June 25, 2022

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Mahdavikia never forgets goal against the U.S.

TEHRAN – Ex-Iran football team winger Mehdi Mahdavikia will never forget his decisive goal against the U.S. in the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

Iran won the match 2-1 at Lyon’s Stade Gerland in Group F on June 21, 1998.

Hamid Estili opened the scoring for Iran in the 40th minute and Mahdavikia doubled the lead six minutes from time.

Brian McBride pulled a goal back with a header three minutes later.

It was the first international meeting between two nations that had been at loggerheads since the 1979 Iranian revolution.

“Iran versus the United States was the match of the century,” the 44-year-old former SV Hamburg wing back told Reuters.

“That goal was one of the biggest, most memorable and remarkable times in my life. I will never, ever forget that moment. I was young, it was a very important match in the World Cup, it was Iran against the U.S., it was the first win for Iran at the World Cup and so the whole recipe was there to make that a memorable cake for the rest of my life,” Iran U23 football coach said.

“That win was an important win from any angle you look at it. From a sports perspective it was an historical moment because we made the first win in Iranian football history at the World Cup.

“For the country it became a huge celebration, so it was also historic. And even politically it became an important moment, so we never forget that one. It was a special day,” he added.

Iran have won only one World Cup match since – against Morocco in Russia in 2018 – and Mahdavikia is expecting another major test for Team Melli when they meet the Americans in November in Group B of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

“The U.S. have some young players who are playing in Europe so overall I believe they are much stronger than they were in 1998 and I’m sure they will be much more difficult in Qatar,” he stated.

“It might still be affected by the political environment, this match might be somehow under that shadow. But I’m sure those players are professional, they are experienced and they can stay focused on the sport and the match itself regardless of what is going on in the politics.

“I hope that it’s a good game and I wish that Iran can win again,” Mahdavikia concluded.  

Photo: Reuters/ Darren Walsh

Original News : https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/473928/Mahdavikia-never-forgets-goal-against-the-U-S

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