Published: Mon, June 18, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Last-minute own goal is first World Cup devastation

Last-minute own goal is first World Cup devastation

The boisterous atmosphere inside the stadium lasted long enough as Iranian players approached the stands where their fans were housed to celebrate the win over their rivals.

Siavash Rahmani, Team reporter for Iran said: "Iran made it". In the opener for both teams, the match looked destined for a draw in what was an entertaining and open game, but Aziz Bouhaddouz came on in the second half, tried to defend a late set piece and headed it into his own net.

"This was not a miracle".

"We concede they are favourites, but we don't tolerate anybody telling us we are not capable to win".

Nike's statement caused frustration in the Iranian Football Federation as the firm had previously supplied the Iranian team with boots despite the sanctions, like at the 2014 World Cup, reports Sputnik news agency.

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"Our strategy worked perfectly from the first minute to create a mental collapse in the Moroccan players".

The Portuguese added that starting on a winning note was what Iran's players needed to push their off-field woes firmly from their minds.

During the first half of the match, apparent Iran fans unfurled a banner protesting Iran's policies blocking women from attending soccer matches back home.

Female fans from Iran who have traveled to Russian Federation for the tournament have been shown in photos at the stadium supporting the team in its 1-0 opening-match win against Morocco, which was only the second victory ever in the World Cup by an Iranian side.

Football is particularly popular among Iranian women, in part because they are banned from attending "live" matches in the country, lending it an illicit air.

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Nonetheless, the Iran football team gave its fans a lot of joy on Friday as they piped Morocco 1-0 to top the Group B table.

All eyes were on the third fixture of the day, a blockbuster clash between Spain and Portugal but travelling fans from representing Iran and Morocco contributed to a festive atmosphere outside the Krestovsky Stadium, after hitting the St. Petersburg streets hours ahead of the match.

They hit Morocco on the counter-attack at certain points, but to score the crucial goal they had to wait until the final seconds of stoppage time.

"In a competition you have three matches to play and we still have two matches left".

Iran pip Morocco 1-0 in Group B match
Despite their 81 percent pass completion and 63 percent ball control in the first half, Morocco were unable to break the deadlock. Iran pulled off one of the first shocking victories of the World Cup on Friday thanks to a disastrous header in stoppage time.


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