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Iran–Saudi Arabia football rivalry

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

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 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.

OriginsEdit

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]

MatchesEdit

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   12'83'; Khorshidi   63' Iran   Amjadieh Stadium, Tehran
2 7 January 1977 1978 World Cup qualification Saudi Arabia  
0–3
Iran   Mazloomi   16'78'; Roshan   62'   Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium, Riyadh
3[b] 22 April 1977 1978 World Cup qualification Iran  
2–0
  Saudi Arabia Yousefi   10'; Sharifi   84' Iran   Hafezieh Stadium, Shiraz
4 13 December 1984 1984 Asian Cup Saudi Arabia  
1–1
(a.e.t.)[c]
  Iran Shahin Bayani   88' (o.g.) Shahrokh Bayani   43'   National Stadium, Singapore
5 15 December 1988 1988 Asian Cup
1–0
Abdullah   16'   Qatar SC Stadium, Doha
6 28 October 1993 1994 World Cup qualification
4–3
Jaber   21'; Mehalel   27'; Mousa;   47'; Falatah   74' Fonounizadeh   43'52'; Manafi   90'   Khalifa Stadium, Doha
7 11 December 1996 1996 Asian Cup Saudi Arabia  
0–3
  Iran Daei   12'; Bagheri   37'; Azizi   47'   Al-Maktoum Stadium, Dubai
8 18 December 1996 1996 Asian Cup Iran  
0–0
(a.e.t.)[d]
  Saudi Arabia   Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
9 19 September 1997 1998 World Cup qualification Iran  
1–1
  Saudi Arabia Bagheri   64' Shahrani   32'   Azadi Stadium, Tehran
10 24 October 1997 1998 World Cup qualification Saudi Arabia  
1–0
  Iran Muwallid   88'   King Fahd Stadium, Riyadh
11 24 August 2001 2002 World Cup qualification Iran  
2–0
  Saudi Arabia Daei   54' (p), 64'   Azadi Stadium, Tehran
12 28 September 2001 Saudi Arabia  
2–2
  Iran Waked   20'; Yami   59' Daei   42'; Dinmohammadi   84'   Prince Abdullah al-Faisal Stadium, Jeddah
13 6 September 2008 2010 World Cup qualification Saudi Arabia  
1–1
  Iran Harthi   29' Nekounam   81'   King Fahd Stadium, Riyadh
14 28 March 2009 Iran  
1–2
  Saudi Arabia Shojaei   64' Hazazi   79'; Muwallad   87'   Azadi Stadium, Tehran
15 12 December 2012 2012 WAFF Championship[e] Iran  
0–0
  Saudi Arabia   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.

StatisticsEdit

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 scorersEdit

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

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  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.