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The Iran men's national football team (Persian: تیم ملی فوتبال مردان ایران‎, romanizedTīm-e Melli-e Fūtbāl-e Mardān-e Īrān), also known as Team Melli (Persian: تیم ملی‎, romanizedTīm-e Melli, lit. 'the national team'), represents Iran in international football competitions and is governed by the Iran Football Federation. From December 2014 until May 2018, the men's national football team of Iran[9] remained the highest-ranked team in Asia, representing the longest continuous period of time a team has been top of the continent in the rankings.[10]

Iran national football team
Nickname(s)Team Melli تیم ملی[1]
other nicknames
AssociationFootball Federation of Iran (FFIRI)
Fedrāsion-e Futbāll-e Irān
ConfederationAFC (Asia)
Sub-confederationCAFA (Central Asia)
Head coachMarc Wilmots
CaptainMasoud Shojaei
Most capsJavad Nekounam (151)
Top scorerAli Daei (109)
Home stadiumAzadi Stadium (78,116)
FIFA codeIRN
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 20 Increase 1 (14 June 2019)[2]
Highest15 (August 2005[3])
Lowest122 (May 1996[4])
Elo ranking
Current 22 Decrease 2 (16 June 2019)[5]
Highest18 (12 April 2005, 24 January 2019)
Lowest77 (11 December 1959)
First international
 Afghanistan 0–0 Iran 
(Kabul, Afghanistan; 25 August 1941)
Biggest win
 Iran 19–0 Guam 
(Tabriz, Iran; 24 November 2000[6])
Biggest defeat
 Turkey 6–1 Iran 
(Istanbul, Turkey; 28 May 1950[7])
 South Korea 5–0 Iran 
(Tokyo, Japan; 28 May 1958[8])
World Cup
Appearances5 (first in 1978)
Best result14th (Round 1), 1978
Asian Cup
Appearances14 (first in 1968)
Best resultChampions (1968, 1972, 1976)
Olympic Games
Appearances4 (first in 1968)
Best resultQuarter-finals (1976)

Iran is one of the most successful men's national teams in Asia with three Asian Cup championships (1968, 1972, and 1976). Iran's best performance at the Olympics was reaching the quarterfinals in the 1976 Montreal Games. Iran has qualified for the World Cup five times (1978, 1998, 2006, 2014, and 2018) but has never advanced past the group stage. They have, however, won two matches in the World Cup, one against the United States in 1998, and their opener against Morocco in 2018.

Contents

History

Early years

 
The very first Iran selection football team that traveled to Baku in 1926.

The Iranian Football Federation was founded in 1920.[11] In 1926 Tehran XI (selected players from Tehran Club, Toofan F.C. and Armenian Sports Club) traveled across the border to Baku, USSR, this was the first away football match for an Iranian team. This Tehran Select team is the predecessor of Iran's national football team.

The first match that Team Melli played was on 23 August 1941, away at Kabul in a 1–0 win against British India, while Iran's first FIFA international match was on 25 August 1941, away at Afghanistan.[7] 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

Additional information: 1978 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC and OFC)
Additional information: 1978 FIFA World Cup – Group 4
 
Iran's squad playing in '78 World Cup match against Scotland in Cordoba, Estadio Cordoba, Argentina on 7 June 1978 (16:45)

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.[12] Team Melli managed to surprise the footballing community[13] 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.[14]

After the Revolution

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 the 1996 AFC Asian Cup (memorable victories in that tournament included a 3–0 victory against Saudi Arabia and an impressive 6–2 victory against South Korea) and their second stab at World Cup glory in 1998.[15]

1998 FIFA World Cup in France

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.[16]

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 Siniša Mihajlović.[15] Iran recorded their first World Cup victory in the second game,[14] beating the United States 2–1, with Hamid Estili and Mehdi 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 and the Iran hostage crisis. 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.[17] Following defeat against Iran, the United States was eliminated from the World Cup.[18]

Iran played against Germany in the third game. The game was lost 2–0. The goals were scored by Oliver Bierhoff and Jürgen Klinsmann.[19] The one win and two losses meant Iran came third in the final group standing and failed to make it to the next round.[20] (Farhad Majidi and Mehdi Fonounizadeh were important absentees in the tournament.)

2000 AFC Asian Cup

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

2002 FIFA World Cup qualification

Additional information: 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC)

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

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 the semi-final, Iran lost to the host, China on penalty kicks. Iran won against Bahrain 4–2 to finish third place in the tournament.

2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany

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

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.[21]

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 Sinha 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 21 June 2006, Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh scoring the Iran goal.

Temporary suspension

 
Iran's squad in August 2006 against Syria, 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.[22] The ban lasted less than a month,[23] and as a dispensation was given to allow the Iran under-23 team to participate in the football competition of the 2006 Asian Games,[24] fixtures were unaffected.

2007 AFC Asian Cup

Additional information: 2007 AFC Asian Cup Group C

IRIFF appointed Amir 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 a penalty shoot-out of the quarterfinal 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 qualification

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.[25] 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 the fourth round, Ali Daei was let go from his position as the Iranian national coach on 29 March 2009.[26] He was replaced by Afshin Ghotbi. Iran failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup after ranking 4th overall in its group.[27]

2011 AFC Asian Cup

Additional information: 2011 AFC Asian Cup Group D
 
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

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.

During 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.[28] 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.[29] 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."[30] Head coach Afshin Ghotbi also confirmed that it was a rumour and Iranian FA "has not taken any official stand on this issue."[31]

Afshin Ghotbi was able to qualify for 2011 Asian Cup and finished second in West Asian Football Federation Championship 2010 just a few months before the 2011 Asian Cup. Iran was able to gain all nine points in the group stage of the 2011 Asian Cup but after an extra time goal from South Korea, Iran was yet again unable to get to the semifinals of the competition.

2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil

Qualification

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.[32] Under Queiroz, Iran 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 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.[33]

Foreign-based call-ups

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-Iranians Omid Nazari and Saman Ghoddos, and Iranian-American Steven Beitashour among others.[34][35]

Finals

Additional information: 2014 FIFA World Cup – Group F

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.[36] On 1 June 2014, Queiroz announced his 23-man squad.[37] Prior to the tournament, they founded the Central Asian Football Association.[38]

In the opening match of the tournament on 16 June, Iran drew Nigeria 0–0, making it their first clean sheet of the FIFA World Cup.[39] 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.[40] 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.[41] After the tournament, Queiroz declared he would resign as manager of Iran, but later switched and extended his contract until the 2018 FIFA World Cup.[42]

2015 AFC Asian Cup

Additional information: 2015 AFC Asian Cup Group C

Iran qualified for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup as group winners, where Team Melli were the highest ranked seed.[43] Iran faced Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE in Group C. Queiroz announced his squad on 30 December 2014.[44]

With the second highest number of fans in the tournament after hosts Australia, the Iranians defeated Bahrain 2–0 with limited preparations.[45][46] A defensive minded Iran then defeated Qatar 1–0 thanks to a Sardar Azmoun goal before defeating the UAE by the same scoreline to reach the top of their group.[47][48]

In the quarter-finals Iran faced Iraq, who they had beaten weeks prior in a friendly match. Having received a controversial red card in the first half, Iran competed with ten men, managing to score goals late in extra time to draw the match 3–3. In the ensuing penalty shootout, Iran lost 7–6 in sudden death.[49][50]

2018 FIFA World Cup

Additional information: 2018 FIFA World Cup Group B
 
Iran's squad in October 2016 against South Korea
 
Iran's squad against Portugal in Mordovia Arena at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Iran began their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign with friendly matches against Chile and Sweden in March 2015.[51][52][53] Queiroz resigned from his managerial post thereafter due to disagreements with the Iranian Football Federation.[54] On 14 April 2015, Iran were drawn with Oman, India, Turkmenistan, and Guam in the second round of qualifiers.[55] On 26 April, Queiroz announced that he would continue as the manager of Iran for their 2018 World Cup campaign.

Iran became the second team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup,[56] after a 2–0 win at home over Uzbekistan on 12 June 2017.[57] They also clinched 1st place in their qualification group after South Korea's defeat to Qatar.[58]

Iran won the first match against Morocco after Aziz Bouhaddouz scoring an own goal.[59] The second match Iran lost against Spain with a goal scored by Diego Costa.[60] The third match against Portugal ended in a draw after the penalty scored by Karim Ansarifard,[61] and because Morocco could only manage a 2–2 draw to Spain, Iran was eliminated.[62] However, this has become Iran's best performance in the World Cup to date, when they achieved four points.

Political protests

2009 presidential election protests

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 rumors and false 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".[63][64] 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.[65] As of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification, many of the above players have played again for the national team, notably Javad Nekounam, Masoud Shojaei, Mehdi Mahdavikia, and Ali Karimi.

Team image

Nicknames

The Iranian national team has received several nicknames by supporters and media. The most common one used is "Team Melli", which literally means "The National Team" in Persian language. Although the Iranian supporters have popularized "Team Melli", other nicknames for the team include "Persian Stars"[66][67][68] (entitled since the World Cup 2006) "Shiran e Iran",[69][70] meaning "The Iranian Lions" or "The Lions of Persia",[71] "Shirdelan", "Lion Hearts" and "Princes of Persia"[72][73] (used since AFC Asian Cup 2011)[74][75] have been used in media as well.[citation needed] Iran's slogan for the 2014 FIFA World Cup was Honour of Persia, selected in an internet poll held by FIFA.[76][77] A recently used nickname, due to the presence of the Asiatic cheetah on the 2014 World Cup jersey, is Youzpalangan which means 'The Cheetahs' (Persian: یوزپلنگان).[78]

Kits and crests

The Iran national football team's kit traditionally utilizes white.

Kit suppliers

The table below shows the history of kit supplier for the Iranian national football team.

Kit supplier Period Notes
Adidas 1978
Puma[79] 1980
Amini[80] 1981–1993
Shekari 1993–1998
Puma 1998–2000
Shekari 2000–2003
Daei Sport 2003–2006
Puma 2006–2007
Merooj 2007–2008
Daei Sport 2008–2009
Legea 2009–2012
Uhlsport 2012–2016
Givova[81] 2016
Adidas[82] 2016–present

Rivalries

Iran and South Korea are sporting rivals[83][84] and have played against each other officially since 1958, totally 29 matches as of October 2016, including eight World Cup qualifiers. These two teams were among the strongest Asian national football teams during the 1960s and 1970s. Since then, the teams have developed one of Asia's greatest rivalries.[85] Although the teams only had one chance to play against each other in the final match of the AFC Asian Cup, in 1972, they faced each other five consecutive times at the quarterfinals stage from 1996–2011.[86][87] Iran leads the series with 13 wins, 7 draws and 9 losses.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are rivals.[88] The game has been ranked 9th in Bleacher Report's "International Football's 10 Most Politically-Charged Football Rivalries"[89] and 8th in Goal.com's "Football's 10 Greatest International Rivalries".[90]

Iran and Saudi Arabia 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. Iran leads the series with 5 wins, 6 draws and 4 losses.

According to the Malay Mail, "Emotions are always high when Iran and Iraq meet on the football pitch". The rivalry is not such a football-inspired ill-feeling between the two, but more of geography, religion and history. Iran and Iraq are neighboring countries, sharing a long history. In the contemporary era, especially during the reign of Saddam Hussein, the two countries had bad relations and fought the Iran–Iraq War for 8 years.[91][92][93][94][95] In 2001, for the first time in decades, an Iran-Iraq match was not held at a neutral venue.[93] The rivalry was escalated after Iraq knocked Iran out of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in controversial circumstances; Iran lodged a complaint to the AFC that one of Iraq's players had submitted a positive doping test months before, hoping to see Iraq removed from the tournament and themselves reinstated in their place,[96] but the complaint was rejected.[97] Iran leads the series with 14 wins, 7 draws and 5 losses.

Stadiums

Since 1972, Iran's national stadium is Tehran's Azadi Stadium with a nominal capacity of 78,116 spectators.[98] Azadi Stadium is the 23rd largest association football stadium in the world, 7th in Asia and 1st in West Asia. A record was set in Azadi for the 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Australia with over 128,000 in attendance.[99] The government restricts Iranian women from entering the stadiums.[100]

From 1942 to 1972, Amjadieh Stadium was Iran's national stadium. The other stadiums that Iran has been played international games are Yadegar Emam Stadium (Tabriz), Takhti Stadium (Tehran) and Enghelab Stadium (Karaj).

The Iran National Football Camp is home to Iran's trainings.

Sponsorship

Primary sponsors include Adidas, Bank Pasargad, 9090, Golrang, Oila and Kaspid.[101]

Asiatic cheetah

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.[78]

Tournament Records

World Cup

World Cup finals World Cup qualifications
Year Round Position Pld W D L GF GA Squad GP W D L GF GA
  1930 Not a FIFA member No qualification
  1934 Not a FIFA member
  1938 Not a FIFA member
  1950 Did not enter Did not enter
  1954 Did not enter
  1958 Did not enter
  1962 Did not enter
  1966 Did not enter
  1970 Did not enter
  1974 Did not qualify 8 5 1 2 9 6
  1978 Round 1 14th 3 0 1 2 2 8 Squad 12 10 2 0 20 3
  1982 Withdrew Withdrew
  1986 Disqualified Disqualified
  1990 Did not qualify 6 5 0 1 12 5
  1994 11 5 3 3 23 13
  1998 Group Stage 20th 3 1 0 2 2 4 Squad 17 8 6 3 57 17
   2002 Did not qualify 14 9 3 2 36 9
  2006 Group Stage 25th 3 0 1 2 2 6 Squad 12 9 1 2 29 7
  2010 Did not qualify 14 5 8 1 15 9
  2014 Group Stage 28th 3 0 1 2 1 4 Squad 16 10 4 2 30 7
  2018 18th 3 1 1 1 2 2 Squad 18 12 6 0 36 5
  2022 To be determined 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total Round 1 5/21 15 2 4 9 9 24 - 128 78 34 16 267 81

Asian Cup

AFC Asian Cup finals AFC Asian Cup qualifications
Year Result Position GP W D L GF GA GP W D L GF GA
  1956 Withdrew Withdrew
  1960 Did not qualify 6 3 1 2 12 10
  1964 Withdrew Withdrew
  1968 Champions 1st 4 4 0 0 11 2 Automatic qualification as hosts
  1972 Champions 1st 5 5 0 0 12 4 Automatic qualification as champions
  1976 Champions 1st 4 4 0 0 13 0 Automatic qualification as hosts
  1980 Third place 3rd 6 3 2 1 16 6 Automatic qualification as champions
  1984 Fourth place 4th 6 2 4 0 8 3 5 5 0 0 21 2
  1988 Third place 3rd 6 2 2 2 3 4 4 2 2 0 6 1
  1992 Round 1 5th 3 1 1 1 2 1 2 2 0 0 10 0
  1996 Third place 3rd 6 3 2 1 14 6 6 6 0 0 27 1
  2000 Quarterfinals 5th 4 2 1 1 7 3 6 4 1 1 16 2
  2004 Third place 3rd 6 3 3 0 14 8 6 5 0 1 16 5
     2007 Quarterfinals 5th 4 2 2 0 6 3 6 4 2 0 12 2
  2011 Quarterfinals 5th 4 3 0 1 6 2 6 4 1 1 11 2
  2015 Quarterfinals 6th 4 3 1 0 7 3 6 5 1 0 18 5
  2019 Semifinals 3rd 6 4 1 1 12 3 8 6 2 0 26 3
  2023 To be determined 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 3 titles 14/17 68 41 19 8 131 48 61 46 10 5 175 33

Olympic Games

Summer Olympic Games Record Qualifications record
Year Result Position Pld W D L GF GA Pld W D L GF GA
19081960 Did not enter Did not enter
  1964 Group Stage 12th 3 0 1 2 1 6 6 4 1 1 14 3
  1968 Did not enter Did not enter
  1972 Group Stage 12th 3 1 0 2 1 9 5 3 2 0 6 0
  1976 Quarter-finals 7th 3 1 0 2 4 5 4 3 1 0 8 1
  1980 Boycotted the event 5 3 2 0 18 2
  1984 Did not enter
  1988 Did not qualify 2 1 0 1 2 2
1992–present See Iran national under-23 team See Iran national under-23 team
Total Quarter-finals 4 / 17 9 2 1 6 6 20 22 14 6 2 48 8

Asian Games

Host nation(s) / year Round Pld W D L GS GA Dif Pts
  1951 Runners-up 3 2 0 1 2 1 1 6
  1954 Did not enter
  1958 Round 1 2 0 0 2 0 9 9 0
  1962 Did not enter
  1966 Runners-up 7 4 0 3 9 6 3 12
  1970 Round 1 2 0 1 1 2 3 1 1
  1974 Champions 7 7 0 0 20 1 19 21
  1978 Withdrew
  1982 Quarterfinals 4 2 0 2 3 2 1 6
  1986 Quarterfinals 5 3 1 1 13 2 11 10
  1990 Champions 5 4 1 0 7 1 6 13
  1994 Round 1 4 1 2 1 5 2 3 5
  1998 Champions 8 7 0 1 25 7 18 21
2002–present See Iran national under-23 team
Total 10/13 47 30 5 12 86 34 +52 95

West Asian Games

Host nation(s) / year Round Pld W D L GS GA Dif Pts
  1997 Champions ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
  2002 Runners-up 4 1 3 0 5 4 1 6
  2005 Third place 4 3 1 0 10 2 8 10
Total 3/3 8 4 4 0 15 6 9 16

West Asian Championship

Host nation(s) / year Round Pld W D L GS GA Dif Pts
  2000 Champions 5 4 1 0 7 1 6 13
  2002 Third place 4 1 2 1 4 3 1 5
  2004 Champions 4 4 0 0 17 3 14 12
  2007 Champions 4 3 1 0 5 1 4 10
  2008 Champions 4 4 0 0 13 2 11 12
  2010 Runners-up 4 2 1 1 8 5 3 7
  2012 Group Stage 3 1 2 0 2 1 1 5
  2014 Did not enter
Total 7/8 28 19 7 2 56 16 40 64

Central Asian Championship

Host nation(s) / year Round Pld W D L GS GA Dif Pts
  2019 - - - - - - - - -
Total - - - - - - - - -

RCD Cup / ECO Cup

Host nation(s) / year Round Pld W D L GS GA Dif Pts
  1965 Champions 2 1 1 0 4 1 3 4
  1967 Runners-up 2 1 0 1 2 1 1 3
  1969 Runners-up 2 1 0 1 4 6 2 3
  1970 Champions 2 1 1 0 8 1 7 4
  1974 Runners-up 2 1 0 1 2 2 0 3
  1993 Champions 4 4 0 0 10 1 9 12
Total 6/6 14 9 2 3 30 12 18 29

Results and fixtures

Previous matches

  Win   Draw   Loss

Date Venue Opponent Competition Result Iranian scorers Captain
2019
7 January 2019   Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi   Yemen 2019 AFC Asian Cup 5–0 W Taremi   12'25'
Dejagah   23'
Azmoun   53'
Ghoddos   78'
Dejagah
12 January 2019   Al Nahyan Stadium, Abu Dhabi   Vietnam 2019 AFC Asian Cup 2–0 W Azmoun   38'69' Dejagah
16 January 2019   Al-Maktoum Stadium, Dubai   Iraq 2019 AFC Asian Cup 0–0 D Ebrahimi
20 January 2019   Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi   Oman 2019 AFC Asian Cup 2–0 W Jahanbakhsh   32'
Dejagah   40'
Dejagah
24 January 2019   Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi   China PR 2019 AFC Asian Cup 3–0 W Taremi   18'
Azmoun   31'
Ansarifard   90'
Dejagah
28 January 2019   Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain   Japan 2019 AFC Asian Cup 0–3 L Dejagah
06 June 2019   Azadi Stadium, Tehran   Syria International Friendly 5–0 W Jahanbakhsh   21'
Taremi   35, 50, 59'
Sayyadmanesh   84'
Hajisafi
11 June 2019   Seoul World Cup Stadium, Seoul   South Korea International Friendly 1–1 D OG   62' Hajisafi

Forthcoming matches

Date Competition Location Opponent
2019
02 September 2019 International Friendly TBD TBD
10 September 2019 International Friendly TBD TBD
*FIFA International match days 2018–2024[102]
§AFC Calendar of Competitions 2019[103]

Records versus other nations

Coaching staff

Manager   Marc Wilmots[104]
Assistant coaches   Manu Ferrera[105]
  Vahid Hashemian[106]
Goalkeeping coach   Laurent Spinosi [107]
Fitness coach   Kevin Miny[108]
Physiotherapist   Alireza Shahab[109]
Analyst   Herman De Landtsheer[110]
Team Doctor   Dr. Parhan Khanlari

Players

Current squad

The following 26 players have been called up for training camp and friendly matches vs Syria and Korea Rep. in June 2019

  • Caps and goals correct as of 12 June 2019, after the match against   Korea.
No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Alireza Beiranvand (1992-09-21) 21 September 1992 (age 26) 36 0   Persepolis
12 1GK Hossein Hosseini (1992-06-30) 30 June 1992 (age 26) 4 0   Esteghlal
22 1GK Payam Niazmand (1995-04-06) 6 April 1995 (age 24) 0 0   Sepahan
30 1GK Amir Abedzadeh (1993-04-26) 26 April 1993 (age 26) 3 0   Marítimo

2 2DF Vouria Ghafouri (1987-09-20) 20 September 1987 (age 31) 27 0   Esteghlal
3 2DF Ehsan Hajsafi (Vice-Captain) (1990-02-25) 25 February 1990 (age 29) 107 7   Tractor Sazi
4 2DF Rouzbeh Cheshmi (1993-07-24) 24 July 1993 (age 25) 18 1   Esteghlal
5 2DF Milad Mohammadi (1993-09-29) 29 September 1993 (age 25) 30 0 Unattached
8 2DF Morteza Pouraliganji (1992-04-19) 19 April 1992 (age 27) 39 2   Al-Arabi
13 2DF Hossein Kanaanizadegan (1994-03-23) 23 March 1994 (age 25) 12 0   Machine Sazi
15 2DF Pejman Montazeri (1983-09-06) 6 September 1983 (age 35) 50 1   Esteghlal
19 2DF Majid Hosseini (1996-06-20) 20 June 1996 (age 22) 11 0   Trabzonspor
23 2DF Ramin Rezaeian (1990-03-21) 21 March 1990 (age 29) 41 2   Al-Shahania
24 2DF Sadegh Moharrami (1996-03-01) 1 March 1996 (age 23) 4 0   Dinamo Zagreb

6 3MF Saeid Ezatolahi (1996-10-01) 1 October 1996 (age 22) 30 1   Rostov
7 3MF Masoud Shojaei (Captain) (1984-06-09) 9 June 1984 (age 35) 84 9   Tractor Sazi
9 3MF Omid Ebrahimi (1987-09-16) 16 September 1987 (age 31) 47 0   Al-Ahli
11 3MF Vahid Amiri (1988-04-02) 2 April 1988 (age 31) 50 1   Trabzonspor
16 3MF Mehdi Torabi (1994-09-10) 10 September 1994 (age 24) 29 6   Persepolis
18 3MF Alireza Jahanbakhsh (1993-08-11) 11 August 1993 (age 25) 49 7   Brighton & Hove Albion
26 3MF Ahmad Nourollahi (1993-01-02) 2 January 1993 (age 26) 4 0   Persepolis

10 4FW Karim Ansarifard (1990-04-03) 3 April 1990 (age 29) 78 19   Nottingham Forest
17 4FW Mehdi Taremi (1992-07-18) 18 July 1992 (age 26) 42 19   Al-Gharafa
25 4FW Allahyar Sayyadmanesh (2001-06-29) 29 June 2001 (age 17) 1 1   Fenerbahçe
27 4FW Ali Alipour (1994-11-12) 12 November 1994 (age 24) 3 0   Persepolis

Recent call-ups

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 Mohammad Rashid MazaheriWD (1989-05-18) 18 May 1989 (age 30) 3 0   Tractor Sazi Training Camp, May 2019

DF Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh (1991-05-11) 11 May 1991 (age 28) 13 1   Tractor Sazi 2019 AFC Asian Cup PRE, Dec 2018
DF Saeid Aghaei (1995-02-09) 9 February 1995 (age 24) 5 0   Sepahan 2019 AFC Asian Cup PRE, Dec 2018
DF Armin Sohrabian (1995-07-26) 26 July 1995 (age 23) 0 0   Esteghlal   Bolivia, 16 October 2018

MF Ashkan Dejagah (1986-07-05) 5 July 1986 (age 32) 58 11   Tractor Sazi   Japan, 28 January 2019
MF Ali Karimi INJ (1994-02-11) 11 February 1994 (age 25) 10 0   Esteghlal 2019 AFC Asian Cup PRE, Dec 2018
MF Ali Gholizadeh INJ (1996-03-10) 10 March 1996 (age 23) 6 3   Charleroi 2019 AFC Asian Cup PRE, Dec 2018
MF Ahmad Abdollahzadeh (1993-05-06) 6 May 1993 (age 26) 4 0   Foolad 2019 AFC Asian Cup PRE, Dec 2018
MF Farshad Ahmadzadeh (1992-09-23) 23 September 1992 (age 26) 0 0 Unattached 2019 AFC Asian Cup PRE, Dec 2018

FW Sardar Azmoun INJ (1995-01-01) 1 January 1995 (age 24) 46 28   Zenit Saint Petersburg Training Camp, May 2019
FW Saman Ghoddos (1993-09-06) 6 September 1993 (age 25) 21 2   Amiens   Japan, 28 January 2019
FW Kaveh Rezaei INJ (1992-04-05) 5 April 1992 (age 27) 11 1   Club Brugge 2019 AFC Asian Cup PRE, Dec 2018
 
Iran men's national team group picture on 30 May 2014 in a friendly match against Angola in Hartberg, Austria. Manager: Carlos Queiroz
Standing left to right: Mahini, Davari, Ansarifard, Alenemeh, Khanzadeh, Nekounam
Sitting left to right: Hajsafi, Beitashour, Haddadifar, Azmoun, Dejagah
Notes
  • INJ Player withdrawn from the squad due to an injury.
  • PRE Preliminary squad.
  • RC Player suspended for yellow or red card accumulation.
  • RET Player retired from the national team.
  • SUS Player suspended.
  • WD Player withdrew for non-injury related reasons
    .

Previous squads

World Cups

Olympic Games

Asian Cups

See also Category:Iran international footballers
Asian Games
Since 2002, the Asian Games has been part of the under-23 team's record.

Records

Most capped players

 
Javad Nekounam is the most capped player in the history of Iran with 151 caps.
 
Ali Karimi of Iran with 127 caps and 38 goals.
 
Jalal Hosseini of Iran with 115 caps.

As of 6 June 2019, the 10 players with the most caps:

# Name Career Caps Goals
1 Javad Nekounam 2000–2015 151 39
2 Ali Daei 1993–2006 149 109
3 Ali Karimi 1998–2012 127 38
4 Jalal Hosseini 2007–2018 115 8
5 Mehdi Mahdavikia 1996–2009 110 13
6 Ehsan Hajsafi 2008– 106 6
7 Andranik Teymourian 2005–2016 101 9
8 Karim Bagheri 1993–2010 87 50
9 Hossein Kaebi 2002–2010 84 1
10 Masoud Shojaei 2004– 84 8

Most capped goalkeepers

 
Iranian iconic goalkeeper Ahmadreza Abedzadeh is the most capped goalkeeper in the history of Iran with 79 caps.

As of 28 January 2019, the 5 goalkeepers with the most caps:

# Name Career Caps
1 Ahmad Reza Abedzadeh 1987–1998 79
2 Mehdi Rahmati 2004–2012 76
3 Ebrahim Mirzapour 2001–2011 71
4 Nasser Hejazi[111] 1968–1980 62
5 Alireza Beiranvand 2014– 34

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

Top goalscorers

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

As of 28 January 2019, the 10 players with the most goals:

# Name Career Goals Caps Avg/game
1 Ali Daei (list) 1993–2006 109 149 0.73
2 Karim Bagheri 1993–2010 50 87 0.57
3 Javad Nekounam 2000–2015 39 151 0.26
4 Ali Karimi 1998–2012 38 127 0.30
5 Sardar Azmoun 2014– 28 46 0.61
6 Gholam Hossein Mazloumi 1969–1977 19 40 0.48
Mehdi Taremi 2015– 19 41 0.46
Karim Ansarifard 2009– 19 76 0.25
9 Farshad Pious[112] 1984–1994 18 34 0.53
10 Reza Ghoochannejhad 2012–2018 17 44 0.39

The records are collected based on data from FIFA, RSSSF & Varzesh3.
Bold names denote a player still playing or available for selection.

Iran captains

As of 24 January 2019 after match against China PR
# Reign Player Caps (goals) Years active Matches as captain (goals)
1 1965–1967 Mohammad Ranjbar 23 (0) 1959–1967 9 (0)
2 1967–1970 Hassan Habibi 31 (0) 1958–1970 10 (0)
3 1970–1972 Mostafa Arab 48 (2) 1959–1972 13 (0)
4 1972–1977 Parviz Ghelichkhani 64 (12) 1964–1977 26 (7)
5 1977–1980 Ali Parvin 76 (13) 1970–1980 31 (2)
6 1980 Nasser Hejazi 62 (0) 1968–1980 7 (0)
7 1980–1984 Mehdi Dinvarzadeh 26 (0) 1977–1984 9 (0)
8 1984–87
1989–91
Mohammad Panjali 45 (0) 1978–1991 27 (0)
9 1987–89
1991–93
Sirous Ghayeghran 43 (6) 1986–1993 22 (3)
10 1993 Hamid Derakhshan 41 (9) 1980–1993 12 (3)
11 1993–1994 Farshad Pious 35 (19) 1984–1994 4 (1)
12 1996 Mojtaba Moharrami 37 (5) 1988–1996 2 (0)
13 1996–1998 Ahmad Reza Abedzadeh 79 (0) 1988–1998 38 (0)
14 1998–1999 Nader Mohammadkhani 64 (4) 1988–1999 9 (1)
15 1999–2000 Javad Zarincheh 80 (1) 1987–2000 8 (0)
16 2000–2006 Ali Daei 149 (109) 1993–2006 80 (44)
17 2006–2009 Mehdi Mahdavikia 110 (13) 1996–2009 17 (1)
18 2009–2015 Javad Nekounam 151 (39) 2000–2015 56 (18)
19 2015–2016 Andranik Teymourian 101 (9) 2005–2016 8 (1)
20 2016–2017 Ashkan Dejagah 42 (7) 2012– 8 (2)
21 2017– Masoud Shojaei 82 (8) 2004– 7 (0)

Most matches as captain

As of 28 January 2019, the 10 players with the most matches as captain:

#

[113][114]

Player Caps Years active Matches as captain
1 Ali Daei 149 1993–2006 80
2 Javad Nekounam 151 2000–2015 56
3 Ahmad Reza Abedzadeh 79 1988–1998 38
4 Ali Parvin 76 1970–1980 31
5 Mohammad Panjali 45 1978–1991 27
6 Parviz Ghelichkhani 64 1964–1977 26
7 Sirous Ghayeghran 43 1986–1993 22
8 Ashkan Dejagah 58 2012– 18
9 Mehdi Mahdavikia 110 1996–2009 17
10 Ali Karimi 127 1998–2012 16

Iran World Cup captains

# 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 1 (0) Nader Mohammadkhani France 1998 1988–1999 64 (4)
3 2 (0) Ahmad Reza Abedzadeh 1987–1998 79 (0)
4 2 (0) Ali Daei Germany 2006 1993–2006 149 (109)
5 1 (0) Yahya Golmohammadi 1993–2006 74 (5)
6 3 (0) Javad Nekounam Brazil 2014 2000–2015 151 (39)
7 1 (0) Masoud Shojaei Russia 2018 2004– 82 (8)
8 2 (0) Ehsan Hajsafi 2008– 104 (6)

Iran Asian Cup captains

# Matches as captain Player Asian Cup played as captain Years active Caps (goals)
1 4 (0)[115] Hassan Habibi Iran 1968 1958–1970 31 (0)
2 4 (0)[116] Mostafa Arab Thailand 1972 1959–1972 48 (2)
3 3 (0)[117] Parviz Ghelichkhani Iran 1976 1964–1977 64 (12)
4 5 (0)[118] Nasser Hejazi Kuwait 1980 1968–1980 62 (0)
5 6 (0)[119] Mohammad Panjali Singapore 1984 1978–1991 45 (0)
6 6 (0)[120] Sirous Ghayeghran Qatar 1988 1986–1992 40 (6)
7 3 (0)[121] Japan 1992
8 2 (0)[122] Mojtaba Moharrami UAE 1996 1988–1996 37 (5)
9 4 (3) Ali Daei Lebanon 2000 1993–2006 149 (109)
10 6 (3) China 2004
11 4 (0) Mehdi Mahdavikia Asian Cup 2007 1996–2009 110 (13)
12 3 (0) Javad Nekounam Qatar 2011 2000–2015 151 (39)
13 4 (0) Australia 2015
14 5 (2) Ashkan Dejagah UAE 2019 2012– 57 (11)
15 1 (0) Omid Ebrahimi 2012– 45 (0)

Honours

 
Iran's squad against South Korea in 1978 World Cup qualification, Tehran, 11 November 1977

Summary

Event Gold Silver Bronze Total
Asian Championship 3 0 5 8
Asian Games 3 2 0 5
West Asian Championship 4 1 1 6
West Asian Games 1 1 1 3
ECO Cup 3 3 0 6
LG Cup 3 0 3 6
Minor Tournament 5 6 4 15
AFC–OFC Challenge Cup 1 0 0 1
Afro-Asian Cup of Nations 0 1 0 1
Total 22 14 15 51

Continental

Champions: 1968, 1972, 1976
Third place: 1980, 1988, 1996, 2004, 2019
Fourth place: 1984
  Gold Medal: 1974, 1990, 1998
  Silver Medal: 1951, 1966

Regional

Champions: 2000, 2004, 2007*, 2008
Runners-up: 2010
Third place: 2002
Champions: 1965, 1970, 1993
Runners-up: 1967, 1969, 1974

* as B Team

Intercontinental

Champions: 2003
Runners-up: 1991

Minor Tournament

See also

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External links