Iran–Saudi Arabia football rivalry

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Iran–Saudi Arabia rivalry
(Asian El Clasico)
Other namesIslamic Derby
LocaleAsia
West Asia
Central Asia
Teams Iran
 Saudi Arabia
First meeting24 August 1975
(44 years ago)
Latest meetingIran 0–0 Saudi Arabia
WAFF Championship
(9 December 2012)
Statistics
Meetings total15
Most winsIran (5)
Top scorerIran Gholamhossein Mazloomi (4)
Iran Ali Daei (4)
Largest victoryIran 3–0 Saudi Arabia
3 matches

The Iran and Saudi Arabia national football teams are sporting rivals[1] who have played each other since 1975.

The game has been ranked 9th in Bleacher Report's "International Football's 10 Most Politically-Charged Football Rivalries"[2] and 8th in Goal.com's "Football's 10 Greatest International Rivalries".[3]

Iran and Saudi Arabia team have had 15 matches so far. All of their matches have been competitive and they have never played a friendly match. The first match was played on 24 August 1975, with Iran defeating Saudi Arabia 3–0.

Origins[edit]

The two have long battled for West Asian supremacy[3] and their matches have been "always tight, tense and furiously competitive".[1] Another fissure between the two is religion. While Iran is the spiritual homeland of Shia Islam (since the Safavid dynasty), Saudi Arabia is a country with a Sunni Islam majority.[2][3] These two religious sects form a minority in the other country (see Sunni Islam in Iran and Shia Islam in Saudi Arabia).

The countries also have had chronic political tensions in the last decades.[4] (see Iran–Saudi Arabia relations)

The rivalry has been expanded into club matches as well. For example, after the Saudi Arabian national team's away win in March 2009, Saudi players sword-danced in front of 100,000 angry Iranian fans in Azadi Stadium. When Zob Ahan eliminated Al-Hilal in the 2010 AFC Champions League semi-final, Iranian players mocked the dance in front of Saudi fans.[5] When Persepolis was scheduled to play away at Ittihad in the 2011 AFC Champions League, Saudi immigration authorities forced Iranian players to be fingerprinted and irises scanned upon their arrival at Jeddah airport. The Iranians refused to do so and were held at the airport for 8 hours.[4]

Iranian football fans take most pleasure in defeating Saudi Arabia, alongside Bahrain,[6] whose players used to wave Saudi Arabian flags when they defeated Iran 3–1 during their 2002 World Cup qualification.[7]

In 2016, Saudi Arabia refused to play in Iran during the 2016 AFC Champions League.[8]

Matches[edit]

Source:[9][10]
# Date Competition Home team Score Away team Goals (home) Goals (away) Venue
1[a] 24 August 1975 1976 Olympics qualification Iran 
3–0
 Saudi Arabia Mazloomi Goal 12'83'; Khorshidi Goal 63' Iran  Amjadieh Stadium, Tehran
2 7 January 1977 1978 World Cup qualification Saudi Arabia 
0–3
Iran  Mazloomi Goal 16'78'; Roshan Goal 62' Saudi Arabia Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium, Riyadh
3[b] 22 April 1977 1978 World Cup qualification Iran 
2–0
 Saudi Arabia Yousefi Goal 10'; Sharifi Goal 84' Iran  Hafezieh Stadium, Shiraz
4 13 December 1984 1984 Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 
1–1 (a.e.t.)[c]
 Iran Shahin Bayani Goal 88' (o.g.) Shahrokh Bayani Goal 43' Singapore National Stadium, Singapore
5 15 December 1988 1988 Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 
1–0
 Iran Abdullah Goal 16' Qatar Qatar SC Stadium, Doha
6 28 October 1993 1994 World Cup qualification Saudi Arabia 
4–3
 Iran Jaber Goal 21'; Mehalel Goal 27'; Mousa; Goal 47'; Falatah Goal 74' Fonounizadeh Goal 43'52'; Manafi Goal 90' Qatar Khalifa Stadium, Doha
7 11 December 1996 1996 Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 
0–3
 Iran Daei Goal 12'; Bagheri Goal 37'; Azizi Goal 47' United Arab Emirates Al-Maktoum Stadium, Dubai
8 18 December 1996 1996 Asian Cup Iran 
0–0 (a.e.t.)[d]
 Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
9 19 September 1997 1998 World Cup qualification Iran 
1–1
 Saudi Arabia Bagheri Goal 64' Shahrani Goal 32' Iran Azadi Stadium, Tehran
10 24 October 1997 1998 World Cup qualification Saudi Arabia 
1–0
 Iran Muwallid Goal 88' Saudi Arabia King Fahd Stadium, Riyadh
11 24 August 2001 2002 World Cup qualification Iran 
2–0
 Saudi Arabia Daei Goal 54' (p), 64' Iran Azadi Stadium, Tehran
12 28 September 2001 2002 World Cup qualification Saudi Arabia 
2–2
 Iran Waked Goal 20'; Yami Goal 59' Daei Goal 42'; Dinmohammadi Goal 84' Saudi Arabia Prince Abdullah al-Faisal Stadium, Jeddah
13 6 September 2008 2010 World Cup qualification Saudi Arabia 
1–1
 Iran Harthi Goal 29' Nekounam Goal 81' Saudi Arabia King Fahd Stadium, Riyadh
14 28 March 2009 2010 World Cup qualification Iran 
1–2
 Saudi Arabia Shojaei Goal 64' Hazazi Goal 79'; Muwallad Goal 87' Iran Azadi Stadium, Tehran
15 12 December 2012 2012 WAFF Championship[e] Iran 
0–0
 Saudi Arabia Kuwait Al-Sadaqua Walsalam Stadium, Kuwait City
  1. ^ Not a full FIFA international
  2. ^ Iran played the match with reserve players.
  3. ^ Saudi Arabia won 5–4 on penalties.
  4. ^ Saudi Arabia won 4–3 on penalties.
  5. ^ Both teams competed in the tournament with reserve players.

Statistics[edit]

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Best win
 Iran 15 5 6 4 22 13 +9 3–0
 Saudi Arabia 15 4 6 5 13 22 -9 4–3
Matches held in Iran 5
Matches held in neutral venue 6
Matches held in Saudi Arabia 4
Total matches 15

Top scorers[edit]

Rank Player Goals
1 Iran Gholamhossein Mazloomi 4
Iran Ali Daei 4
2 Iran Mehdi Fonounizadeh 2
Iran Karim Bagheri 2
3 Various players 1

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Saudi Arabia VS Iran: Launch pad for Saudi reign". FIFA.com. October 28, 1993. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Peters, Jerrad (October 15, 2014). "International Football's 10 Most Politically-Charged Football Rivalries". Bleacher Report. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Staunton, Peter (November 17, 2010). "Football's 10 Greatest International Rivalries; Argentina - Brazil, Portugal - Spain, Algeria - Egypt, Japan - South Korea And More". Goal.com. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Dorsey, James M. "Iranian bid for FIFA tournament takes tension with the Gulf to the soccer pitch". Al Arabiya. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
  5. ^ صعود مقتدرانه ذوب‌آهن به فينال ليگ قهرمانان آسيا پاسخی به رقص شمشير سعودی‌ها در تهران ['Zob Ahan's powerful qualification to AFC Champions League final match, a response to Saudi Sword dance in Tehran']. Kayhan (in Persian) (19772). October 23, 2010. p. 13.
  6. ^ Duerden, John. "Asia awaits neighbourly rivalry". ESPN. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  7. ^ Sundaresan, Keeshaanan (October 11, 2011). "Bad memories will motivate us to defeat Bahrain, says Iran skipper Javad Nekounam". Goal.com. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  8. ^ http://gulfnews.com/sport/football/more-football/afc-champions-league-football-matches-delayed-over-saudi-iran-tension-1.1659994
  9. ^ Courtney, Barrie (3 April 2009). "Saudi Arabia - List of International Matches". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  10. ^ Panahi, Majeed (7 August 2014). "Iran - International Matches". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved November 21, 2014.