Iran, also known as Persia, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a sovereign state in Western Asia. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2, it is the second-largest country in the Middle East, with 82.8 million inhabitants, Iran is the worlds 17th-most-populous country. It is the country with both a Caspian Sea and an Indian Ocean coastline. The countrys central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, Tehran is the countrys capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center. Iran is the site of to one of the worlds oldest civilizations, the area was first unified by the Iranian Medes in 625 BC, who became the dominant cultural and political power in the region. The empire collapsed in 330 BC following the conquests of Alexander the Great, under the Sassanid Dynasty, Iran again became one of the leading powers in the world for the next four centuries. Beginning in 633 AD, Arabs conquered Iran and largely displaced the indigenous faiths of Manichaeism and Zoroastrianism by Islam, Iran became a major contributor to the Islamic Golden Age that followed, producing many influential scientists, scholars, artists, and thinkers. During the 18th century, Iran reached its greatest territorial extent since the Sassanid Empire, through the late 18th and 19th centuries, a series of conflicts with Russia led to significant territorial losses and the erosion of sovereignty. Popular unrest culminated in the Persian Constitutional Revolution of 1906, which established a monarchy and the countrys first legislative body. Following a coup instigated by the U. K. Growing dissent against foreign influence and political repression led to the 1979 Revolution, Irans rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 21 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the third-largest number in Asia and 11th-largest in the world. Iran is a member of the UN, ECO, NAM, OIC. Its political system is based on the 1979 Constitution which combines elements of a democracy with a theocracy governed by Islamic jurists under the concept of a Supreme Leadership. A multicultural country comprising numerous ethnic and linguistic groups, most inhabitants are Shia Muslims, the largest ethnic groups in Iran are the Persians, Azeris, Kurds and Lurs. Historically, Iran has been referred to as Persia by the West, due mainly to the writings of Greek historians who called Iran Persis, meaning land of the Persians. As the most extensive interactions the Ancient Greeks had with any outsider was with the Persians, however, Persis was originally referred to a region settled by Persians in the west shore of Lake Urmia, in the 9th century BC. The settlement was then shifted to the end of the Zagros Mountains. In 1935, Reza Shah requested the international community to refer to the country by its native name, opposition to the name change led to the reversal of the decision, and Professor Ehsan Yarshater, editor of Encyclopædia Iranica, propagated a move to use Persia and Iran interchangeably
Association football positions
In the sport of association football, each of the 11 players on a team is assigned to a particular position on the field of play. A team is made up of one goalkeeper and ten players who fill various defensive, midfield. These positions describe both the main role and their area of operation on the pitch. In the early development of the game, formations were much more offensively aggressive, in the latter part of the 19th century, the 2–3–5 formation became widely used and the position names became more refined to reflect this. As the game has evolved, tactics and team formations have changed, the term half-back fell out of use by the early 1970s and midfield was used in naming the positions that play around the middle third as in centre midfield and wide midfield. The fluid nature of the game means that positions in football are not as rigidly defined as in sports such as rugby or American football. Even so, most players play in a limited range of positions throughout their career, as each position requires a particular set of skills. Footballers who are able to play comfortably in a number of positions are referred to as utility players, however, in Total Football tactics, the players are only loosely defined into a position. This tactic required players who were extremely versatile, such as Johan Cruyff, goalkeeper is the most defensive position in football. The goalkeepers main job is to stop the team from scoring by catching, palming or punching the ball from shots, headers. Unlike their teammates, goalkeepers typically remain in and around their own penalty area for most of the game, as a result, goalkeepers have a better view of the pitch and often give advice to their defence when the other team is on the attack or during set pieces. Goalkeepers are the players on the pitch who are allowed to handle the ball. Positioning is another important job and is one of the hardest to master as keeper, goalkeepers must also wear a different coloured kit from the outfielders and officials. Common colours include yellow, green, grey, black and shades of blue, since the 1970s, goalkeepers have also typically worn specialised gloves. They provide better grip on the ball and protect their hands from hard shots and headers, caps were common between the 1910s and 1960s, as well as woolly jumpers but these are not worn in any professional or semi-professional context today. Defenders play behind the midfielders and their responsibility is to provide support to the team. They usually remain in the half of the field contains the goal they are defending. Taller defenders will move forward to the teams penalty box when their team takes corner kicks or free kicks
Paykan Football Club is a football team based in Qods, Iran. The team is sponsored by Irans main automobile manufacturer Iran Khodro and is named one of its older products. Paykan F. C. is the club of the multisport Paykan Sport Club which also includes Basketball and volleyball teams. The club was established in 1967 by Mahmoud Khayami with financial help from the Iran Khodro factory, the main objective was to promote their factorys products, and improve their reputation. They were able to lure great players such as Ali Parvin, Majid Halvaei and Amir Abedini, in 1969 the team became the Tehran City Leagues champions and the team appeared to have a bright future. The team was dissolved in 1970 after a series of difficulties between the players and management, most of the players went back to Persepolis. Paykan still operated without a team specifically in the 1980s but carried on with basketball, handball. Paykan did not have a team until the year 2000. The team participated in the 2000–01 Azadegan League with Bahmans squad, among Iranian football clubs, the team is known to have one of the better organizations in terms of facilities and management. The team had success and were relegated from the Iran Pro League in the 2004–05 season. They were back in the IPL for the 06–07 season where they finished a respectable 7th, in 2008 Paykan was moved to Qazvin because the city of Tehran had many football teams with low attendance figures. They started the well but toward the end their results got worse. The team changed their coach in the last weeks of the 2008–09 season, although they finished in the top half of the table in 2009–10 season the club chairman decided to replace Hamid Derakhshan with Mohammad Ahmadzadeh as the head coach. Paykan were relegated in 2010–2011, but the year they earned their promotion back to the Iran Pro League for the 2012–2013 season. Paykan moved back to Tehran and started playing in the newly renovated Takhti Stadium, Paykan was relegated to Azadegan League again in April 2013. Before the start of the 2013–14 season Paykan once again relocate, in the 2013–2014 season Paykan finished 2nd in the Azadegan League, thus giving them a shot at Iran Pro League promotion. Paykan defeated Siah Jamegan 3–1 on aggregate and advanced to play Iran Pro League club Fajr Sepasi in a promotion play-off, the first game in Shiraz ended 0–0 with neither team getting the upper hand. But, in the leg in Qods, Paykan achieved promotion with a lone goal in the 65th minute
F.C. Nassaji Mazandaran
Football Club Nassaji Mazandaran is an Iranian football club based in Qaem Shahr, Mazandaran, Iran. They currently compete in the Azadegan League, despite playing in the Iranian second tier, Nassaji has one of the highest average attendances in Iran. Nassaji Mazandaran Company established the club in 1959, Nassaji entered the Qods Cup in 1988 and soon after they entered the top division Azadegan League in 1991 and stayed there until 1995. Nassaji stayed in 2nd division until 2001 and when Iranian Football Federation decided to start a professional league, in 2004 Nassaji was relegated to 2nd Division but they were promoted back to the Azadegan League at the end of the 2005–06 season. On 3 August 2006 Nasser Hejazi signed as head-coach of Nassaji on a deal for the 2006–07 season. The following season Nassaji again finished third and was two out of a promotion play off spot. As of January 20,2014 Note, Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules, players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality. The table below chronicles the achievements of Nassaji Mazandaran since 1989
Foolad Khuzestan Football Club is an Iranian football club, based in Ahvaz, Khuzestan that plays in Persian Gulf Pro League. Foolad F. C. was founded in 1971 and is owned by Foolad Khuzestan Company and it was named Foolad partially because it is funded by the industry in Khuzestan. The club have won Iran Pro League twice, including a championship in the lower division, Azadegan League. In the 2004–05 season, Foolad became the champion of the newly founded Iran Pro League. The club was relegated to the Azadegan League, second highest division in Iran at the end of the 2006–07. Fortunately however, Foolad was able to return to the IPL starting from the next season, Foolad won its second championship in 2013–14 season. Foolads home kit is red and yellow shirts, with the color for shorts. The colors used in clothing, is derived from the symbol of the club, uhlsport are the kit manufacturers, the main sponsor is the clubs ownership company. The club is the fifth most supported in Iran, after Persepolis, Esteghlal, Tractor Sazi, Foolad Khuzestan Football Club was founded on 2 March 1971 in Ahvaz, Iran by at that time, President of the Foolad Khuzestan Company Ali Akbar Davar. Foolad was a team that no one knew anything about until the dissolution of Jonoub Ahvaz in 1996, Foolad won the Ahvaz City Championship in 1991, and entered the 2nd division of the Khuzestan football league two years later. Foolad won the first group in its season and was promoted to the Ahvazs first league which they won in their debut season as well. This meant they would be promoted to the Khuzestan Provincial Leagues, in 1995, which was Foolads second year in the Khuzestans Second Division, they became provincial champions. That same year Jonoub Ahvaz, was contracted and Foolad took their place in Iran Footballs 2nd Division, in 1996, with Homayoun Shahrokhinejad as manager, the team was promoted to the 1st division. It was a run, considering that the team began in the 4th division of the Ahvaz City League in 1986. Ever since their promotion, the club has introduced very talented young footballers to Iranian football, the team was eventually bought by the Ahvaz Steel Mill, this helped the teams financial situation improve. Their star player, Iman Mobali was loaned and eventually transferred to Al-Shabab of the UAE Pro League, youth club coach Nenad Nikolić temporarily replaced him and soon after Portuguese manager Augusto Inácio was named head coach. Foolad went through a terrible 2006–07 season finishing 15th and being relegated to the lower Azadegan League, Foolad start the 2007–08 season at Azadegan League and won the playoff spot despite their strong leadership until the last weeks. In the playoff, they drew with Payam Mashhad in a two-leg matches, a few weeks later they bought the right to play in Persian Gulf Cup from Sepahan Novin and promoted to IPL
Saba Qom F.C.
Saba Qom Football Club is an Iranian football team based in Qom, Iran and currently plays in the Persian Gulf Pro League. Saba won the 2005 edition of the Hazfi Cup and the 2005 edition of the Iranian Super Cup under Iranian football legend Ali Daei, mohemmat sazi Football Club was Iranian football club based in Tehran, Iran. They play in the 2nd Division, in 1974 a football called Mohemat Sazi was established in Tehran. The team never had any success and only played in the lower leagues of the Iranian football league system. They came close to making it to Tehrans top football league in the 1980s, in the early 1990s the club was sponsored by a company named Maham. During the later stages of the history they were sponsored by Sanam. In 2002 the clubs shares were sold to Saba Battery Company which is under the control of Irans Ministry of Defense, due to the clubs greatly improved financial status the team was able to purchase talented players and were promoted to the Iran Pro League in 2004. In the 2005 season Saba Battery also won the Iranian Super Cup, and until 2016 they remained the only team to have the title. Although Saba Battery did not have a year in Iran Pro League. Saba Battery became Runners-up after losing to Sepahan 4–2 in aggregate, since Sepahan became 5th in the Iran Pro League, that meant that Saba Battery wont be going to AFC Champions League. The team debuted in the Iran Pro League in the 2004–05 season and made the headlines when they signed Iranian legend and FIFA all-time greatest international goalscorer Ali Daei from Persepolis. With the help of Daei the team was able to secure a berth for the Asian Champions League after winning the 2005 Hazfi Cup, in the same year Saba won the Iranian Super Cup defeating league champions Foolad 4–0. After the departure of Ali Daei in 2006, Saba signed former Bosnia, in 2007 Saba once again made the final of the Hazfi Cup, this time losing 4–0 to Sepahan on aggregate. In 2008 Saba relocated to Qom because the city of Tehran had many football teams with low attendance figures, the team was renamed Saba Qom after the move. In the 2011–12 Persian Gulf Cup, Saba Qom finished 4th securing a spot for the 2013 AFC Champions League. In the play-off Saba lost to Al Shabab on penalties and failed to qualify to the group stage, in July 2015 Saba announced that legendary former Iranian footballer and coach Ali Daei would lead the club for the 2015–16 Persian Gulf Pro League season. Daei attracted several national team players to the club, namely, Hamed Lak, Ghasem Dehnavi, Amir Hossein Sadeghi, Reza Haghighi, Mohammad Ghazi. Saba started well and were within contention of an AFC Champions League in the first half of the season, for details on seasons, see List of Saba Qom F. C. seasons The table below chronicles the achievements of Saba Qom in various competitions since 2002
Esteghlal Khuzestan F.C.
Esteghlal Melli-Sanati Khuzestan Football Club commonly known as Esteghlal Khuzestan, is an Iranian football club based in Ahvaz, Iran. They currently compete in the Persian Gulf Pro League after they were promoted from Azadegan League in 2012–13 season and this football club is different from Esteghlal Ahvaz. In 2011 they bought Esteghlal Jonubs licence to compete in the Azadegan League and they finished 2012–13 season in 2nd place of their group and qualified to the promotion play-off. However, they were awarded the direct promotion IRIFF after groups winner and they won the Persian Gulf Pro League title in 2015–16 season. Esteghlal Khuzestan F. C. was established just before the start of the 2011–2012 season by acquiring the license of Esteghlal Jonub Tehran F. C. who have just been promoted to the Azadegan League. In Esteghlal Khuzestans first year in the top flight they finished 12th, in the Hazfi Cup Esteghlal Khuzestan exited the competition in the Round of 32 after a shock defeat to Azadegan League side Alvand Hamedan. Esteghlal finished the 2014–15 season 14th, meaning they would have to play in a relegation play-off against the winner of the Azadegan League promotion play-off winner, Esteghlal Khuzestan defeated Mes Kerman 3–0 on aggregate meaning they had secured a spot in the 2015–16 Persian Gulf Pro League season. Before the start of the 2015–16 season Esteghlal Khuzestan signed many of Foolad Novins players and were a major surprise, Esteghlal Khuzestan had four consecutive winning streak at the 12th week, which made Esteghlal Khuzestan finished champions of the first half of the season. After a great result with Abdollah Veisi, Esteghlal Khuzestan managed to keep their shape at the half of the season. On January 1,2016 Esteghlal Khuzestan lost to Persepolis which made the race tighter for first place, the head coach Abdollah Veisi later said that our main goal is to take place at AFC Champions League. Esteghlal Khuzestan qualified to the AFC Champions League on 8 May, Esteghlal Khuzestan won the league title on 13 May after a 2–0 win over Zob Ahan. After the takeover of the club in 2011, the club played its matches in Ahvazs Takhti Stadium. After the club promoted to the Iran Pro League, it was decided that continuing to play at Takthi, while big games like Persepolis, Esteghlal. In 2015, the moved to Ghadir permanently, as city rivals Foolad set to move to its private ground. The team competes in Ahvaz derby against two-times Iran Pro League winner Foolad, the teams play against each other usually two times a year. The first time the teams met each other was in season 2013–14 which Esteghlal Khuzestan lost that game, the derby became more Serious after Esteghlal Khuzestan finished on top of the league in 2015–16 half season in a big surprise for all teams and the week performance of Foolad. Because of Foolad fans as they were worried about becoming the team of Ahvaz. As of April 4, 2017Note, Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules, players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality
Naft Tehran F.C.
Sanate Nafte Tehran is an Iranian football club based in Tehran, Iran. They currently compete in the Persian Gulf Pro League and they were owned by the National Iranian Oil Company previously. Naft Tehran was founded in 1950 and plays in the Takhti Stadium, in 2015 for the first time in the clubs history Naft played in the AFC Champions League. They defeated Al-Ahli of Saudi Arabia in the round of 16 to advance to the quarter–finals where they eventually lost to Al-Ahli Dubai, on 23 August 1971, National Iranian Oil Company decided on starting a football team. Before the Iranian Revolution the team competed in the Tehran Football League for several years, in 2003, the club was competing in the Tehran Local Leagues, in 2005 they were promoted to the 3rd Division. Naft Tehran was competing in Irans 2nd Division and they turned out to be one of the best teams, in the First Round, they had managed to score 36 goals and convecting only 14, they were on top of Iranjavan with 38 points. In the Second Round, they came out second at the Group B and they were just under Mes Sarcheshmeh with 3 points away and 1 point on top of Esteghlal Jonub Tehran, Naft Tehran after promoted to Azadegan League. After three years of competing in the 2nd Division, Naft was promoted to the Azadegan League, Naft Tehran started the season well in Azadegan League and eventually became first in the group tables. It was the first time ever that Naft Tehran went to Iran Pro League, Naft Tehran was competing in Irans 2nd Division and they turned out to be one of the best teams. In the First Round they had managed to score 36 goals and conceding only 14, in the Second Round they came out second at the Group B. They were just under Mes Sarcheshmeh with 3 points away and 1 point on top of Esteghlal Jonub Tehran, Naft Tehran started the season well in Azadegan League and eventually became first in the group tables. Naft Tehran came out with a goal difference by conceding the fewest goals. They didnt score much as their top scorer Akbar Saghiri scored seven goals in the league and it was the first time ever that Naft Tehran went to Persian Gulf Pro League. On the final day of the 2013–14 Iran Pro League season, in May 2014 Yahya Golmohammadi announced that he would not be extending his contract with Naft and had signed with Zob Ahan. Shortly after on 31 May, Naft revealed Ali Reza Mansourian as their manager for the 2014–15 season, the club qualified for the 2015 AFC Champions League group stage after a 1–0 win over Qatari club El Jaish in the play-off round. Naft won its first ever Champions League game in a 2–1 victory against Saudi club Al Shabab, on 6 May 2015 the club advanced to the round of 16 of the AFC Champions League. On 15 May 2015 on the final matchday of the league Naft went in to the final match second and tied on points with Tractor Sazi, Naft drew with Tractor 3–3 and finished third in the league, securing an Champions League play-off spot. In the Hazfi Cup final, Naft Tehran was defeated by Zob Ahan, during the 2015–16 season Naft encountered severe financial issues and could not pay the players and coaching staff
Esteghlal Tehran Football Club until 1979 known as Taj Tehran Football Club is an Iranian professional football club based in Tehran that plays in the Persian Gulf Pro League. Esteghlal F. C. is the club of the multisport Esteghlal Athletic. Founded in 1945 initially as Docharkhe Savaran meaning The Cyclists in Persian and later in 1949, the name of the club was finally modified into Esteghlal that is the current name of the club, meaning Independence, subsequent to the Islamic Revolution in 1979. In 1970, under the management of Zdravko Rajkov, Esteghlal Tehran became the first Iranian football club to win the Asian Club Championship and they have won several official titles on the national and international stage since 1970, including eight Iranian League titles and a record 6 Hazfi Cups. There are two stars above the teams official badge to represent winning two titles in Asian Club Championship. On September 20,1945 three Iranian military officers—Mirzani, Jananpour and Navab—started a sports club on Ferdowsi Street, Tehran, since the founders of the club were mostly interested in cycling, the clubs original name was Docharkhe Savaran, meaning The Cyclists in Persian. Esteghlal football club played its first official match in 1946, from the beginning Taj or Docharkeh Savaran competed in the Tehran Local League, which at the time was the highest ranked league in Iran. On March 6,1950, Taj played its first official game in front of over 20,000 spectators in Amjadieh Stadium against Shahin, later in that year, the clubs name was officially changed to Taj which means crown in Persian. In 1970, Taj defeated Hapoel Tel Aviv of Israel 2–1 in the final to win its first ever Asian Club Championship, after the revolution, any sign of the previous monarchist regime was not tolerated. During the 1980s, Esteghlal won the Tehran Football League twice, the 1989–90 season was a memorable one for Esteghlal. The club finished 1st in Group B of the Qods League, Esteghlal defeated Malavan 4–0 on aggregate to advance to the final against the hated rival, Persepolis. Esteghlal defeated Persepolis 2–1 through a 74th-minute goal by Samad Marfavi to win the Qods League, in the following season, Esteghlal made it to the final of the Hazfi Cup only to lose to Malavan on penalties. 1991 proved to be one of Esteghlals most memorable years as they won the Asian Club Championship for the 2nd time defeating Chinese club Liaoning 2–1, Esteghlal once again reached the final of the Asian Club Championship in 1999, this time losing to Japanese club Júbilo Iwata 1–2. 2001 marked the first year of the newly founded Iran Pro League, going into the final day, Esteghlal was on top of the leagues table, however, with an Esteghlal loss and a Persepolis win, Persepolis was crowned as the leagues inaugural champion. However, the 2001–02 Hazfi Cup provided some consolation for Esteghlal as they beat Fajr Sepasi 4–3 on aggregate to win the cup. The 2002–03 season was one of the worst years in club history, in July 2003, Amir Ghalenoi was appointed manager of Esteghlal. In his first year, Esteghlal finished runner-up in the league, Ghalenoi also made it to the final of the Hazfi Cup losing 2–5 on aggregate to Sepahan. His second season proved to be successful as Esteghlal finished 3rd