Watch: Iranian fans create Azadi magic at Fifa World Cup in Qatar – News

When Roozbeh Cheshmi finally found the net with a superb right-footed shot from outside the box, a deafening roar erupted at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium as the Wales players fell to their knees

By Rituraj Borkakoty in Doha

Released: Fri 11/25/2022, 7:41 p.m

Last updated: Friday, November 25, 2022 at 7:43 p.m

Few arenas in the football world are more intimidating for away teams than Tehran’s Azadi Stadium, home of Iran’s internationals, including the tough World Cup qualifiers.

It’s a stadium that echoes with the roar of 78,000 Iranians every game, sending shivers down the spines of every opposing team before they can even kick the ball.

The Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium at the World Cup in Qatar is not quite as big as the Azadi Stadium with a capacity of 45,000.

But on Friday, thousands of Iranian fans draped in their national colors created the Azadi magic in Qatar, chanting and beating drums and roaring their approval as waves of their team’s attacks on the Wales team hung for their lives.

Before Roozbeh Cheshmi broke the block in the 98th minute, the loudest noise was heard when the referee had to show Welsh goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey a red card after he threw a flying kick at an Iranian attacker from outside the box in a desperate attempt to to protect himself had crushed his aim.

When Cheshmi finally found the net with a superb right footed shot from outside the box, a deafening roar erupted at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium as the Wales players fell to their knees.

After countless attacks on the Wales penalty area, they finally found the shot that could earn them redemption after their embarrassing 6-2 defeat by England in the opening game.

But there was still time for another goal after Iran’s frustrating wait for the first ended.


Stunned by the Iranians’ relentless aggression, the Welsh players, many of whom play in the English Premier League, gambled away their passes.

From one of those mistakes came the second goal as Ramin Rezaeian ended the competition in a stirring manner.

It was only the third Iranian victory at the World Cup since their debut at the world’s greatest sporting event in 1978 – and one that had many Iranians weeping with joy in the stands.

One of those men was Mohammed, who traveled from Dubai with his wife Neelu to support his national team at the World Cup.

“This is the happiest day of my life. I felt we could beat Wales. But they (Wales) defended well. They have great players like Gareth Bale. But our team kept fighting hard for this win,” said Ahmed, who lives in Downtown Dubai.

“So we are very happy and proud of our team. The whole experience of coming here with my wife and seeing this game, this victory for Iran, we will never forget that in our lives.”

Mohammed, another Iranian fan who traveled to the World Cup with his friends from Tehran, said he jumped for joy when the goals finally came.

“I actually gave up hope when they missed a lot of chances in the second half. So I jumped up and down when they finally scored those goals in stoppage time. We are so happy. Now we think we can win the last game (against USA) too,” said Mohammed.

Mohammed was also happy to have played the role of 12th man for the Iran team alongside his compatriots at the stadium, cheering on the players at every moment of Friday’s hard-fought clash against Wales.

“Yes, we had to do that. We had to sing and support our team. Now we are ready to do it again in the next game against USA.”


Next could be a crucial match between Iran and the USA for a place in the round of 16.

And it’s not just the Iranian team that will challenge the Americans as they will also have to deal with the raw passion of these amazing Iranian fans on November 29 at Al Thumama Stadium.


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