2 4 0 8 3 5 5 0 0 21 2
Qatar 1988 Third place 3rd 6 2 2 2 3 4 4 2 2 0 6 1
Japan 1992 Round 1 5th 3 1 1 1 2 1 2 2 0 0 10 0
United Arab Emirates 1996 Third place 3rd 6 3 2 1 14 6 6 6 0 0 27 1
Lebanon 2000 Quarterfinals 5th 4 2 1 1 7 3 6 4 1 1 16 2
China 2004 Third place 3rd 6 3 3 0 14 8 6 5 0 1 16 5
IndonesiaMalaysiaThailandVietnam 2007 Quarterfinals 5th 4 2 2 0 6 3 6 4 2 0 12 2
Qatar 2011 Quarterfinals 5th 4 3 0 1 6 2 6 4 1 1 11 2
Australia 2015 Qualified 6 5 1 0 18 5
Total 3 titles 12/15 58 34 17 7 112 41 53 40 8 5 143 30
*Denotes draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.
*Red border color indicates tournament was held on home soil.

Olympic Games record[edit]

Olympic Games finals Olympic Games qualifications
Hosts/Year Result GP W D* L GS GA Squad GP W D* L GS GA
1900 to 1960 Did not enter - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Japan 1964 Round 1 3 0 1 2 1 6 Squad 6 4 1 1 14 3
Mexico 1968 Did not enter - - - - - - - - - - - - -
West Germany 1972 Round 1 3 1 0 2 1 9 Squad 5 3 2 0 6 0
Canada 1976 Quarter-finals 3 1 0 2 4 5 Squad 4 3 1 0 8 1
Soviet Union 1980 Qualified but boycotted the event - - - - - - - 5 3 2 0 18 2
United States 1984 Did not enter due to boycott - - - - - - - - - - - - -
South Korea 1988 Did not qualify - - - - - - - 2 1 0 1 2 2
Total Quarter-finals 9 2 1 6 6 20 - 22 14 6 2 48 8
  • Young teams were favoured by FIFA and the IOC, and since 1992, male competitors must be under 23 years old, with three over-23 players allowed per squad. See Iran U-23 team.

Asian Games record[edit]

Host nation(s) / year Result GP W D* L GS GA
India New Delhi 1951 Runners-up 3 2 0 1 2 1
Philippines Manila 1954 Did not enter - - - - - -
Japan Tokyo 1958 Round 1 2 0 0 2 0 9
Indonesia Jakarta 1962 Did not enter - - - - - -
Thailand Bangkok 1966 Runners-up 7 4 0 3 9 6
Thailand Bangkok 1970 Round 1 2 0 1 1 2 3
Iran Tehran 1974 Champions 7 7 0 0 20 1
Thailand Bangkok 1978 Withdrew - - - - - -
India New Delhi 1982 Quarterfinals 4 2 0 2 3 2
South Korea Seoul 1986 Quarterfinals 5 3 1 1 13 2
China Beijing 1990 Champions 5 4 1 0 7 1
Japan Hirosima 1994 Round 1 4 1 2 1 5 2
Thailand Bangkok 1998 Champions 8 7 0 1 25 7
  • Young teams were favoured by AFC and the IOC, and since 2002 male competitors must be under 23 years old, with three over-23 players allowed per squad.

West Asian Football Federation Championship record[edit]

Year Round Pld W D L GS GA
Jordan 2000 Champions 5 4 1 0 7 1
Syria 2002 Third place 4 1 2 1 4 3
Iran 2004 Champions 4 4 0 0 17 3
Jordan 2007 Champions 4 3 1 0 5 1
Iran 2008 Champions 4 4 0 0 13 2
Jordan 2010 RunnerUp 4 2 1 1 8 5
Kuwait 2012 Group Stage 3 1 2 0 2 1
Qatar 2014 Did not enter[74] - - - - - -
Total 7 titles 28 19 7 2 56 16

RCD Cup/ECO Cup record[edit]

Year Round
Iran 1965 Champions
Pakistan 1967 Runners-up
Turkey 1969 Runners-up
Iran 1970 Champions
Pakistan 1974 Runners-up
Iran 1993 Champions

West Asian Games[edit]

Year Round
Iran 1997 Champions
Kuwait 2002 Runners-up
Qatar 2005 Third place

Results and fixtures[edit]

see Iran national football team results
see Iran national football team results – 2010s

Previous matches[edit]

      Win       Draw       Loss

Date Venue Opponent Competition Result Iranian scorers Captain
15 October 2013 Iran Tehran, Iran  Thailand[75] 2015 ACQ 2–1 W 67' Hosseini, 70' Ghoochannejhad Nekounam
15 November 2013 Thailand Bangkok, Thailand  Thailand[76] 2015 ACQ 3–0 W 27' Dejagah, 35' Ghoochannejhad, 90+5' Jahanbakhsh Nekounam
19 November 2013 Lebanon Beirut, Lebanon  Lebanon[77] 2015 ACQ 4–1 W 39' Sadeghi, 51' Dejagah, 55' Nekounam, 65' Ghoochannejhad Nekounam
3 March 2014 Iran Karaj, Iran  Kuwait[78] 2015 ACQ 3–2 W 2' Karimi, 61' (o.g.) Fadel, 90' Ansarifard Hajsafi
5 March 2014 Iran Tehran, Iran  Guinea[79] Friendly 1–2 L 55' Ghoochannejhad Nekounam
18 May 2014 Austria Kapfenberg, Austria  Belarus[80] Friendly 0–0 D Teymourian
26 May 2014 Austria Hartberg, Austria  Montenegro[81] Friendly 0–0 D Nekounam
30 May 2014 Austria Hartberg, Austria  Angola[82] Friendly 1–1 D 56' Ansarifard Nekounam
8 June 2014 Brazil São Paulo, Brazil  Trinidad and Tobago[83] Friendly 2–0 W 45+1' Hajsafi, 54' Ghoochannejhad Nekounam
16 June 2014 Brazil Curitiba, Brazil  Nigeria 2014 FIFA World Cup 0–0 D Nekounam
21 June 2014 Brazil Belo Horizonte, Brazil  Argentina 2014 FIFA World Cup 0–1 L Nekounam
25 June 2014 Brazil Salvador, Brazil  Bosnia-Herzegovina 2014 FIFA World Cup 1–3 L 82' Ghoochannejhad Nekounam

Forthcoming matches[edit]

Date Competition Location Opponent
2014
1 September 2014 * FIFA official match day
5 September 2014 * FIFA official match day
6 October 2014 * FIFA official match day
14 October 2014 * FIFA official match day United Arab Emirates TBA, Dubai  Venezuela
10 November 2014 * FIFA official match day
18 November 2014 * FIFA official match day Iran Azadi Stadium, Tehran  South Korea
2015
11 January 2015# * 2015 AFC Asian Cup Australia Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Melbourne  Bahrain
15 January 2015# * 2015 AFC Asian Cup Australia Stadium Australia, Sydney  Qatar
19 January 2015# * 2015 AFC Asian Cup Australia Brisbane Stadium, Brisbane  United Arab Emirates
23 March 2015# * FIFA official match day
31 March 2015# * FIFA official match day
8 June 2015# * FIFA official match day
16 June 2015# * FIFA official match day
*FIFA International match days 2013-2018[84]
AFC Calendar of Competitions 2014[85]
#AFC Calendar of Competitions 2015[86]
§AFC Calendar of Competitions 2016-2018[87]

Records versus other nations[edit]

Coaching staff[edit]

Head coach Portugal Carlos Queiroz
Assistant coach Portugal Oceano da Cruz
Goalkeeping coach United States Dan Gaspar
Fitness coach Finland Mikko Kujala
Physiotherapist[88]
Brazil Bruno Mazziotti
Team Doctor Iran Parham Khanlari
Analyst Iran Mehrdad Khanban
Other staff Iran Markar Aghajanian
Iran Arian Ghasemi
Brazil Edu Gaspar
Iran Mehdi Safaei
Argentina Diego Giacchino
Brazil Luciano

Players[edit]

Iran national football team group picture in 2014 match against Angola national football team

Current squad[edit]

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Rahman Ahmadi (1980-07-30) 30 July 1980 (age 34) 10 0 Iran Sepahan
12 1GK Alireza Haghighi (1988-05-02) 2 May 1988 (age 26) 9 0 Russia Rubin Kazan
22 1GK Daniel Davari (1988-01-06) 6 January 1988 (age 26) 4 0 Switzerland Grasshopper
4 2DF Jalal Hosseini (1982-02-03) 3 February 1982 (age 32) 88 6 Qatar Al-Ahli
5 2DF Amir Hossein Sadeghi (1981-09-06) 6 September 1981 (age 32) 20 1 Iran Esteghlal
13 2DF Hossein Mahini (1986-09-16) 16 September 1986 (age 27) 22 0 Iran Persepolis
15 2DF Pejman Montazeri (1983-09-06) 6 September 1983 (age 30) 25 1 Qatar Umm-Salal
17 2DF Ahmad Alenemeh (1982-10-20) 20 October 1982 (age 31) 9 1 Iran Tractor Sazi
19 2DF Hashem Beikzadeh (1984-01-22) 22 January 1984 (age 30) 17 1 Iran Esteghlal
20 2DF Steven Beitashour (1987-02-01) 1 February 1987 (age 27) 6 0 Canada Vancouver Whitecaps
23 2DF Mehrdad Pooladi (1987-02-26) 26 February 1987 (age 27) 23 0 Iran Persepolis
2 3MF Khosro Heydari (1983-09-14) 14 September 1983 (age 30) 52 0 Iran Esteghlal
3 3MF Ehsan Hajsafi (1990-02-25) 25 February 1990 (age 24) 65 3 Iran Sepahan
6 3MF Javad Nekounam (Captain) (1980-09-07) 7 September 1980 (age 33) 143 37 Spain Osasuna
7 3MF Masoud Shojaei (1984-06-09) 9 June 1984 (age 30) 53 5 Unattached
8 3MF Reza Haghighi (1989-01-31) 31 January 1989 (age 25) 9 0 Iran Persepolis
9 3MF Alireza Jahanbakhsh (1993-08-11) 11 August 1993 (age 21) 10 1 Netherlands NEC
11 3MF Ghasem Haddadifar (1983-07-12) 12 July 1983 (age 31) 17 0 Iran Zob Ahan
14 3MF Andranik Teymourian (1983-03-06) 6 March 1983 (age 31) 82 8 Iran Esteghlal
18 3MF Bakhtiar Rahmani (1991-11-22) 22 November 1991 (age 22) 4 0 Iran Foolad
21 3MF Ashkan Dejagah (1986-06-05) 5 June 1986 (age 28) 17 4 Qatar Al-Arabi
10 4FW Karim Ansarifard (1990-04-03) 3 April 1990 (age 24) 44 9 Unattached
16 4FW Reza Ghoochannejhad (1987-09-20) 20 September 1987 (age 26) 17 11 Kuwait Al-Kuwait

Recent call-ups[edit]

The following players have been called up for the team in the last 12 months.

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
GK Sosha Makani (1986-11-18) 18 November 1986 (age 27) 3 0 Iran Persepolis 2014 FIFA World Cup provisional squad[90]
GK Alireza Beiranvand (1992-09-22) 22 September 1992 (age 21) 0 0 Iran Naft Tehran 2014 FIFA World Cup provisional squad[90]
GK Hamed Lak (1990-12-24) 24 December 1990 (age 23) 1 0 Iran Tractor Sazi South Africa South Africa Training Camp, 5 March – 15 April 2014
DF Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh (1992-01-20) 20 January 1992 (age 22) 7 0 Iran Persepolis 2014 FIFA World Cup provisional squad[90]
DF Shoja' Khalilzadeh (1989-05-14) 14 May 1989 (age 25) 6 0 Iran Sepahan South Africa South Africa Training Camp, 5 March – 15 April 2014
DF Mehrdad Jamaati (1989-10-07) 7 October 1989 (age 24) 1 0 Iran Foolad South Africa South Africa Training Camp, 5 March – 15 April 2014
DF Mohsen Bengar (1979-06-06) 6 June 1979 (age 35) 14 0 Iran Persepolis v.  Kuwait, 3 March 2014
DF Maziar Zare (1984-12-22) 22 December 1984 (age 29) 23 3 Iran Malavan v.  Lebanon, 19 November 2013
MF Mohammad Reza Khalatbari (1983-09-14) 14 September 1983 (age 30) 60 5 Iran Sepahan 2014 FIFA World Cup provisional squad[90]
MF Yaghoub Karimi (1991-08-31) 31 August 1991 (age 22) 6 4 Iran Esteghlal South Africa South Africa Training Camp, 5 March – 15 April 2014
MF Omid Ebrahimi (1987-09-16) 16 September 1987 (age 26) 5 0 Iran Esteghlal South Africa South Africa Training Camp, 5 March – 15 April 2014
MF Payam Sadeghian (1992-02-29) 29 February 1992 (age 22) 5 0 Iran Persepolis South Africa South Africa Training Camp, 5 March – 15 April 2014
MF Mohsen Mosalman INJ (1991-01-27) 27 January 1991 (age 23) 3 1 Iran Zob Ahan South Africa South Africa Training Camp, 5 March – 15 April 2014
MF Mojtaba Jabbari RET (1983-06-16) 16 June 1983 (age 31) 31 3 Qatar Al-Ahli v.  Guinea, 5 March 2014 withdrew
MF Ali Karimi (1994-02-11) 11 February 1994 (age 20) 0 0 Iran Sepahan v.  Guinea, 5 March 2014
MF Mohammad Nouri (1983-01-09) 9 January 1983 (age 31) 27 4 Iran Persepolis v.  Lebanon, 19 November 2013
FW Reza Norouzi (1982-09-21) 21 September 1982 (age 31) 6 0 Iran Persepolis 2014 FIFA World Cup provisional squad[90]
FW Sardar Azmoun (1995-01-01) 1 January 1995 (age 19) 2 0 Russia Rubin Kazan 2014 FIFA World Cup provisional squad[90]
FW Mehdi Sharifi (1992-08-16) 16 August 1992 (age 22) 2 0 Iran Sepahan 2014 FIFA World Cup provisional squad[90]
FW Sajjad Shahbazzadeh (1990-01-23) 23 January 1990 (age 24) 0 0 Iran Esteghlal v.  Thailand, 15 October 2013
Notes
  • INJ Player withdrew from the squad due to an injury.
  • Withdrew Player withdrew from the squad due to personal issues.
  • RC Player withdrew from the squad due to red card in last game.
  • RET Player retired from national game.

Previous squads[edit]

World Cups[edit]

Asian Cups[edit]

See also Category:Iran international footballers

Most capped players[edit]

As of 25 June 2014, the 10 players with the most caps for Iran are:

# Name Career Caps Goals
1 Ali Daei 1993–2006 149 109
2 Javad Nekounam 2000–0000 143 37
3 Ali Karimi 1998–2013 127 38
4 Mehdi Mahdavikia 1996–2009 111 13
5 Hossein Kaebi 2002–2011 89 2
6 Jalal Hosseini 2007–0000 88 6
7 Karim Bagheri 1993–2010 87 50
8 Mohammad Nosrati 2002–2013 83 5
= Andranik Teymourian 2005–0000 83 8

The records are collected based on data from FIFA and RSSSF.
bold names denotes a player still playing or available for selection.

Top goalscorers[edit]

Ali Daei is the world's all-time leading goalscorer in international matches, having scored 109 goals in 149 matches

As of 25 June 2014, the players with the most goals for Iran are:

# Name Career Goals Caps Avg/game
1 Ali Daei 1993–2006 109 149 0.73
2 Karim Bagheri 1993–2010 50 87 0.57
3 Ali Karimi 1998–2013 38 127 0.30
4 Javad Nekounam 2000–0000 37 143 0.25
5 Gholam Hossein Mazloomi 1969–1977 19 40 0.47
Farshad Pious 1984–1994 19 34 0.56
7 Ali Asghar Modir Roosta 1990–1998 18 32 0.56
Nasser Mohammadkhani 1982–1990 18 25 0.72
9 Vahid Hashemian 1998–2009 15 50 0.30
10 Hamid Alidoosti 1977–1986 14 28 0.5

The records are collected based on data from FIFA and RSSSF.
bold names denotes a player still playing or available for selection.

Iran captains[edit]

Javad Nekounam became Iran's captain after the retirement of Mehdi Mahdavikia in 2009

As of 25 June 2014

# Reign Player Caps (goals) Years active Matches as captain (goals)
1 1984–1991 Mohammad Panjali 45 (0) 1978–1991 27 (0)
2 1988–1992 Sirous Ghayeghran 40 (6) 1986–1992 ? (?)
3 1993 Hamid Derakhshan 41 (9) 1980–1993 ? (?)
4 1994 Farshad Pious 35 (19) 1984–1994 4 (1)
5 1996–1998 Ahmad Reza Abedzadeh 79 (0) 1988–1998 38 (0)
6 1998–1999 Nader Mohammadkhani 64 (4) 1988–1999 ? (?)
7 1999–2000 Hamid Reza Estili 82 (12) 1990–2000 ? (?)
8 2000–2006 Ali Daei 149 (109) 1993–2006 80 (44)
9 2006–2009 Mehdi Mahdavikia 111 (13) 1996–2009 20 (1)
10 2009– Javad Nekounam 143 (37) 2000– 49 (16)

Record[edit]

As of 25 June 2014

#[91][92] Player Caps Years active Matches as captain
1 Ali Daei 149 1993–2006 80
2 Javad Nekounam 143 2000– 49
3 Ahmad Reza Abedzadeh 79 1988–1998 38
4 Ali Parvin 76 1970–1980 31
5 Mohammad Panjali 45 1978–1991 27

Iran World Cup captains[edit]

# Matches as captain Player World Cup played as captain (goals) Years active Caps (goals)
1 3 (0) Ali Parvin Argentina 1978 1970–1980 76 (13)
2 2 (0) Ahmad Reza Abedzadeh France 1998 1987–1998 79 (0)
3 2 (0) Ali Daei Germany 2006 1993–2006 149 (109)
4 3 (0) Javad Nekounam Brazil 2014 2000– 143 (37)

Iran Asian Cup captains[edit]

# Matches as captain Player Asian Cup played as captain Years active Caps (goals)
1 4 (0)[93] Hassan Habibi Iran 1968 1958–1970 31 (0)
2 4 (0)[94] Mostafa Arab Thailand 1972 1959–1972 48 (2)
3 3 (0)[95] Parviz Ghelichkhani Iran 1976 1964–1977 64 (12)
4 5 (0)[96] Nasser Hejazi Kuwait 1980 1968–1980 62 (0)
5 6 (0)[97] Mohammad Panjali Singapore 1984 1978–1991 45 (0)
6 6 (0)[98] Sirous Ghayeghran Qatar 1988 1986–1992 40 (6)
7 3 (0)[99] Sirous Ghayeghran Japan 1992 1986–1992 40 (6)
8 1 (0)[100] Mojtaba Moharrami UAE 1996 1988–1996 37 (5)
9 4 (2)[101] Hamid Reza Estili Lebanon 2000 1990–2000 82 (12)
10 6 (3) Ali Daei China 2004 1993–2006 149 (109)
11 4 (0) Mehdi Mahdavikia Asian Cup 2007 1996–2009 111 (13)
12 3 (0) Javad Nekounam Qatar 2011 2000– 143 (37)

Honours[edit]

Continental[edit]

Champions (3): 1968, 1972, 1976
Third place (4): 1980, 1988, 1996, 2004
Champions (4): 1974, 1990, 1998, 2002
Runners-up (2): 1951, 1966

Young teams were favoured by AFC and the IOC, and since 2002 male competitors must be under 23 years old, with three over-23 players allowed per squad.

Regional[edit]

Champions (4): 2000, 2004, 2007*, 2008
Runners-up (1): 2010
Champions (3): 1965, 1970, 1993
Runners-up (2): 1967, 1969

* as B Team

Intercontinental[edit]

Champions (1): 2003
Runners-up (1): 1991

Other[edit]

Champions (3):2001, 2002, 2002

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

karim

Preceded by
1964 Israel 
Asian Champions
1968 (first title)
1972 (second title)
1976 (third title)
Succeeded by
1980 Kuwait 
Preceded by

Myanmar

South Korea
Asian Games Champions
1974 (first title)
Succeeded by

North Korea

South Korea
Preceded by
South Korea 
Asian Games Champions
1990 (second title)
Succeeded by

Uzbekistan
Preceded by
Uzbekistan 
Asian Games Champions
1998 (third title)
2002 (fourth title)
Succeeded by

Qatar
Preceded by
Inaugural champions
WAFF Champions
2000(first title)
Succeeded by
2002  Iraq
Preceded by
2002  Iraq
WAFF Champions
2004 (second title)
2007 (third title)
2008 (fourth title)
Succeeded by
2010  Kuwait
Preceded by
Inaugural champions
ECO Cup Champions
1965 (first title)
Succeeded by
1967 Turkey 
Preceded by
1969 Turkey 
ECO Cup Champions
1970 (second title)
Succeeded by
1974 Turkey 
Preceded by
1974 Turkey 
ECO Cup Champions
1993 (third title)
Succeeded by
Last edition