Iran edged Morocco 1-0 in their Group B opener in Saint Petersburg stadium on Friday after Morocco forward Aziz Bouhaddouz headed in an own goal late into injury time. Bouhaddouz’s own goal was the second one conceded by Morocco at the World Cup finals. The first was scored by Youssef Chippo at France 1998.
It’s an historic day for Team Melli as they get their first win at the World Cup finals since 21 June 1998, when they beat USA 2-1 in France.
It’s Iran’s second win in World Cup history. Now they will be even more motivated, and much more eager for the next two matches to try and collect another point.
It was only Iran’s second win in 13 matches at the World Cup and the first win for an Asian team in the tournament since 2010.
With Spain and Portugal the other teams in Group B, Friday’s match was regarded as a must-win game in St. Petersburg for two of the tournament outsiders.
Morocco spurned a handful of great chances while Iran struggled to create clearcut opportunities and retain possession as both sides played to a goalless draw in thier FIFA World Cup Group B opener in Saint Petersburg stadium on Friday.
The First half was littered with chances, with Morocco on top, but no breakthrough came.
Morocco created lots of opportunities in the first period but they simply were not decisive in front of goal. They found joy down the left side. Herve Renard should probably have been thinking about bringing in Khalid Boutaib. The stiker not only has an eye for goal, he’s also very qiuick.
After 18 games unbeaten, Morocco score an own-goal that will cost them immensely. Morocco usually play with four in the back but today head coach Herve Renard opted to reinforce the midfield area, possibly due to the absence of Dirar.
Iran were under pressure right from kick off in that first period. Team Melli managed to make some opportunities on the counter-attacks later on and it almost brought them some success. Masoud Shojaei’s dribbling and Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s attacking prowess led to hopes from Iran fans that their team may get on the scoresheet in the second half.
Iran coach Carlos Queiroz oversaw his third opening match at a World Cup finals and each time he faced African opponents. On both occasions, the match finished goalless. At South Africa 2010, his Portugal side drew 0-0 with Côte d’Ivoire and at Brazil 2014 he led Iran to a goalless draw against Nigeria. The Portuguese tactician finally gets a win.
The video assistant referee system was available for the match though it wasn’t used.
Reigning European champion Portugal will take on Spain, the winner of the 2010 World Cup, in the second Group B match of the day in Sochi later on Friday.
Russia’s first-ever World Cup is being held at 12 arenas across 11 cities with the final set to be played at Luzhniki on July 15.