Every World Cup season, the spotlight is on the star-studded teams, and Iran is rarely among them. Following Nike’s withdrawal of footwear supply to Iranian players however, Iran once again gained attention with its victory at the opening match against Morocco.
CGTN’s Dan Williams reports from Moscow.
Savoring that winning feeling, Iran’s players joined fans at the gate of their Moscow training base to celebrate the team’s World Cup victory over Morocco.
It was Iran’s first World Cup finals win in 20 years, and the sheer joy among the players was clear to see.
“We [made] history for our country, for our flag and for our nation,” said forward Alireza Jahanbakhsh. “It was just a day to remember for us and just an unbelievable feeling we had after the game. But we knew if we did it together as a team with one heartbeat we could do big things.”
Iran’s victory over Morocco has given the country real hope of reaching the knockout rounds of a World Cup for the first time in decades. The challenge ahead, however, is far from easy.
Although most of the Iranian team played club football outside of the country, none competed in the major league games. This fact is in stark contrast with their next rival, 2010 World Cup champion Spain.
Regardless, Iran remains hopeful it can continue its winning ways.
“We only know it is a really hard game,” defender Milad Mohammadi said. “Spain is if not the best team in the world, then one of the best. Now we train hard for that game. We have to just analyze the game and hopefully we can do something good.”