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Iranian lawmakers praise Team Melli’s performance at 2018 FIFA World Cup

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran players line up before the 2018 FIFA World Cup Group B match against Portugal at the Mordovia Arena, Saransk, Russia, on June 25, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

More than 150 Iranian legislators have hailed the performance of the Iran men’s national football team, nicknamed Team Melli, at the preliminary round of the 2018 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup in Russia.

“We extend our gratitude for the remarkable efforts put in by the players, coaches and managers of the national football team as well as officials from the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs.

“We hope the talents of zealous Iranian youths are further tapped through meticulous and thoughtful planning of the incumbent administration. We wish to witness greater achievements of the country’s athletes in sports tournaments, particularly the 2018 Asian Games and the 2019 AFC Asian Cup,” the statement released by 175 parliamentarians read.

On June 25, Team Melli failed to advance to the 2018 World Cup knockout stage, however it wrote history by earning four points for the first time in the quadrennial international sporting event.

Iran's Karim Ansarifard scores his team’s first goal from the penalty spot during a 2018 FIFA World Cup Group B match between Iran and Portugal at the Mordovia Arena, Saransk, Russia, on June 25, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

Iran finished 1-1 with the Portugal national football team, nicknamed A Selecção, at the Mordovia Arena.

Team Melli did not allow Portugal to break through until the 45th minute, when Ricardo Quaresma broke the deadlock with a stunning goal.

The 34-year-old’s right-footed shot curled the ball past Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand.

Eight minutes into the second half, Cristiano Ronaldo could have doubled Portugal’s lead, when his team was awarded a penalty by video assistant referee (VAR). Beiranvand brilliantly saved Ronaldo’s penalty though.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo has a penalty saved by Iran's goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand during a 2018 FIFA World Cup Group B match between Iran and Portugal at the Mordovia Arena, Saransk, Russia, on June 25, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

Iran was awarded a penalty kick after a VAR review determined that Portugal’s Cedric Soares had committed a handball in the box in the stoppage time.

Karim Ansarifard buried the ball into the upper right corner of the goal.

Mehdi Taremi could have jabbed Iran’s second goal, but he missed his marvelous chance in front of the goal.


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