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World Cup

Electrifying loss
After watching Iran's 3-0 loss to QPR, I have decided that perhaps I have a future in football


Payam Ghamsari
July 25, 2005

On Friday I decided to get back to my roots and had an Iranian themed weekend. I started on Friday evening with a Mehmoni/surprise party for a family-friend's graduation. This involved half the guests and relatives arriving an hour after the guest of honour.

Once the guest of honour had been surprised by those who had been almost on time, we then spent about half an hour taking photographs of the veritable banquet that our hosts had prepared. We then proceeded to devour the copious amounts of food laid before us, followed by chai, fruit and shirini. Then followed an impromptu musical recital and dancing mostly by my brother who has more rhythm than I do. Then finally more photographs where the cake took precedence over the guest of honour in each shot...

On Saturday I went to watch Iran (their second string team) QPR (Queen Parks Rangers) in a "friendly". I had only ever watched one football game before Saturday and that was Iran vs America during the 1998 World Cup and that was on TV. So Iran vs QPR was my first live football match. I have always thought football was a silly game, but as I knew a lot of people were going I decided to go along out of curiosity and a misplaced sense of national pride.

Now I can't compare it to a normal football game as I have not been to one. But the first thing I noticed was the refreshment stand: they served beer, coke, dough and -- believe it or not -- PG tips (tea bags). Then and there I decided that any game which served PG tips at matches couldn't be all bad.

I then spent about half an hour saying hello to lots of familiar faces, exchanging pleasantries and enquiring after their extended family members before taking my seat. The atmosphere in the stands was electric. The Iranian side of the stadium was filled completely. The fans were chanting and singing over and over "Iran, Iran, Iran... "

The air was filled with excitement during the first half of the match. Iran had several chances to score, but each one was thwarted by QPR. By the end of the first half the score was QPR one, Iran nil.

During half time I had to climb over large numbers of people to say hello to every one I had neglected to say hello to before the game, so as not offend them. Personally I believe that the task of greeting so many Iranians in such a short space of time, was far more difficult than playing the match.

When the second half started I thought Iran were about to score, until my friend explained that they change sides halfway through the game, which meant Iran weren't quite as close to scoring as I had thought. I did notice that the players on both sides fell over quite a lot, so I have decided that perhaps I have a future in football as anyone who has seen me run will attest that I am very good at falling over.

In the end QPR won three nil and they were the better team, but the atmosphere was positive throughout the game and as soon as it was over, instead of tears and violence, we all started planning where we were going to go to eat chelo kebab.

After watching the game, I have decided that I am going to go to Germany next year to watch Iran play in the World Cup.

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