Iran were competing in just their third World Cup when they travelled to Germany in 2006. Their first was in Argentina in 1978 where they gained a draw against Scotland, but lost heavily to the Netherlands and Peru either side of it.
Their 1998 campaign started with a 1-0 defeat to Yugoslavia, but they bounced back to claim the most famous win in Iranian football history. The opposition was the USA and the build-up to the match was dominated by the history of political rivalry off the field. Iran won the game 2-1 with an impressive performance but they had to face Germany in their last group game and subsequently found themselves on the first plane home.
They missed out on qualification for 2002 when they lost a play-off to the Republic of Ireland, so qualification four years later was greeted with wild celebrations.
Their first match of the 2006 World Cup was against Mexico. The Iranians started very brightly and were clearly on top in the opening period, but it was the Mexicans who took the lead.
Iran didn’t get despondent though.
Instead they deservedly found an equaliser – just before the break when Yahya Golmohammadi met a corner kick…
What Happened Next?
In a tight second half, it was Iran who blinked first as they ended up gifting Mexico two goals in the final minutes to lose 3-1. They lost to Portugal with Golmohammadi giving away a penalty, and then drew with Angola in their final match. So once again they were on the first plane home.
Golmohammadi has spent his whole playing and management career in his homeland.
Iran qualified for the 2014 World Cup after missing out in 2010. They have qualified for Russia 2018 and they’ll kick off against Morocco on the second day of the tournament.