Published: Mon, June 18, 2018
Sports | By Angie Alvarado

Iran to wear white kit against Morocco

Iran to wear white kit against Morocco

Iranian activists used their national team's first match at the World Cup to protest Iran's ban on women attending soccer matches.

Morocco ran out of steam in the second half, with Iran holding onto the ball for longer, slowing the game down.

Iran pulled off one of the first shocking victories of the World Cup on Friday thanks to a disastrous header in stoppage time. They deserved a point and maybe more, but they were wasteful in front of goal and paid for it in the end.

"We really believed we could do something if we played as a team and that's what we did".

Iran were unbeaten in all 18 of their qualifying matches.

Their partnership with Azmoun could create problems for the Morocco defence.

The game's first clear-cut chance arrived just before the halftime break but Iran's Sardar Azmoun failed to beat Munir from close range.

Iran: Omid Ebrahimi did a crucial job as a marauding shield in the midfield, protecting what was already the strongest global defence in Asia. With the exception of the squad's most capped player Ehsan Hajsafi, the team that faces Morocco may be entirely different from the one that kicked off the last World Cup against Nigeria.

It was Iran's second win in 13 matches at the World Cup, and Asia's first since the 2010 tournament in South Africa.

Goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand produced a good low save to his right in the closing minutes to keep out Hakim Ziyech and, having earlier learned that he used to be a pizza delivery driver and was "getting his first slice of World Cup action" we were told he had been homeless and worked in a auto wash as well.

Morocco conceded zero goals during their entire qualifying campaign. Before the match, Iran's coach said his side had been "drawn in the hardest group in the World Cup".

Hervé Renard is in charge of his fourth African team but this will be his first experience of the World Cup.

It did not matter on Friday as a hard-working Iran side, helped by a combination of poor Moroccan finishing, desperate defending and solid work from Beiranvand, survived early pressure to keep the game goalless.

Medhi Benatia will be the key player who could be responsible for Morocco's outcome at the World Cup. With Spain and Portugal both in the group, a good result could be key for Carlos Queiroz's side.

Morocco will be hoping Nabil Dirar is passed fit.

Like this: