Press TV- The Iran men’s national football team, domestically known as Team Melli, has fallen to a narrow defeat against Tunisia in a friendly fixture as it is gearing up for the 2018 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup.
On Friday evening, Team Melli put its abilities to the test before starting own campaign at the world championship of association football, but failed to overcome the Eagles of Carthage at the multi-purpose Stade Olympique de Radès stadium in Rades, located about 10 kilometers southeast of the capital Tunis.
The Tunisian squad started the match in a better fashion, but Iranian football players could establish themselves and brought the match under control as the time passed.
The Iranians then moved forward and mounted a series of attacks on the hosts’ goal in search of a goal.
The visitors felt they should have had a spot kick when 27-year-old striker Karim Ansarifard was brought down in the area in the 15th minute, but the referee surprisingly did not agree.
Five minutes later, Iranian defender Ramin Rezaeian sent the ball to teammate Ansarifard, who sprang into the air and struck a header. But Tunisia’s goalkeeper pulled off a fine save.
Both teams failed to score a goal in the first half, and went into the cloakrooms tied at nil.
After the break, Iran’s 33-year-old midfielder Masoud Shojaei, who plays for Greek club AEK Athens FC, was substituted with Saman Ghoddos.
In the 71st minute, the Tunisia football team could open the scoring, when Iranian defender Milad Mohammadi made a costly mistake.
Iran’s best chance to equalize came in the 88th minute, when Mehdi Torabi could not beat the hosts’ custodian one-on-one.
The Iran men’s national football team is scheduled to take on Algeria in an exhibition game on March 27.
During the official 2018 FIFA World Cup draw ceremony at Kremlin State Palace in the Russian capital city of Moscow on December 1, Team Melli joined the Portugal national football team, nicknamed A Selecção, Spain’s La Furia Roja and Atlas Lions of Morocco in the preliminary round of the tournament.
The host nation, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay form Group A in the upcoming quadrennial international sports event.
France is drawn in Group C, and is pitted against Australia, Peru and Denmark.
Argentina, Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria are drawn in Group D.
Group E consists of Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.
While the 2014 FIFA World Cup champion Germany, Mexico, Sweden and South Korea shape Group F, Belgium, Panama, Tunisia and England are in Group G.
Group H has Poland, Senegal, Colombia and Japan.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup will take place from June 14 to July 15. Russia will open the event against Saudi Arabia in a Group A fixture at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.
A total of 64 matches will be played in 12 venues located in 11 cities.
Iran will start its World Cup campaign against Morocco at Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on June 15.