Iran's absence at the World Cup still smarts...


Iran's absence at the World Cup still smarts...
by eroonman

Some think civil rights and personal and political freedom, others think man's inhumanity to women. Certainly these are crimes of the Iranian government worthy of the most public denouncement and humiliation.

But watching the World Cup final between the Netherlands and Spain this weekend, I felt a certain other sense of emptiness, as if I was not part of something global, that I was condemned to the outside. As I watched the many African faces in the crowd, I was jealous of them as they sat and cheered. Knowing that Africans come from some of the most obviously oppressive regimes in history, provided no solace. They were there, and I was here. Their joy and unity as Africans celebrating their hosting of the world obvious. 

We can of course now move on to analysis.

The Iranian soccer federation or the Religio-Sporting entity responsible for fielding the National team, is a disaster. Plagued by incompetence, infighting, these idiots don't even have the sense to buy their way out of the problem. The teams they have tried to put together however have been an accurate amalgam of Iranian society at least.

The ungrateful overseas expat Iranian player:

4-5 of the recent team played for the likes of the German Bundeslige and various professional clubs outside Iran. These players make hard currency worth millions inside Iran. Ali Daie has his own men's clothing line in Iran! The ill-will and counter productive tension you create with players from the outside mixed in with players from Iran's Special-Ed league system, only begs for locker room antics, such as we heard of the stories of Ali Daie slapping Ali Karimi. Now add the dynamic of , "pass me the ball so I can score..." and you can see where this is headed.

The bitter Iranian league player:

Raised on the stress of playing well enough to play, but not too well to cast a shadow of doubt, namely that they will try and get drafted by a UAE, or Turkish league, or European team overseas and leave "all this behind", the players in Iran are conflicted at best.

And this level of conflict is the dirty pool from which the Revolutionary Guards who run this too, skim the scum off of, to select the national team.

Once chosen or vetted or qualified by a mullah, which direction the blood of a sacrificial goat flows, or whatever hokey religious sporting morality test they use, now add in the jealousy of the inside Iranian player who is now supposed to willingly pass the ball to an outside of Iran European Pro-teammate, is unlikely if impossible to create the kind of selfless teamwork necessary to win and qualify.

And so we didn't. Neither Daie's suits, nor that stern lost look of the angry dullard shepherd who keeps losing count of his sheep, could prevent Iran from consistently getting past even the easiest teams to qualify for 2010.

What makes this utterly (udderly?) frustrating is that Iranians play soccer very very very well. Scan around even the US or Canada on a Thursday night (why Thursdays?) or Sunday morning, and you will find Iranians playing football at a higher than common level. The fact that even Iranians on the inside can still excel at Europe's highest level, is proof that Iranians have the passion to develop and demonstrate the skill.

So, if we have the players, who have the skill, and we ALL agree there is a national passion, then what pray tell, could be keeping us in this constant state of international embarrassment? I mean if the US can get past the first round, then where in God's Green Earth is Iran?

If you eliminate all of Iran's strengths, you are left with the weaknesses, and in this case there is one weakness. Strategy. Or the lack of one.

Since there is now 4 years until the 2014 World Cup, this gives us 2 years to begin the hard work of preparing a team and then starting the long path to qualification. Here are the specific recommendations I would make as a fan who called Chelsea this year, and had an All-European Final (no South America) with Netherlands as one of the teams (I had Germany and Netherlands in the Final):

Forwards: Clearly fast and short passing is the successful strategy, so we go back to a short fast center forward who is a proven scoring machine (can modern Islamic medicine clone Hassan Roshan?).

Next we need 2 forwards on either wing to support the center forward. These must be fast, tall (for heading) and strong playmakers. Although they only need to get the ball to the center forward. His luck will do the rest.

Let's see that's 3 so now we do something I think will be taken as unconventional and controversial but hear me out.

How about 5 midfielders? Midfielders traditionally play defense and offense, and so will these. They must be superb passers, quick and smart defenders, and crafty playmakers, each with a very strong long shoot, in case they get a chance to take a shot on goal. Yes, this leaves our defense a bit weak if they don't come back to help out. But if that is your job, you need to do it.

Finally we have 3 defenders. These must be scarily tall, super fast, and very strong to keep out the other team's forwards and to ruin ANY play. if 2 of the 5 midfielders come back, we've got 5 defensemen, if all 5 come back, we've got 8. With the added ability to quickly move up the field, to the waiting 3 forwards.

A counter attack with this kind of lineup, could be very fast indeed. And it's all about the counter attack.

Each game would be prepared for with extensive film of the recent games of the opponent, especially with statistical analysis of each opposing player's preferences (he always goes left on the penalties).

The objective would always be to immediately open the game with 20 set plays, to score just 2 quick goals and then ride the win to the end with smart defensive time killing possession.

No mistakes, no arrogance, no venting, no mistakes, no mistakes, no mistakes.

Winning in football is not about how good you are, it is about possession, and making fewer mistakes than the other guys.

Here's to 2014! Brazil for a World Cup would be a magical experience to be sure, but if Iran doesn't make it in again, I'm seriously going to  have to consider hurting a small animal.


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by Cost-of-Progress on

Sports and sportmanship is not rewarded in our culture. Our collective mentality and how we approach this subject does not render itself to valuing sports as a whole. Sure, we may get excited about football, but I ask the following of those who went to school in Iran:

- What did you do during your phys ed classes in school in Iran? (varzesh) 

- What type of sports did your school promote?

- How many & what type of scholarships were given out to those who graduated from your school?

- What type of sports did your parents promote at home?

- What type of sports were promoted for women? (during Shah of course)

- Did you have a sense of sports competition when in school?

This is important because competition breeds innovation and progress - something we have been lacking.







by yolanda on

Ali Daei made a big mistake by not letting Ali Karimi join Team Melli........he made a dictatorial comment that Ali Karimi will be banned from team Melli for life.........less than 24 hours after Iran lost to Saudi Arabia, Daei got fired!........Shortly after Ali Karimi rejoined team Melli, he scored a goal...........I believe that if Karimi was allowed to play earlier, Iran may have qualified for WC........the whole thing was super sad!

Wow! Daei slapped Karimi......that is so mean! I like Karimi a lot....I hope he comes to LA and joins Galaxy! I will go & watch him play for sure!


Mohammad Ala

We need to support our players.

by Mohammad Ala on

We need to support our players.  We have a good chance to be in Brazil.  I will try to be there if Iran makes it.  Meanwhile let us support our Team-e Melli.