Some soccer fans here in Russia felt the World Football governing body (FIFA), played a fast one against Iran from making it to the second round at the on-going Russia 2018 World Cup.
Iran’s 1-1 score draw with Portugal in their last group match after a stunning Ricardo Quaresma’s strike was cancelled out by Iran’s Karim Ansarifard.
The draw meant Portugal finished tie on points, five with Spain, who also drew 2-2 against Morocco to finish on top of group B after scoring more goals.
To the fans, Iran should have qualified with their four points, if the referee had not ‘assisted’ Spain with a last minute equaliser against Morocco.
Those who spoke with The Guardian shortly after the match on Monday night were of the opinion that Iran was ‘clearly robbed’ by the centre referee for Spain to escape the drop.
“This is sad because Iran should have qualified ahead of Spain,” Oscar Al-Khesh, screamed.
“Even when the assistant referee ruled Spain’s second goal as offside, the centre referee decided otherwise. He allowed it.
This is clear robbery and it is not good for a FIFA competition. “They want Spain to qualify by all means.”
If the match between Spain and Morocco had ended 2-1 in favour of the North African team, the former world champion would have been eliminated from the World Cup.
Even Iran midfielder, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, was not happy with the situation, he said: “It’s such a big disappointment for us.
We had a big chance at the end of the game, we could have scored and won it. As everyone had seen, we did our best to win this game but we missed some chances.”
Portugal came perilously close to a group stage exit from the World Cup during a frenetic stoppage-time period, when unfancied Iran equalised through a penalty and almost scored a winner after Cristiano Ronaldo had earlier missed from the penalty spot.
While the European champion, Portugal, will now face Uruguay in the round of 16, Russia will host Spain.
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