Iran goes down after a fight

Hours before the match fans from both sides began to fill the stadium. The Mexicans outnumbered the Iranians almost 8:2 drowning out any support the Iranians gave to their team. Outside the stadium several thousand Mexican fan’s hopes were dashed as they were unable to find any tickets.

At 5:15PM local time the Iranian team came out for their initial warm-ups and were then presented on the field at 5:53PM local time.

The Iranian side started strong and took control of the midfield moving the ball down the wings and up the middle of the pitch. Ali Karimi made a good run at seven minutes only to loose the ball outside the box. Iran had several more chances in the following minutes but failed to capitalize.

Vahid Hashemian was robbed of his first goal of the World Cup by Oswaldo Sanchez who made a diving save pushing the ball past the post with his fingerprints.

Unlike Iran, the Mexicans were able to convert on a free kick awarded to them by the match referee in the 28th minute. The free kick itself was questionable as the ball indirectly hit Karimi’s arm but Omar Bravo made sure to clean up the loose ball after the Iranians failed to clear it from the box putting Mexico ahead 1:0.

Within minutes the Iranians replied by way of veteran defender Yahya Golmohammadi who scored his first goal of the World Cup and Iran’s fourth in tournament history. For the corner Iran’s coach, Branko Ivankovic, motioned for all his players to move forward sending nine in the box with only one defender and the keeper staying back.

Several tactical changes were made at the half for Mexico as Luis Perez and Zinha came on for Pavel Pardo and Guillermo Franco. Until the 76th minute both sides played well but then the Iranian defense made multiple mistakes within minutes of each other to give Mexico the win. Iran failed to produce any pressure on Mexico’s defensive line and looked flat for much of the half.

Mexico’s star forward Jared Borgetti was forced to leave the pitch in the second half after sustaining an injury and was replaced by Jose Fonseca. Iran’s most capped player and captain, Ali Daei failed to make his presence known on the field. Multiple members of the foreign press asked the question of why Iran was playing with ten men pointing out the lack of his involvement in anything positive through out the match.

After the match both Mehdi Mahdavikia and Vahid Hashemian echoed what many were already saying. Mahdavikia said, “We played well in the first half but lost the match because of our mistakes.” When asked about the teams moral he said that, “It’s always hard to lose a match this way but the guys will recover and we will be ready for Portugal.”