Iran overcame the odds to pick up all three points in their Group B opener thanks to an own goal from Morocco substitute Aziz Bouhaddouz in the 95th minute of the game.
It’s been less than an easy road for the side from the Middle East, who were unable to organise friendlies to prepare for the World Cup due to worldwide sanctions, and footwear giants Nike abandoning their deal with the team only days before the tournament began.
Fortunately, all of Iran’s players managed to find boots that fit – many of which were in fact Nike made – and Carlos Queiroz’s side took to the field against Africa’s third-highest ranked footballing side, managed by the only two-time African Cup of Nations winner (and the ever suave) Herve Renard.
Though the game was a scrappy affair – with four yellows awarded by Turkish referee Cakir Cuneyt, the referee who infamously sent off Nani in Sir Alex Ferguson’s last Champions League game in charge of Manchester United – Queiroz looks certain to go down as a hero as his side have already picked up three points in a group where they looked doomed to end with none.
Queiroz may have earned himself a few suitors with his side’s remarkable performance against Argentina four years ago, where they kept out Lionel Messi until moments before full-time, but this will go some way to improving his reputation as the man in charge after a successful few years as Sir Alex’s number two.