Morocco’s own goal brings Iran second victory in World Cup history

Lynette Rowe
June 18, 2018

"As I said before the game, to make these difficulties a source of inspiration, a source of motivation, is really something very special".

However, Iran snatched the victory in stoppage time with Aziz Bouhaddouz netting an own goal following a teasing cross at the near post.

It is just their second ever World Cup win and came two decades after a 2-1 success against the United States at France 98. Morocco's substitute Aziz Bouhaddouz, in trying to keep the ball out, unwittingly headed the ball into his own net, leaving the goalkeeper hapless.

However, it did not matter as Queiroz, who will end his seven-year stint as Iran manager after the tournament, celebrated with his coaching staff and his players at the final whistle.

The 1-0 victory also sent Iran, which reached consecutive World Cups only for first time, one step closer to the knockout stage that they had never been to before.

Mark Heim is a sports reporter for The Alabama Media Group.

There had been excitement after officials at Tehran's Azadi Stadium announced that families would be allowed in to watch Friday's match together for the first time.

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However, they have never reached the knockout stages, winning only one of their 12 games (D3 L8) - against US on 21 June 1998 (2-1).

With Spain and Portugal the other teams in Group B, this was regarded as a must-win game in St. Petersburg for two of the tournament outsiders.

Carlos Queiroz has so far masterminded his way through qualification and Iran got a place in Russian Federation through sheer hard work and determination.

Morocco will be hoping Nabil Dirar is passed fit.

"We come here without World Cup preparations".

"We are in this World Cup under the umbrella of Federation Internationale de Football Association and the main value of Federation Internationale de Football Association it is to put politics apart, but this is not what is going on", he said. Iran only had 32 per cent possession as they were dominated in the second half, but they did not care. It was good to hear that one of their players had appealed for women to attend matches back home, as his mum and sisters hadn't been able to see him play.

The injuries meant that six minutes were added to the second half. His experience at the top level will be crucial to Morocco's chances, especially against the likes of Spain and Portugal when they meet later in the group stages.

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