Will Iran win over Portugal and qualify for World Cup knockout stage?

By Updated at 2018-06-23 07:17:14 +0000

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Iranian legend Mehdi Mahdavikia says Team Melli have potential to beat Portugal to book a place in the 2018 World Cup next stage for the first time.

Despite their defeat against La Roja, Iran's fate is still in their own hands. Whatever happens in Spain's final group match against Morocco, the Iranians know that a win over Portugal will see them into the round of 16.

“Team Melli have defeated Morocco in their important match and we can advance to the next stage with a win over Portugal. Why not? It’s a difficult task to do but we played well against Spain and have the potential to defeat Portugal,” Mahdavikia told Tehran Times.

Speaking about Iran's defensive tactics against Spain, Ex-Team Melli winger said, “We defended with nine players against Spain in the first half but after we conceded the goal, we changed our tactic and created some scoring chances. It shows Iran have the potential to break through,” he added.

Mahdavikia also defended Sardar Azmoun, who is under pressure for poor performance against Morocco and Spain.

Azmoun had minimal impact, largely marked out of the game by well-drilled Spain.

“Criticism is normal in football but we have to see what Carlos Queiroz has wanted him in these matches,” Mahdavikia said.

Mahdavikia, who was selected as the Hamburger SV Team of the Century in 2012, also praised Cristiano Ronaldo and said Iranian defenders have to be aware of the player’s threat on Monday.

“Messi is a genius but he won't change anything individually. I think we can frustrate Ronaldo and Portugal with a great teamwork,” Mahdavikia added.

Like Mahdavikia Iran national football team striker Karim Ansarifard believes Team Melli will defeat Portugal and qualify for the 2018 World Cup knockout stage as well.

Despite their defeat against La Roja, Iran's fate is still in their own hands. Whatever happens in Spain's final group match against Morocco, the Iranians know that a win over Portugal will see them into the round of 16.

“We’ve learned so many things from the previous World Cup and know how to play Portugal in this edition,” Ansarifard said.

“Iran is led by the best coach in the world and he has taught us how to fight against our opponents. He has helped us a lot and we are ready to defeat Portugal in our last group match,” he added.

Iran lost to Spain in Group B but Ansarifard says Iran played well and didn’t deserve to lose.

“After conceding the goal, we created so many chances. We did our best but I think we were not lucky at the end of the match. We will fight for our pride in the match against Portugal,” Olympiakos striker added.

“Our strategy against Spain was to defend and we wanted to find the back of their net through the counter attack. We also created some scoring chances but lacked the cutting edge,” the former Persepolis striker added.

“Portugal team have many stars but we can defeat them as a team,” Ansarifard concluded.


If teams are tied in the standings at the end of the group stage, who advances and who goes home?

After the hard-fought matches of the World Cup group stage, it’s not always easy to figure out which teams are advancing to the knockout round. Sure, it’s the top two teams from each group that advance, but sometimes there are ties in the standings. That’s when FIFA turns to these tiebreakers in order to determine who wins the group, who moves on as the second-place team, and who goes home.

The first two tiebreakers for teams tied on points are pretty basic: goal differential and goals scored. Here is how they work:

Goal differential
The first tiebreaker that is used if teams are even on points, goal differential is simply goals scored minus goals allowed. It’s a nice, basic performance quality measure that’s easy to calculate. You want to score as many goals as possible, and give up as few as possible, so the bigger positive number you have in goal differential, the better you’ve been playing.
Goals scored
Should goal differential be even between teams tied on points, FIFA moves on to goals scored as the next tiebreaker. It’s not as clean a measure of performance as goal differential, but again, you do want to score lots of goals to win games. So if you scored more goals than the other team(s) you tied with in the group standings, FIFA believes you deserve to move on past them.

Of course, there’s the minor issue that if you scored more goals than another team and had the same goal differential, you also allowed more goals than them, but let’s not focus on that.
Sometimes — but not very often — those basic group stage tiebreakers don’t quite do the job. When two or more teams remain deadlocked at this point, there are more tiebreakers ready to be used:

Points from group stage matches involving the tied teams
The first tiebreaker at this stage is results between the teams: If one side in a two-way tie won the match against the other than it moves on. If three teams are still tied at this stage, the highest point total in games between the teams involved gets the nod.
Goal differential in group stage matches involving the tied teams
Goals scored in group stage matches involving the tied teams
The next two tiebreakers — goal difference and goals scored between the teams — wouldn’t really apply if only two teams are still tied at this point because if they drew their one group stage match, these numbers would be identical. This tiebreaker comes in to play if there are three teams in the mix.
It’s incredibly rare to happen, but sometimes teams are still tied after all that. At this point, there’s just two things left two do.

The ‘Fair Play’ tiebreaker
If teams remain tied through all the above tiebreakers, it’s time to look at their disciplinary records in the tournament: A yellow card takes one point off your total, an indirect red (the result of being shown a second yellow card) is three points off, a straight red is four points off, and if you get a yellow and a direct red it’s worth five points off your total. The team with the highest total points remaining is the one that advances.
A random drawing!
If, somehow, things are still tied by some bizarre happenstance after even that, there’s only one thing left to do: the drawing of lots. Any teams still in the tiebreaker have their names printed out and put into balls, which are in turn put into a bowl, just like the group stage draw. Whichever team is drawn out is given the top spot out of the tiebreaker, while the other has to deal with whatever spot is left — which is almost always a ticket for a trip back home.
Do these World Cup tiebreakers come into play?
They sure do. The United States men’s national team was involved in a tiebreaker situation in the 2014 World Cup, when its goal differential (a whopping 0) was enough to get past Portugal (-3) and out of Group G. Mexico were on the happy end of a goal differential tiebreaker in 2010, advancing over hosts South Africa in Group A. Meanwhile, in Group C that same year, the USMNT won the group over England thanks to having more goals scored. In fact, it’s rare for a World Cup to not have at least one tiebreaker situation in the group stage. The 1998 World Cup was the last to lack such drama. Interestingly, that was the first World Cup played under the current 32-team format.