I have seen far too many blog entries and articles criticizing Team Melli and other Iranians who everyone is claiming are “too patriotic” to see how bad our team is. How exactly did we even make it to the World Cup if we are so bad?
Keep in mind that this is not a competition that every country in the world gets to jump into and play, these teams have earned their spots to be there, this in itself is already a testament to the sort of team we have. How many countries did not make it to the World Cup? Doesn't it say something that Iran did? Doesn't their FIFA world ranking at 23 count for something?
No, we're not in the top five or top ten, but a ranking of 23 out of 205 is nothing to be ashamed of.
I realize that some Iranians do become a bit blinded by nationalism during these sorts of events, yes perhaps it's extreme to think we'd win the actual World Cup, but it is not outrageous to want to win one or two games!
No one is being nationalistic when they are disappointed that their team lost a game, why is it that Iranians feel like they must attack each other every chance they get? Can we, please, for just this one occasion, pretend to be united?
Here is an event that does not involve politics, culture, gender, ethnicity, religion or anything else Iranians use to divide themselves. Here is an event that only requires we support a group of athletes who want, probably more than we could imagine, to win a game of football.
I admit, I was upset when Iran lost to Mexico. I was frustrated like every other Iranian once the second half started. I pointed out strategic flaws as if I were some sort of expert and when it was all over, I moped around the house a little before sucking it up and running my errands. I didn't become infuriated with a team of stressed, talented athletes who lost a game and I didn't run to every Iranian I knew screaming that we've a horrible team. Doesn't that seem a bit extreme to you?
Doesn't it seem a little extreme to write an article for iranian.com saying that the Iranian team is just plain awful and obviously all Iranians are blind to this due to their rabid patriotism? Wouldn't it seem more logical to say hey, the Iranian team has improved a lot, they've taken Iran to a third World Cup and, at least for the first half of the Mexico match, they played really really well?
I'm tired of the complaining, if it is not about how bad the team is it is about how every other Iranian on the planet is such an idiot for not seeing how bad the team is. Grow up. In the end, and everyone groans when this is said, but it really is just a game. It's should be a way for us to all come together for a few weeks but it seems there are still a few among us who are determined to make it a miserable affair.
Oh, and lastly, everyone needs to let go to the personal attacks. Yes, we are all quite aware of Ali Daei's age, there is no need to repeat it over and over again complete with grandpa jokes and jeers about how he shouldn't be “allowed” to play. It's the man's last hurrah, he's discussed retirement after the World Cup, I am sure he's putting in his best effort.
If it were your last World Cup, you'd want to make quite a name for yourself as a farewell, wouldn't you? Daei is a good player, yes I wondered where he was a few times during the Mexico match too, but I don't think he should be banned from playing because of his age.
I hope that the Portugal game won't incite the same sort of rude and foolish remarks that the Mexico game did. If our team bothers you so much go root for Italy like the ashamed Irani teens do who want to look cool in front of their American friends. I would rather the bitter and pessimistic Iranians go root for Italy than hang around watching Team Melli, determined to do nothing but criticize.
GO TEAM MELLI!!!
About As a university student Tahereh wastes away her the bulk of her life studying. In her spare time she drinks toxic amounts of tea while dreaming of a united Iran where she can raise her future children. She keeps a blog anar-anar.livejournal.com