Iran national football team

This article is about Iran's national men's team. For the women's team, see Iran women's national football team.
Nickname(s) Team Melli تیم ملی[1]
other nicknames
Association Football Federation of Iran (FFIRI)
Federāsione Futbālle Irān
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Sub-confederation CAFA (Central Asia)
Head coach Carlos Queiroz
Captain Andranik Teymourian
Most caps Javad Nekounam (151)
Top scorer Keyan Ghazi (109)
Home stadium Azadi Stadium (78,116)
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 30 Decrease 3 (24 November 2016)
Highest 15 (August 2005[2])
Lowest 122 (May 1996[3])
Elo ranking
Current 21 (12 October 2016)[4]
Highest 15 (May 2005)
Lowest 73 (January 1964)
First international
 Afghanistan 0–0 Iran 
(Kabul, Afghanistan; 25 August 1941)
Biggest win
Iran Iran 19–0 Guam 
(Tabriz, Iran; 24 November 2000[5])
Biggest defeat
 Turkey 6–1 Iran Iran
(Istanbul, Turkey; 28 May 1950[6])
 South Korea 5–0 Iran Iran
(Tokyo, Japan; 28 May 1958[7])
World Cup
Appearances 4 (first in 1978)
Best result Group stage, 1978, 1998, 2006, 2014
Asian Cup
Appearances 13 (first in 1968)
Best result Champions, 1968, 1972, 1976

Iran national football team (Persian: تیم ملی فوتبال ایران), also known as Team Melli (Persian: تیم ملی), represents Iran in international football competitions and is governed by the Iran Football Federation. The national football team of Iran, known as Team Melli,[8] ranks 1st in Asia and 27th in the world according to the FIFA World Rankings as of October 2016.[9]

Iran is one of the most successful national teams in Asia with three Asian Cup championships (1968, 1972, and 1976). Iran has qualified for the World Cup four times (1978, 1998, 2006, and 2014) but has never advanced past the group stage. Iran's only win in the World Cup has been a 2–1 victory against the United States in 1998.


Early years

The very first Iran selection football team that traveled to Baku in 1926.

The Iranian Football Federation was founded in 1920.[10] In 1926 Tehran XI (selected players from Tehran Club, Toofan F.C. and Armenian Sports Club) traveled across the border to Baku, USSR, this was the first away football match for an Iranian team. This Tehran Select team is the predecessor of Iran's national football team.

The first match that Team Melli played was on 23 August 1941, away at Kabul in a 1–0 win against British India, while Iran's first FIFA international match was on 25 August 1941, away at Afghanistan.[6] Iran won the Asian Cup three consecutive times (1968, 1972, 1976), to which the team has not been able to add since.

1978 FIFA World Cup in Argentina

Additional information: 1978 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC and OFC)
Additional information: 1978 FIFA World Cup – Group 4
Iran's squad playing in '78 World Cup match against Scotland in Cordoba, Estadio Cordoba, Argentina on Jun 7, 1978 (16:45)

In 1978, Iran made its first appearance in the World Cup after defeating Australia in Tehran. Iran lost two of three group stage matches against the Netherlands and Peru.[11] Team Melli managed to surprise the footballing community[12] by securing one point in its first ever World Cup appearance against Scotland which saw Iraj Danaeifard cancel out an own goal scored by Andranik Eskandarian for the 1–1 draw.[13]

After the Revolution

After the 1979 Revolution, football was somewhat neglected and cast aside. During the 1980s, the Iranian national team did not feature in World Cup competitions due to the Iran–Iraq War (1980–88) and domestic football suffered the inevitable effects of conflict. The national team withdrew from the Asian qualifiers for the 1982 World Cup, and refused to participate in the qualifiers for the 1986 World Cup because of having to play on neutral ground. The war and political upheavals left Iran without major club competitions until 1989 when the Qods League was established. A year later, the Qods League was renamed the Azadegan League. Despite failing to qualify for either the 1990 or the 1994 World Cups, it was during this period that a number of quality players burst onto the Iranian football scene, laying the foundation for third place in the 1996 AFC Asian Cup (memorable victories in that tournament included a 3–0 victory against Saudi Arabia and an impressive 6–2 victory against South Korea) and their second stab at World Cup glory in 1998.[14]

1998 FIFA World Cup in France

Iran's starting line-up against United States, World Cup 1998
Additional information: 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC–OFC play-off)
Additional information: 1998 FIFA World Cup – Group F

In November 1997, Iran qualified for the 1998 World Cup after eliminating Australia in a close playoff series. Both games finished undecided, but Iran managed to qualify due to the away goals rule. Iran held Australia to a 1–1 draw at home, and a 2–2 draw in Melbourne; however, since Iran had scored more away goals, they were able to qualify for the Cup.[15]

At their first game of the Group F at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, Iran played well against Yugoslavia, losing narrowly 1–0, only to a free kick goal by Siniša Mihajlović.[14] Iran recorded their first World Cup victory in the second game,[13] beating the United States 2–1, with Hamid Estili and Mehdi Mahdavikia scoring goals for Iran. The Iran vs USA World Cup match was preheated with much excitement because of each country's political stance after the Iranian revolution and the Iran hostage crisis. However, in an act of defiance against all forms of hatred or politics in sports, both sides presented one another with gifts and flowers and took ceremonial pictures before the match kickoff.[16] Following defeat against Iran, the United States was eliminated from the World Cup.[17]

Iran played against Germany in the third game. The game was lost 2–0. The goals were scored by Oliver Bierhoff and Jürgen Klinsmann.[18] The one win and two losses meant Iran came third in the final group standing and failed to make it to the next round.[19] (Farhad Majidi and Mehdi Fonounizadeh were important absents in the tournament.)

2000 AFC Asian Cup

Main article: 2000 AFC Asian Cup

Iran finished first in the group stage of the tournament, but lost to South Korea in the quarter-finals.

2002 FIFA World Cup qualification

Additional information: 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC)
Additional information: 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA–AFC play-off)

Iran failed to qualify for World Cup 2002 after an aggregate defeat to the Republic of Ireland, losing 2–0 in Dublin and winning 1–0 in Tehran. The elimination saw manager Miroslav Blažević step down from the top spot to be replaced by his assistant Branko Ivanković, who stepped up from assistant coach.

2004 AFC Asian Cup

Main article: 2004 AFC Asian Cup

After qualifying to the Asian Cup 2004, Iran was drawn with Thailand, Oman, and Japan in the tournament. Iran finished second in this group. In quarter-final clash against South Korea, Iran won 4–3 in normal time. In the semi-final, Iran lost to the host, China on penalty kicks. Iran won against Bahrain 4–2 to finish third place in the tournament.

2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany

Additional information: 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC)
Additional information: 2006 FIFA World Cup Group D
Iran score against Angola during a 2006 FIFA World Cup match.

On 8 June 2005, Iran together with Japan became the first country to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, making it Iran's 3rd appearance on the world stage of football. The qualification round both in 2001 and 2004–05 resulted in mass celebrations, hysteria and rioting, causing internal chaos and unrest between youth and government officials. The Iran versus Japan leg of the 2006 World Cup qualifiers in Tehran, played on 24 March 2005, was the highest attended qualifying match among all confederations. The match ended in tragedy with 5 fans killed and several others injured as they left the Azadi Stadium at the end of the match.[20]

Iran started their 2006 FIFA World Cup appearance with high expectations from fans and media. Their first match was against Mexico in Group D. The game was level 1–1 at the half-time, but Iran lost at the end because of a defensive mistake. The final score, 3–1, was brought about by goals from Omar Bravo and Zinha for Mexico, with Yahya Golmohammadi scoring the only Iran goal.

Iran played against Portugal in the second game. The game was lost 2–0. The goals were scored by Deco and Cristiano Ronaldo (penalty). The two losses meant Iran was eliminated from the competition, before their third and final game against Angola. Iran drew 1–1 with Angola on the 21 June 2006, Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh scoring the Iran goal.

Temporary suspension

Iran's squad in August 2006 against Syria, Manager: Amir Ghalenoei
Standing left to right: Nekounam, Enayati, Nikbakht, Shakouri, Fekri, Sadeghi
Sitting left to right: Taleblou, Madanchi, Khatibi, Teymourian, Mahdavikia

In November 2006, Iran was suspended by FIFA from all participation in international football, on the grounds of governmental interference in the national football association.[21] The ban lasted less than a month,[22] and as a dispensation was given to allow the Iran under-23 team to participate in the football competition of the 2006 Asian Games,[23] fixtures were unaffected.

2007 AFC Asian Cup

Main article: 2007 AFC Asian Cup
Additional information: 2007 AFC Asian Cup Group C

IRIFF appointed Amir Ghalenoei as head coach of the Iran national football team on 17 July 2006 to succeed Branko Ivanković. After finishing first in the qualifying round 2 points ahead of South Korea and then finishing first in the group stage of the final tournament in Malaysia, Iran lost to South Korea in a penalty shoot-out of the quarterfinal match and was eliminated from the 2007 Asian Cup. Ghalenoei was heavily criticized by the press. After a period of discussion in the Iranian football federation, his contract was not renewed and Team Melli was left with a caretaker manager for several months.

2010 FIFA World Cup qualification

Additional information: 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC)

Ali Daei was chosen to become the new coach after Spanish coach Javier Clemente had been close to signing on as Iran's national team manager but talks collapsed when he refused to live full-time in the country.[24] Iran was in the same FIFA World Cup qualifying group as Kuwait, Syria and United Arab Emirates in the third round. They played home and away against each of the other three teams in group 5. In the middle of the fourth round, Ali Daei was let go from his position as the Iranian national coach on 29 March 2009.[25] He was replaced by Afshin Ghotbi. Iran failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup after ranking 4th overall in its group.[26]

2011 AFC Asian Cup

Main article: 2011 AFC Asian Cup
Additional information: 2011 AFC Asian Cup Group D
Iran's squad in July 2011 against Maldives, Manager: Carlos Queiroz
Standing left to right: Aghili, Hosseini, Haddadifar, Ansarifard, Zare, Pooladi
Sitting left to right: Heydari, Norouzi, Rahmati, Khalatbari, Karimi

Iran renewed the contract with Afshin Ghotbi until the end of 2011 AFC Asian Cup and the team qualified to the tournament with 13 points as the group winners.

During the final qualification match against South Korea, several Iranian players started the match wearing green armbands or wristbands, a symbol of protest at the outcome of the Iranian presidential election.[27] Most removed them at half-time. The newspaper Iran reported that Ali Karimi, Mehdi Mahdavikia, Hosein Kaebi, and Vahid Hashemian had received life bans from the Iranian FA for the gesture.[28] However, the Iranian FA denied this claim in a response to FIFA's inquiry saying that "the comments in foreign media are nothing but lies and a mischievous act."[29] Head coach Afshin Ghotbi also confirmed that it was a rumour and Iranian FA "has not taken any official stand on this issue."[30]

Afshin Ghotbi was able to qualify for 2011 Asian Cup and finished second in West Asian Football Federation Championship 2010 just a few months before the 2011 Asian Cup. Iran was able to gain all nine points in the group stage of the 2011 Asian Cup but after an extra time goal from South Korea, Iran was yet again unable to get to the semifinals of the competition.

2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil

Iran national football team – October 2012


On 4 April 2011, former Real Madrid manager Carlos Queiroz agreed to a two-and-a-half-year deal to coach the Iranian national team until the end of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.[31] Under Queiroz, Iran began their World Cup qualification campaign successfully, defeating the Maldives 4–0 in the first leg of their second round of qualifiers. After winning 5–0 on aggregate, Iran advanced to the third round of qualifiers, where they were drawn with Indonesia, Qatar and Bahrain. Iran highlighted their position at the top of their group by defeating Bahrain 6–0 at home in the Azadi Stadium, as well as inviting former German youth international, Ashkan Dejagah, who scored twice on his debut against Qatar. After a 4–1 win at Indonesia, Iran qualified for the final round of direct qualifiers, the fourth round. In the fourth round, Iran was drawn with South Korea, Qatar, Uzbekistan, and Lebanon in their group. Queiroz made new foreign-based additions to his squad, adding players such as Reza Ghoochannejhad to his team. Iran started their fourth round of Asian qualifiers with a 1–0 win in Uzbekistan. Team Melli then drew Qatar and lost in Lebanon before defeating South Korea at the Azadi on 16 October with a goal from captain Javad Nekounam. After a 1–0 loss in Tehran against Uzbekistan, Iran defeated Qatar 1–0 in Doha and Lebanon 4–0 at home. In their last qualification match, Iran defeated South Korea 1–0 in Ulsan Munsu with a goal from Ghoochannejhad, resulting in their qualification to the 2014 FIFA World Cup as group winners with 16 points. Thus, Iran became the third team that Queiroz has managed to qualify for the World Cup, having reached the 2002 edition with South Africa and the 2010 edition with Portugal, leading the latter to a knockout stage finish. Iran continued their winning streak, securing qualification to the 2015 Asian Cup months later as well.[32]

Foreign-based call-ups

Since Queiroz's role as manager of the Iranian national team, he has been renowned for introducing players from the Iranian diaspora to the national squad. These players include German-Iranians Daniel Davari and Ashkan Dejagah, Dutch-Iranian Reza Ghoochannejhad, Swedish-Iranian Omid Nazari, and Iranian-American Steven Beitashour among others.[33][34]


Main article: 2014 FIFA World Cup
Additional information: 2014 FIFA World Cup – Group F

Iran qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup as group winners and competed in Group F alongside Argentina, Nigeria, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The sold out Argentina match tickets were among the eight most purchased for this edition of the tournament.[35] On 1 June 2014, Queiroz announced his 23-man squad.[36] Prior to the tournament, they founded the Central Asian Football Association.[37]

In the opening match of the tournament on June 16, Iran drew Nigeria 0–0, making it their first clean sheet of the FIFA World Cup.[38] In their next match, Iran was defeated by Argentina 1–0 with a late goal from Lionel Messi, and received praise after holding Argentina for 90 minutes while creating some attacking opportunities of their own.[39] Iran was eliminated from the tournament in their next game, a 3–1 defeat to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Iran's lone goal was scored by Reza Ghoochannejhad.[40] After the tournament, Queiroz declared he would resign as manager of Iran, but later switched and extended his contract until the 2018 FIFA World Cup.[41]

2015 AFC Asian Cup

Main article: 2015 AFC Asian Cup
Additional information: 2015 AFC Asian Cup Group C

Iran qualified for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup as group winners, where Team Melli were the highest ranked seed.[42] Iran faced Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE in Group C. Queiroz announced his squad on 30 December 2014.[43]

With the second highest number of fans in the tournament after hosts Australia, the Iranians defeated Bahrain 2–0 with limited preparations.[44][45] A defensive minded Iran then defeated Persian Gulf Cup champions Qatar 1–0 thanks to a Sardar Azmoun goal before defeating the UAE by the same scoreline to reach the top of their group.[46][47]

In the quarter-finals Iran faced Iraq, who they had beaten weeks prior in a friendly match. Having received a controversial red card in the first half, Iran competed with ten men, managing to score goals late in extra time to draw the match 3–3. In the ensuing penalty shootout, Iran lost 7–6 in sudden death.[48][49]

2018 FIFA World Cup qualification

Iran's squad in October 2016 against South Korea

Iran began their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign with friendly matches against Chile and Sweden in March 2015.[50][51][52] Queiroz resigned from his managerial post thereafter due to disagreements with the Iranian Football Federation.[53] On 14 April 2015, Iran were drawn with Oman, India, Turkmenistan, and Guam in the second round of qualifiers.[54] On 26 April, Queiroz announced that he will continue as the manager of Iran for their 2018 World Cup campaign.

Political protests

Australia-Iran, 29 November 1997

After qualifying for the 1998 FIFA World Cup by defeating Australia on aggregate, Iranian fans celebrating in the streets quickly turned them into protests against the Revolutionary Guards.[55]

Bahrain-Iran, 21 October 2001

The 3–1 defeat to Bahrain came as a surprise. This in turn brought upon Iran's failure to qualify for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. There were allegations that the authorities pressured the players to lose. It was later denied by Mohsen Safaei Farahani, then president of the IFF.[56] Nevertheless, to this day, many fans of 'Team Melli' continue to speculate whether the defeat was of legitimate causes or whether some authorities behind the scenes had brought about the defeat on purpose in order to prevent celebrations in the streets.

Presidential election protests, 2009

During the final game of the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against South Korea in Seoul on 17 June 2009, seven members of the team, Javad Nekounam, Ali Karimi, Hossein Kaebi, Masoud Shojaei, Mohammad Nosrati, Vahid Hashemian, and captain Mehdi Mahdavikia wore green wristbands in support of the Iranian Green Movement during the 2009 Iranian election protests. Initial reports were that all seven players were banned for life by the Iranian Football Federation, however, state-run media claimed that all seven had "retired".[57] On 24 June 2009, FIFA wrote to Iran's Football Federation asking for clarification on the situation. The Iranian Football Federation replied that no disciplinary action has been taken against any player.[58] As of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification, several of the above players have played again for the national team, notably Javad Nekounam, Masoud Shojaei, Mehdi Mahdavikia, and Ali Karimi.

Fans during the 2014 World Cup

Supporters of Iran national team in Curitiba before Nigeria match

During the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Iranian fans bridged gaps with American and Israeli fans.[59][60] Many of them waved pre-revolutionary Lion and Sun flags.[55][61][62][63][64] Iranian women also held one of the highest percentages for social media posts.[65][66][67]


The Iranian national team has received several nicknames by supporters and media. The most common one used is "Team Melli", which literally means "The National Team". Iranians call any national team from any country or sport a "Team Melli" and because of this it has become common for the national team to be referred to as the "Team Melli Iran" or, more specifically in the case of the national football team, the "Team Melli e Football e Iran". Although the Iranian supporters have popularized "Team Melli", other nicknames for the team include "Persian Stars"[68][69][70] (entitled since the World Cup 2006) "Shiran e Iran",[71][72] meaning "The Iranian Lions" or "The Lions of Persia",[73] "Shirdelan", "Lion Hearts" and "Princes of Persia"[74][75] (used since AFC Asian Cup 2011)[76][77] have been used in media as well. Iran's slogan for the 2014 FIFA World Cup was Honour of Persia, selected in an internet poll held by FIFA.[78][79] A recently used nickname, due to the presence of the Asiatic cheetah on the 2014 World Cup jersey, is 'The Cheetahs'from 2014 in iran called yoozpalangan.[80]


Iran and South Korea are sporting rivals[81][82] and have played against each other officially since 1958, totally 29 matches as of October 2016, including eight World Cup qualifiers. These two teams were among the strongest Asian national football teams during the 1960s and 1970s. Since then, the teams have developed one of Asia's greatest rivalries.[83] Although the teams only had one chance to play against each other in the final match of the AFC Asian Cup, in 1972, they faced each other five consecutive times at the quarterfinals stage from 1996–2011.[84][85] Iran leads the series with 13 wins, 7 draws and 9 losses.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are rivals.[86] The game has been ranked 9th in Bleacher Report's "International Football's 10 Most Politically-Charged Football Rivalries"[87] and 8th in's "Football's 10 Greatest International Rivalries".[88]

Iran and Saudi Arabia have had 15 matches so far. All of their matches have been competitive and they have never played a friendly match. The first match was played on 24 August 1975, with Iran defeating Saudi Arabia 3–0. Iran leads the series with 5 wins, 6 draws and 4 losses.

According to the Malay Mail, "Emotions are always high when Iran and Iraq meet on the football pitch". The rivalry is not such a football-inspired ill-feeling between the two, but more of geography, religion and history. Iran and Iraq are neighboring countries, sharing a long history. In the contemporary era, especially during the reign of Saddam Hussein, the two countries had bad relations and fought the Iran–Iraq War for 8 years. In 2001, for the first time in decades, an Iran-Iraq match was not held at a neutral venue. Iran leads the series with 14 wins, 7 draws and 4 losses.


Since 1972, Iran's national stadium is Tehran's Azadi Stadium with a nominal capacity of 78,116 spectators.[89] Azadi Stadium is the 23rd largest association football stadium in the world, 7th in Asia and 1st in West Asia. A record was set in Azadi for the 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Australia with over 128,000 in attendance.[90] The government restricts Iranian women from entering the stadiums.[91]

From 1942 to 1972, Amjadieh Stadium was Iran's national stadium. The other stadiums that Iran has been played international games are Yadegar Emam Stadium (Tabriz), Takhti Stadium (Tehran) and Enghelab Stadium (Karaj).

The Iran National Football Camp is home to Iran's trainings.

Kit providers

The table below shows the history of kit providers for the Iranian national football team.

Period Kit provider
1978 Adidas
1978–1993 Amini[92]
1993–1998 Shekari
1998–2000 Puma
2000–2003 Shekari
2003–2006 Daei Sport
2006–2007 Puma
2007–2008 Merooj
2008–2009 Daei Sport
2009–2012 Legea
2012–2016 Uhlsport
2016 Givova [93]
2016– Adidas [94]

Kit history



Football kit
1978 World Cup [100]

1996 Asian Cup[105]

1998 World Cup [101]
2000 Asian Cup

Football kit
2004 Asian Cup

Football kit
2006 World Cup
2007 Asian Cup [102]

Football kit

Football kit
2011 Asian Cup

Football kit
2014 World Cup

Football kit
2015 Asian Cup

Asiatic cheetah

On 1 February 2014, Iran announced the addition of the endangered Asiatic cheetah on their 2014 FIFA World Cup kits in order to bring attention to its conservation efforts.[80]

Tournament Records

Further information: Iran B national football team

World Cup

World Cup finals World Cup qualifications
Hosts/Year Result Position GP W D* L GS GA Squad GP W D* L GS GA
1930 to 1970Did not enter------- -------
West Germany 1974Did not qualify--------8 51296
Argentina 1978Round 114th301228Squad121020203
Spain 1982Withdrew------- -------
Mexico 1986Disqualified------- -------
Italy 1990Did not qualify-------- 6501125
United States 1994Did not qualify-------- 115332313
France 1998Round 120th310224Squad178635717
South KoreaJapan 2002Did not qualify--------14932369
Germany 2006Round 125th301226Squad12912297
South Africa 2010Did not qualify--------14581159
Brazil 2014 Round 128th301214Squad16 10 4 2 30 7
Russia 2018 To be determined 13940303
Qatar 2022 To be determined ------
TotalRound 14/2012138722-12275311626179

Asian Cup

AFC Asian Cup finals Asian Cup qualifications
Hosts/Year Result Position GP W D* L GS GA GP W D* L GS GA
Hong Kong 1956Withdrew------- ------
South Korea 1960Did not qualify-------63121210
Israel 1964Withdrew-------------
Iran 1968Champions1st4400112Automatic qualification as hosts
Thailand 1972Champions1st5500124Automatic qualification as champions
Iran 1976Champions1st4400130Automatic qualification as hosts and as champions
Kuwait 1980Third place3rd6321166Automatic qualification as champions
Singapore 1984Fourth place4th6240835500212
Qatar 1988Third place3rd622234422061
Japan 1992Round 15th3111212200100
United Arab Emirates 1996Third place3rd63211466600271
Lebanon 2000Quarterfinals5th4211736411162
China 2004Third place3rd63301486501165
IndonesiaMalaysiaThailandVietnam 2007Quarterfinals5th422063 6420122
Qatar 2011Quarterfinals5th4301626411112
Australia 2015Quarterfinals6th4310736510185
United Arab Emirates 2019Qualified 8620263
Total3 titles13/16623718711945614610517533
*Denotes draws which include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.
**Red border color indicates tournament was held on home soil.

Olympic Games

Olympic Games finals Olympic Games qualifications
Hosts/Year Result GP W D* L GS GA Squad GP W D* L GS GA
1900 to 1960Did not enter------ -------
Japan 1964Round 1301216 Squad6411143
Mexico 1968Did not enter------ -------
West Germany 1972Round 1 310219 Squad532060
Canada 1976Quarter-finals 310245 Squad431081
Soviet Union 1980Qualified but boycotted the event------- 5320182
United States 1984Did not enter due to boycott------ -------
South Korea 1988Did not qualify------- 210122
TotalQuarter-finals9216620 -221462488

Asian Games

Host nation(s) / year Round Pld W D* L GS GA Dif Pts
India New Delhi 1951Runners-up320121+16
Philippines Manila 1954Did not enter--------
Japan Tokyo 1958Round 1200209-90
Indonesia Jakarta 1962Did not enter--------
Thailand Bangkok 1966Runners-up740396+312
Thailand Bangkok 1970Round 1201123-11
Iran Tehran 1974Champions 7700201+1921
Thailand Bangkok 1978Withdrew--------
India New Delhi 1982Quarterfinals420232+16
South Korea Seoul 1986Quarterfinals5311132+1110
China Beijing 1990Champions541071+613
Japan Hirosima 1994Round 1412152+35
Thailand Bangkok 1998Champions8701257+1821

West Asian Games

Host nation(s) / year Round Pld W D* L GS GA Dif Pts
Iran 1997Champions ????????
Kuwait 2002Runners-up413054+16
Qatar 2005Third place4310102+810

West Asian Championship

Host nation(s) / year Round Pld W D* L GS GA Dif Pts
Jordan 2000Champions 541071+613
Syria 2002Third place412143+15
Iran 2004Champions 4400173+1412
Jordan 2007Champions 431051+410
Iran 2008Champions4400132+1112
Jordan 2010Runners-up421185+37
Kuwait 2012Group Stage 312021+15
Qatar 2014Did not enter--------

Central Asian Championship

Host nation(s) / year Round Pld W D* L GS GA Dif Pts
Uzbekistan 2017---------

RCD Cup / ECO Cup

Host nation(s) / year Round Pld W D* L GS GA Dif Pts
Iran 1965Champions 211041+34
Pakistan 1967Runners-up210121+13
Turkey 1969Runners-up210146-23
Iran 1970Champions 211081+74
Pakistan 1974Runners-up21012203
Iran 1993Champions 4400101+912

Results and Fixtures

Previous matches

  Win   Draw   Loss

Date Venue Opponent Competition Result Iranian scorers Captain
24 March 2016 Iran Azadi Stadium, Tehran  India 2018 FIFA World Cup (AFC) and 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification 4–0 W 33', 66' Hajsafi, 61' Azmoun, 78' Jahanbakhsh Hajsafi
29 March 2016 Iran Azadi Stadium, Tehran  Oman 2018 FIFA World Cup (AFC) and 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification 2–0 W 16', 23' Azmoun Dejagah
2 June 2016 Republic of Macedonia Philip II Arena, Skopje  Macedonia Friendly 3–1 W 8', 21', 60' Azmoun Dejagah
7 June 2016 Iran Azadi Stadium, Tehran  Kyrgyzstan Friendly 6–0 W 6' Shojaei, 25' Taremi, 29' Torabi, 68', 90+1' Ansarifard, 87' Azmoun Hosseini
1 September 2016 Iran Azadi Stadium, Tehran  Qatar 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC) 2–0 W 90+4' Ghoochannejhad, 90+11' Jahanbakhsh Teymourian
6 September 2016 China Shenyang Olympic Sports Center Stadium, Shenyang  China PR 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC) 0–0 D Teymourian
6 October 2016 Uzbekistan Bunyodkor Stadium, Tashkent  Uzbekistan 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC) 1–0 W 27' Hosseini Shojaei
11 October 2016 Iran Azadi Stadium, Tehran  South Korea 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC) 1–0 W 25' Azmoun Dejagah
10 November 2016 Malaysia Shah Alam Stadium, Shah Alam  Papua New Guinea Friendly 8–1 W 14' Dejagah, 38' Taremi, 47', 58', 71' Ghoochannejhad, 54', 59' Ansarifard, 85' Rezaeian Dejagah
15 November 2016 Malaysia Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium, Seremban  Syria 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC) 0–0 D Dejagah

Forthcoming matches

Date Competition Location Opponent
6 January 2017 Friendly United Arab Emirates TBD, Dubai  Morocco[106]
8 January 2017 Friendly United Arab Emirates TBD, Dubai  Ivory Coast[107]
23 March 2017 Russia 2018 WCQ Qatar Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha  Qatar
28 March 2017 Russia 2018 WCQ Iran Azadi Stadium, Tehran  China PR
5 June 2017 Friendly TBD, TBD TBD
13 June 2017 Russia 2018 WCQ Iran Azadi Stadium, Tehran  Uzbekistan
31 August 2017 Russia 2018 WCQ South Korea Seoul World Cup Stadium, Seoul  South Korea
5 September 2017 Russia 2018 WCQ Iran Azadi Stadium, Tehran  Syria
2 October 2017 Friendly TBD, TBD TBD
10 October 2017 Friendly TBD, TBD TBD
6 November 2017 Friendly TBD, TBD TBD
14 November 2017 Friendly TBD, TBD TBD
*FIFA International match days 2014–2018[108]
§AFC Calendar of Competitions 2016–2018[109]

Records versus other nations

Coaching staff

Carlos Queiroz, the current manager of Iran
Manager Portugal Carlos Queiroz
Assistant coaches Portugal Oceano da Cruz
Iran Markar Aghajanian
Iran Javad Nekounam
Goalkeeping coach United States Dan Gaspar
Fitness coaches Argentina Diego Giacchino [110]
Analyzer Iran Mehrdad Khanban
Physiotherapist Iran Alireza Shahab
Team doctor Iran Parham Khanlari
Masseuse Iran Mohammad Saber
Iran Ehsan Sadathosseini
Media officer Iran Mohsen Motamedkia
Executive director Iran Afshin Peyrovani [111]


Current squad

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Sosha Makani (1986-11-18) 18 November 1986 5 0 Norway Mjøndalen
12 1GK Mohammad Rashid Mazaheri (1989-05-18) 18 May 1989 2 0 Iran Zob Ahan
22 1GK Mohammadreza Akhbari (1993-02-15) 15 February 1993 1 0 Iran Tractor Sazi

4 2DF Jalal Hosseini (1982-02-03) 3 February 1982 108 8 Iran Persepolis
15 2DF Pejman Montazeri (1983-09-06) 6 September 1983 40 1 Qatar Al-Ahli
13 2DF Hossein Mahini (1986-09-16) 16 September 1986 23 0 Iran Persepolis
8 2DF Morteza Pouraliganji (1992-04-19) 19 April 1992 16 2 Qatar Al-Sadd
23 2DF Ramin Rezaeian (1990-03-21) 21 March 1990 16 2 Iran Persepolis
2 2DF Milad Mohammadi (1993-09-29) 29 September 1993 8 0 Russia Terek Grozny
5 2DF Ezzatollah Pourghaz (1987-03-21) 21 March 1987 6 0 Iran Esteghlal Khuzestan
3 2DF Mohammad Ansari (1991-09-23) 23 September 1991 1 0 Iran Persepolis

7 3MF Masoud Shojaei (1984-06-09) 9 June 1984 68 8 Greece Panionios
21 3MF Ashkan Dejagah (1986-06-05) 5 June 1986 38 7 Unattached
18 3MF Alireza Jahanbakhsh (1993-08-11) 11 August 1993 26 3 Netherlands AZ
11 3MF Vahid Amiri (1988-04-02) 2 April 1988 21 1 Iran Persepolis
9 3MF Omid Ebrahimi (1987-09-16) 16 September 1987 20 0 Iran Esteghlal
6 3MF Saeid Ezatolahi (1996-10-01) 1 October 1996 14 1 Russia Rostov
19 3MF Mehdi Torabi (1994-09-10) 10 September 1994 11 4 Iran Saipa
20 3MF Kamal Kamyabinia (1989-01-18) 18 January 1989 4 1 Iran Persepolis
14 3MF Ali Karimi (1994-02-11) 11 February 1994 1 0 Croatia Dinamo Zagreb

10 4FW Karim Ansarifard (1990-04-03) 3 April 1990 54 14 Greece Panionios[112]
16 4FW Reza Ghoochannejhad (1987-09-20) 20 September 1987 33 17 Netherlands SC Heerenveen
17 4FW Mehdi Taremi (1992-07-18) 18 July 1992 16 7 Iran Persepolis

Recent call-ups

The following players have been called up for the team in the last 12 months.

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
GK Alireza Haghighi (1988-05-02) 2 May 1988 23 0 Unattached Tehran training camp, November 2016
GK Alireza Beiranvand Inj (1992-09-21) 21 September 1992 9 0 Iran Persepolis Tehran training camp, November 2016

DF Vouria Ghafouri Inj (1987-09-20) 20 September 1987 13 0 Iran Esteghlal Tehran training camp, November 2016
DF Saeid Aghaei (1995-02-09) 9 February 1995 0 0 Iran Tractor Sazi Tehran training camp, November 2016
DF Mohammad Tayyebi (1986-09-11) 11 September 1986 1 0 Iran Esteghlal Khuzestan Italy training camp, August 2016
DF Khosro Heydari (1983-09-14) 14 September 1983 59 0 Iran Esteghlal Armenia training camp, June 2016
DF Hashem Beikzadeh (1984-01-22) 22 January 1984 20 1 Iran Saba Qom Armenia training camp, June 2016
DF Hossein Kanaanizadegan (1994-03-23) 23 March 1994 2 0 Iran Esteghlal Armenia training camp, June 2016
DF Danial Mahini (1993-09-25) 25 September 1993 1 0 Iran Esteghlal Khuzestan Armenia training camp, June 2016
DF Siamak Kouroshi (1989-12-27) 27 December 1989 1 0 Iran Saipa v.  Macedonia, 2 June 2016 Pre

MF Andranik Teymourian (1983-03-06) 6 March 1983 101 9 Iran Machine Sazi Tehran training camp, November 2016
MF Ehsan HajsafiSus (1990-02-25) 25 February 1990 82 6 Iran Sepahan Tehran training camp, November 2016
MF Soroush Rafiei (1990-03-24) 24 March 1990 4 0 Iran Tractor Sazi Tehran training camp, November 2016
MF Dariush Shojaeian (1992-04-07) 7 April 1992 3 0 Iran Gostaresh Foulad Tehran training camp, November 2016
MF Ehsan Pahlavan (1993-07-25) 25 July 1993 0 0 Iran Zob Ahan Italy training camp, August 2016
MF Morteza Tabrizi (1991-01-06) 6 January 1991 0 0 Iran Zob Ahan Italy training camp, August 2016
MF Bakhtiar Rahmani (1989-09-23) 23 September 1989 4 0 Iran Esteghlal Armenia training camp, June 2016
MF Farshad Ahmadzadeh (1992-09-23) 23 September 1992 0 0 Iran Persepolis v.  India, 24 March 2016 Pre
MF Ali Asghar Ashouri (1988-10-09) 9 October 1988 0 0 Iran Esteghlal Khuzestan v.  India, 24 March 2016 Pre
MF Mohsen Karimi (1994-09-20) 20 September 1994 0 0 Iran Esteghlal v.  India, 24 March 2016 Pre
MF Mehrdad Mohammadi (1993-09-29) 29 September 1993 0 0 Iran Sepahan v.  India, 24 March 2016 Pre
MF Ahmad Nourollahi (1993-02-01) 1 February 1993 0 0 Iran Persepolis v.  India, 24 March 2016 Pre

FW Sardar AzmounSus (1995-01-01) 1 January 1995 22 16 Russia Rostov v.  South Korea, 11 October 2016
FW Rahim Mehdi Zohaivi (1987-08-19) 19 August 1987 0 0 Iran Esteghlal Khuzestan Italy training camp, August 2016
FW Sajjad Shahbazzadeh (1990-01-23) 23 January 1990 0 0 Turkey Alanyaspor v.  India, 24 March 2016 Pre
Iran national team group picture on 30 May 2014 in a friendly match against Angola in Hartberg, Austria. Manager: Carlos Queiroz
Standing left to right: Mahini, Davari, Ansarifard, Alenemeh, Khanzadeh, Nekounam
Sitting left to right: Hajsafi, Beitashour, Haddadifar, Azmoun, Dejagah

Previous squads

World Cups

Olympic Games

Asian Cups

See also Category:Iran international footballers


Most capped players

Javad Nekounam is the most capped player in the history of Iran with 151 caps.

As of 11 October 2016, the 10 players with the most caps:

# Name Career Caps Goals
1 Javad Nekounam 2000–2015 151 39
2 Ali Daei 1993–2006 149 109
3 Ali Karimi 1998–2012 127 38
4 Mehdi Mahdavikia 1996–2009 110 13
5 Jalal Hosseini 2007– 107 8
6 Andranik Teymourian 2005– 101 9
7 Karim Bagheri 1993–2010 87 50
8 Hossein Kaebi 2002–2010 84 1
9 Hamid Reza Estili 1990–2000 82 12
Ehsan Hajsafi 2008- 82 6

Most capped goalkeepers

Iranian iconic goalkeeper, Ahmadreza Abedzadeh is the most capped goalkeeper in the history of Iran with 79 caps.

As of 7 June 2016, the 5 goalkeepers with the most caps:

# Name Career Caps
1 Ahmad Reza Abedzadeh 1987–1998 79
2 Mehdi Rahmati 2004–2012 76
3 Ebrahim Mirzapour 2001–2011 71
4 Nasser Hejazi [113] 1968–1980 62
5 Behzad Gholampour 1990–1999 28

The records are collected based on data from FIFA and RSSSF.
Bold names denote a player still playing or available for selection.

Top goalscorers

Ali Daei is the world's all-time leading goalscorer in international matches, having scored 109 goals in 149 matches

As of 10 November 2016, the 10 players with the most goals:

# Name Career Goals Caps Avg/game
1 Ali Daei (list) 1993–2006 109 149 0.73
2 Karim Bagheri 1993–2010 50 87 0.57
3 Javad Nekounam 2000–2015 39 151 0.26
4 Ali Karimi 1998–2012 38 127 0.30
5 Gholam Hossein Mazloumi 1969–1977 19 40 0.48
6 Farshad Pious [114] 1984–1994 18 34 0.53
7 Reza Ghoochannejhad 2012– 17 33 0.53
8 Sardar Azmoun 2014– 16 22 0.73
9 Hamid Alidoosti [115] 1977–1986 15 27 0.56
Vahid Hashemian [116] 1998–2009 15 50 0.30
11 Nasser Mohammadkhani [117] 1982–1990 14 27 0.52
Parviz Ghelichkhani [118] 1964–1977 14 66 0.21
Alireza Vahedi Nikbakht [119] 2000–2008 14 73 0.19
Karim Ansarifard 2009– 14 54 0.26

The records are collected based on data from FIFA, RSSSF & Varzesh3.
Bold names denote a player still playing or available for selection.

Iran captains

Andranik Teymourian is the current captain of Iran
Ali Karimi of Iran's most popular footballer
As of 11 November 2016
# Reign Player Caps (goals) Years active Matches as captain (goals)
1 1965–1967 Mohammad Ranjbar 23 (0) 1959–1967 9 (0)
2 1967–1970 Hassan Habibi 31 (0) 1958–1970 10 (0)
3 1970–1972 Mostafa Arab 48 (2) 1959–1972 13 (0)
4 1972–1977 Parviz Ghelichkhani 64 (12) 1964–1977 26 (7)
5 1977–1980 Ali Parvin 76 (13) 1970–1980 31 (2)
6 1980 Nasser Hejazi 62 (0) 1968–1980 7 (0)
7 1980–1984 Mehdi Dinvarzadeh 26 (0) 1977–1984 9 (0)
8 1984–87
Mohammad Panjali 45 (0) 1978–1991 27 (0)
9 1987–89
Sirous Ghayeghran 43 (6) 1986–1993 22 (3)
10 1993 Hamid Derakhshan 41 (9) 1980–1993 12 (3)
11 1993–1994 Farshad Pious 35 (19) 1984–1994 4 (1)
12 1996 Mojtaba Moharrami 37 (5) 1988–1996 2 (0)
13 1996–1998 Ahmad Reza Abedzadeh 79 (0) 1988–1998 38 (0)
14 1998–1999 Nader Mohammadkhani 64 (4) 1988–1999 9 (1)
15 1999–2000 Javad Zarincheh 80 (1) 1987–2000 8 (0)
16 2000–2006 Ali Daei 149 (109) 1993–2006 80 (44)
17 2006–2009 Mehdi Mahdavikia 110 (13) 1996–2009 17 (1)
18 2009–2015 Javad Nekounam 151 (39) 2000–2015 56 (18)
19 2015–present Andranik Teymourian 101 (9) 2005–present 8 (1)

Most matches as captain

As of 7 June 2016, the 10 players with the most matches as captain:


[120] [121]

Player Caps Years active Matches as captain
1 Ali Daei 149 1993–2006 80
2 Javad Nekounam 151 2000–2015 56
3 Ahmad Reza Abedzadeh 79 1988–1998 38
4 Ali Parvin 76 1970–1980 31
5 Mohammad Panjali 45 1978–1991 27
6 Parviz Ghelichkhani 64 1964–1977 26
7 Sirous Ghayeghran 43 1986–1993 22
8 Mehdi Mahdavikia 110 1996–2009 17
9 Ali Karimi 127 1998–2012 16
10 Mostafa Arab 48 1959–1972 13

Iran World Cup captains

# Matches as captain Player World Cup played as captain (goals) Years active Caps (goals)
1 3 (0) Ali Parvin Argentina 1978 1970–1980 76 (13)
2 1 (0) Nader Mohammadkhani France 1998 1988–1999 64 (4)
3 2 (0) Ahmad Reza Abedzadeh 1987–1998 79 (0)
4 2 (0) Ali Daei Germany 2006 1993–2006 149 (109)
5 1 (0) Yahya Golmohammadi 1993–2006 74 (5)
6 3 (0) Javad Nekounam Brazil 2014 2000–2015 151 (39)

Iran Asian Cup captains

# Matches as captain Player Asian Cup played as captain Years active Caps (goals)
1 4 (0)[122] Hassan Habibi Iran 1968 1958–1970 31 (0)
2 4 (0)[123] Mostafa Arab Thailand 1972 1959–1972 48 (2)
3 3 (0)[124] Parviz Ghelichkhani Iran 1976 1964–1977 64 (12)
4 5 (0)[125] Nasser Hejazi Kuwait 1980 1968–1980 62 (0)
5 6 (0)[126] Mohammad Panjali Singapore 1984 1978–1991 45 (0)
6 6 (0)[127] Sirous Ghayeghran Qatar 1988 1986–1992 40 (6)
7 3 (0)[128] Japan 1992
8 2 (0)[129] Mojtaba Moharrami UAE 1996 1988–1996 37 (5)
9 4 (3) Ali Daei Lebanon 2000 1993–2006 149 (109)
10 6 (3) China 2004
11 4 (0) Mehdi Mahdavikia Asian Cup 2007 1996–2009 110 (13)
12 3 (0) Javad Nekounam Qatar 2011 2000–2015 151 (39)
13 4 (0) Australia 2015


Iran's squad in '78 WC qualification match against South Korea, Tehran, 11 November 1977


Champions (3): 1968, 1972, 1976
Third place (4): 1980, 1988, 1996, 2004
1st, gold medalist(s) Gold Medal (4): 1974, 1990, 1998, 2002
2nd, silver medalist(s) Silver Medal (2): 1951, 1966

Young teams were favoured by AFC and the IOC, and since 2002 male competitors must be under 23 years old, with three over-23 players allowed per squad.


Champions (4): 2000, 2004, 2007*, 2008
Runners-up (1): 2010
Third place (1): 2002
Champions (3): 1965, 1970, 1993
Runners-up (2): 1967, 1969

* as B Team


Champions (1): 2003
Runners-up (1): 1991
Runners-up (1): 1999


Runners-up (1): 2003
Third place (1): 1998
Champions (3): 2001, 2002, 2002
Third place (1): 2000

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External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Iran national football team.
Preceded by
1964 Israel 
Asian Champions
1968 (first title)
1972 (second title)
1976 (third title)
Succeeded by
1980 Kuwait 
Preceded by


South Korea
Asian Games Champions
1974 (first title)
Succeeded by

North Korea

South Korea
Preceded by
South Korea 
Asian Games Champions
1990 (second title)
Succeeded by

Preceded by
Asian Games Champions
1998 (third title)
2002 (fourth title)
Succeeded by

Preceded by
Inaugural champions
WAFF Champions
2000(first title)
Succeeded by
2002  Iraq
Preceded by
2002  Iraq
WAFF Champions
2004 (second title)
2007 (third title)
2008 (fourth title)
Succeeded by
2010  Kuwait
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