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They wanted the Olympics, but they waited for Karpin. Iran’s team will host Russia on Thursday

Date: June 4, 2023 Time: 00:40:29


The FIFA sanction left the Russian team off the international calendar for a long time. Last year, they first met in September and only played three depressingly miserable games all fall against teams from the former Soviet republics of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, scattered in the FIFA rankings among the bottom of the top hundred. . the beginning of the second.

But the RFU did not give up, they searched the world for training partners for Karpin’s team, and in March managed to agree on a much fancier opponent. On March 23, our guys will play in Tehran with the Iranian national team (24th place), and three days later they will host Iraq in Luzhniki (68th place). The first of these games will be the most serious test of strength for the Russians after the loss of official matches. So what do we know about the Iranian national team?

Photo source: AFLO


Among the Asian teams, the Iranian national team is highly cited. Suffice it to say that he participated in the 2022 World Cup, to which the Russians were not allowed. True, the very performance of the “Persian Leopards” turned out to be not very impressive, unless, of course, they were impressed by the 2:6 defeat of the British in the first match.

This was followed by a victory over Wales (2:0) and a close game against the Americans, in which the latter were very lucky to come away with a minimal victory. The result is not the best, but they do not expect anything else from Iran. For six world championships, he never left the group, but here he was at least close.

Photo source: AFLO

It is worth recognizing that there has been a stagnation in local football. Out of the last five world championships, the Iranians missed only one (2010), but not because of their achievements, but simply because the AFC started receiving more world championship tickets than before. At the same time, in the Asian Cup they rarely broke the quarterfinal barrier and took bronze only twice in the 21st century, while in the 1960s and 1970s they became three-time champions.

However, this is a respected team in Asia, so the next one for the Russians has not only symbolic, but also important sporting meaning: if our guys manage to impose a fight and at least not lose, it will be possible to say that in the Asian region may be competitive. After goalless draws with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, there are big doubts about that.


In terms of composition, the Iranians are noticeably inferior to the Russians. According to transfermarkt, the cost of 35 players for the Iranian national team is 63 million euros, of which more than half is taken by Porto striker Mehdi Taremi (20 million) and our old friend, former Zenit striker, and now from Bayer. Serdar Azmoun (12 million).

For comparison, 26 players from the Russian national team are estimated at 144 million, and three of them (Matvey Safonov, Arsen Zakharyan and Daler Kuzyaev) are worth more than ten million.

We add that Safonov and Azmun will not take part in this match. The goalkeeper of the Russian national team fell ill. There were even rumors that he was covid, but there was no official confirmation about it. And Serdar will not be able to play “for personal reasons,” according to ISNA. There were no explanations, but according to one version, the reason for this was his anti-government forward position, formed against the background of mass protests that swept the country in the fall due to the murder of the girl Mahsa Amini by vice police. for “misuse of the hijab”.

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Russian fans also know Reza Shekari and Said Ezatolahi. The first looked at Rubin (2017-2019) and the second at Rostov, Anji and Amkar (2015-2020).

Interestingly, the match against Russia will be the debut of the new head coach of the Iranian national team, Amir Galenoi. He replaced Carlos Queiroz, who worked with the team at the World Cup, but was appointed literally a week and a half before the game on March 13. He is a well-known 59-year-old local specialist. He already managed the national team in 2006-2008 and won five Iranian championships. However, the last time was in 2013. And five more times he was recognized in Iran as the coach of the year.


The Iranian national team will receive the Russian national team at the Azadi Stadium (translated as freedom). This is a rather old-fashioned bowl by modern concepts with running tracks around the field and unusually sloped bleachers. However, this is not surprising, because the arena was built specifically for the 1974 Asian Games, a kind of local Olympic Games. A sports complex and an Olympic village were built nearby.

The Iranian authorities had big plans for this stadium. So, they hoped to wear it at the 1984 Olympics, but due to the 1979 Islamic revolution, the country quickly became unable to host international competitions, especially at this level.

In the first 30 years of its existence, Azadi managed to host up to 100 thousand spectators, and until 1984 it was the official world leader in this indicator. Subsequent renovations in 2003, 2012, and 2016 made it more comfortable and modern, but also less spacious. At the moment it is ready to receive 78 thousand fans.

In addition to Iranian football teams of various ages and genders, local clubs play here: the most titled Persepolis (14 times champion of Iran) and the current champion Esteghlal (9 titles).


The Iran Championship is considered a second-tier tournament in Asia. In the AFC standings, it is fourth (77.8 points), but well behind the top three leaders: Saudi Arabia (100), South Korea (95.5) and Japan (93.4). This can be seen from the number of victories in the local Champions League – three. By comparison, Koreans have 12, Japanese seven, and Arabs six. Also, the last victory of the Persians dates back to 1993.

The cost of all the players in the Iranian league (which is almost five hundred players) is only 120 million, that is, less than 26 players from the Russian national team…

Photo source: Keystone Press Agency

The flagship of the local championship is the aforementioned Persepolis, which won five championships in a row from 2017 to 2021 (more than a third of all in the club’s history). Only last season did the club finish second, losing gold to hated neighbors Esteglal. The clubs represent Tehran and share a stadium, so it’s not hard to imagine the rubilovo playing out in the derby.

At the same time, this season, after 23 games, both favorites are breathing on the back of Sepahan, who is three or four points ahead of them. And it happened right in the final round for the moment, played on March 11. That day, the current leader beat Persepolis in Azadi (1:0).

And at the local championship, clubs with euphonious names for the Russian people “Tractor” and “Aluminum” perform. The first of them got into the Russian news due to the fact that until recently Kurban Berdyev worked there. True, not for long – from June 2022 to November.

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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