Saturday, June 17, 2006

Kabob vs. Oranges


If you're confused by the title, Portugal is also the Persian word for oranges. Iran lost to Portugal today 2-0. The score was 0-0 at halftime, and once again the Iranians slacked off in the second half. There were two times the Iranians could have made a goal but fumbled (yes, I know that belongs to another kind of football): 1) An Iranian kicked the ball to make a goal but it hit the side of the net and didn't go in, and 2) An Iranian had a clean shot to kick a goal, but dribbled an extra couple of steps and kicked at a weird angle, missing it. What really got me was when this one Iranian stuck his foot in front of Figo in the penalty box, causing a penalty kick. Poor Mirzapour didn't have a chance against Ronaldo. The penalty kick is basically a free goal to the other team, esp. when Ronaldo faked right and kicked left, throwing off Mirzapour. But the greatest moment in the whole game was when Figo got kicked in the face by an Iranian player! It left the mark on the left. It was hilarious! The guy didn't even get a yellow card! So, Iran is eliminated from the World Cup, but still have one more game against Angola to give poor little Angola a chance for second. How sad!

Here are some quotes from today's game:

Ferydoon ZANDI (IRN) We weren't smart enough at the decisive moments. Some of our most important and influential players were never 100 per cent fit. And to be frank, the opening defeat put a damper on the dressing room, so there was no wave of euphoria for us to ride. (OK, I'm almost 90% certain the guy never said this sentence.) We weren't affected by the stories about the coach (Branko Ivankovic) over recent days, because that's what you get in Iran after every defeat. Obviously it's a matter of honour and pride for us now. We'll give it our best shot in our last game and bid the tournament a worthy farewell. We'd like to finish third in the group, but we're well aware Angola will provide tough opposition.

Mehdi MAHDAVIKIA (IRN) We're devastated at being knocked out, because we'd set our sights on making the last 16. We played well in the first half against Mexico, and we did the same again today. We have a good crop of youngsters and there's a very good team for the future coming together here.

Vahid HASHEMIAN (IRN) We looked very good indeed for the first ten minutes, but it was never going to be enough to win. Portugal were definitely the better team and they were physically strong too. It's over for us and we have to live with the defeat. We only matched them for 45 minutes. We kept it tight in the first half, but we looked very tired after half-time. Some of our best players are injured and couldn't make their normal contribution. Obviously we missed them. We have plenty of talented players in Iran, some of whom could play in Europe. Our coaches are always criticised at home when we lose.

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