By Bruce Bahmani
March 26, 1998
The Iranian

I know that we are all very anxious for the World Cup to start so that we can cheer for Iran in a 20-year, long-awaited, appearance on the world soccer scene.
This is it!
No more hollow Asian Cup victories, I mean who is in the Asian cup anyway? Brazil? Germany? Italy? France? Holland? Hell, even Cameroon ain't in the Asian Cup. How can a man truly measure himself unless he goes up against the best of men?
We come from a land of kings and conquests, pahlevan's and daleers, dammit! It is in our most basic of instincts to push, pull, stretch, strain, bet, wrestle, dance, drink, pass excruciatingly tough University of Tehran entrance exams, and live our lives in a constant state of intense competition. This is our credo.
Even the revolution was a competition of sorts, if you think about it. Just another guy pissed off at another guy for riding around in a cooler car!
The Point:
My point with this article was to trace a path the Iranian national team could take in order to win the cup. Please accept my simplification of the order of events and definitely question my statistical error. This is only hypothetical and to write this I had to put aside journalistic objectivity in favor of desperate optimism and self flagellation.
Here's how it could go:
Round One:
Iran beats Yugoslavia: C'mon, easily! The only fear Yugoslavia has is if the Bosnians ever put a team together. They'll underestimate Iran which as we all know is a BIG mistake.

Iran beats USA: Given and guaranteed! The USA team is made up of over-the-hill Major League Soccer veterans trying for one last Snickers commercial to retire with and move onto their Late Night ESPN2 contract announcing the play-by-play on "Extreme-Nude Snowboarding!" sponsored by Budweiser. They have no investment to win.

Iran beats Germany: Clearly the hardest game, Iran has always been in awe of the German style (joon! Beh eM Weh ro beram), but Khodadad was BORN in the right place at the right time! Germany doesn't have any emotional reason to win, but Iran wants to impress them with how closely we have emulated the German style of play. Did I hear: "Zegheshk!" (zereshk with a Bavarian accent)?

Iran and Germany advance to Round 2.

 Here are the Round One Advancers:
 Group A Group B Group C Group D Group E Group G Group H
Brazil Italy Russia Spain Holland Rumania Argentina
Scotland Cameroon France Nigeria Belgium England Croatia
Round 2:
Iran beats Rumania: The battle of upper body strength and street smarts. A tough game but doable, given Daie's height advantage over everyone!
Here are the Round Two Advancers:
Brazil France Germany England Italy Nigeria
Iran beats Nigeria: Speed is the factor here. Sheer force and strength lose out to cunning and surgical strikes, this is one place where shorter legs are an absolute advantage!

Nigeria goes to the third place game.

Brazil sends England to the third place game.

Nigeria and England play for third place: Nigeria wins easily since most of the English league is made up of Nigerians.

Iran and Brazil meet for the first time! It is one thing to grow up playing with an orange on the streets of Sao Paolo, but an entirely different matter to play in the kucheh's of Ardebil with a ripe Talebi! It is precisely this unknown aspect of Iran which gives them the edge to win 1-0 and upset the champions!

Thanks for indulging in a schoolboy's fantasy.

Happy Noruz and enjoy The Games!

Iran Soccer 98, Official World Cup Bruce Bahmani Lives, writes and cheers on the Iranian National Team in The San Francisco Bay Area. (Back to top)