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World Cup

We are not the team we all think we are


Saied Ardakani
June 13, 2006

Well Iran lost and I have been angry and frustrated for the past couple days. We went from being extremely happy and hopeful at half time to having our dreams crushed by 12:31. If I have learned anything from that game, it is that Iranians are so nationalistic that they put everything before reality. 

What we Iranians have to accept is that Iran's team is actually one of the worst teams in this World Cup. We are not the soccer power we think we are, and ofcourse we can't beat teams like Mexico, Portugal, and yes, probably even Angola, when we have a hard time beating Asian teams. 

Now I am hearing a lot of stuff about who is to blame and even some crazy conspiracy theories about how the government is involved. Again, typical Iranians, always trying to find a scapegoat, and always trying to take the easy way out of every situation, without confronting the problem and trying to fix it.

Let me tell you all something, Iran's soccer team is nothing, and the players suck compared to other teams. At this point in the careers of these players, they should know how to clear a ball, how to pass a ball, and how to use team work. Our players have none of these.

Have you people seen how Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago, Ghana, Angola, and the Ivory Coast played? They were all playing strong teams, and in some cases, such as with Ghana and the Ivory Coast, soccer super powers. These teams played like professional world class teams. They played like they wanted to win, they played with heart. Ivory Coast almost beat Argentina, and the same goes for Ghana and Angola who were up against Italy and Portugal respectively! Iran would have been crushed had they been up against opponents like that.

All the teams I mentioned above, with the exception of Ecuador, lack experience and were at their first World Cup appearances. How in the hell were they able to play better than Iran? Who are they? Where did they come from? When watching them play, I thought to myself: "Why doesn't Iran play like that? Iran is a good team right?"

That's when it hit me. We suck! It's the truth and we have to accept it. We are not the team we all think we are. We let nationalism get in the way of rational thinking. Now to the game itself. Iran did good in the first half for two reasons: 1)They were playing aggressive and offensively and 2)Mexico had not gotten in their rythm yet. The second half was just shockingly horrible. Now I'm not going to pin the blame on anyone, because in my opinion, the team as a whole sucked, but I will say this, whoever decided that Iran should play defensively is a moron.

When a team plays defensively, they need to atleast have a good defense. Iran has no defense, it is virtually non-existent! The other thing with playing defensively is that you give the opponent the chance to keep hammering you, and eventually they will score, which is what happened.

Do I think Iran could have won or atleast tied had they played agressively, yes, but do I think Iran will get any better in the future, no, atleast not if they continue being selfish and unskilled in terms of passing, clearing, and working together. I suggest the Iranian players take a look out how the "lesser teams" played against the world powers, and learn from them, because the bottom line is that they are better than us!

Also, I find it ridiculous how some Iranians could not put politics aside for that one day. Damn the Mojahedin terrorist organisation, which set up protests outside the stadium against their fellow Iranians (once a traitor, always a traitor, I want all the supporters of the Mojahedin to know this). Another thing I find ridiculous is that some Iranians blame the government and others for Iran's defeat.

I have heard theories from "the regime in Iran bought tickets for 4000 Mexican fans just so they could demoralise Iran's team" to "Daei over ruled Branko's lineup in the second half so that he could play". All you Iranians out there, be realistic, get your heads out of your egotistical "we are superior to everyone and can't lose unless there is a huge conspiracy going on" asses. I also want to say that I feel bad for Branko Ivonkovic.

I feel bad that he was stupid enough to coach Iran's team, but to be fair, he didn't know how Iranians were at the time. He didn't know that nothing was good enough, and he didn't know how Iranians would complain about everything. Branko has planted a seed and that seed will grow, but Iranians criticise him, whether he does good or bad, and will continue criticising everyone and everything. Branko has made mistakes, but when it comes down to it, its the whole teams fault. I wish Branko the best of luck after he leaves the Iranian team after the World Cup, and I applaud him for his effort.

So in conclusion, here are my suggestions for the next two games:

1) Do not play Daei for the the full 90 minutes, maybe just a half (Daei is old and mostly useless now, he was good once, but now its time for him to bow out gracefully and accept the fact that he can no longer play),

2) Play aggressively (the best defense is a good offense, the only way we will beat Portugal and Angola is by playing as aggressive as they play),

and finally,

3) Support the team regardless of your political standing, pack the stadium, and win or lose, be happy that we atleast made it to the World Cup.

Good luck Team Melli, hopefully you can win the next two matches and make us all happy, but if you don't, at least know that I understand why, and I won't hold it against you.

You can check my blog for my opinions regarding Iran at

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