Team Melli

  • Iranian Women Demanded ‘Open Stadiums’ for a Long Time

    In a country where football was traditionally seen as a man’s sport, I was a passionate football fan. For Iranians, it was considered not just strange but taboo that a young Iranian girl be into football the way I was while growing up.

    It hurt whenever people mocked me, “Girls know nothing about football, they just love footballers.” But nothing could stop me and many other Iranian girls from following sports in the newspapers and football matches on television.

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  • Iran’s National Soccer Team Unites an Otherwise Divided Nation

    The one thing, besides Nowruz, that unites Iranians across the globe is Team Melli, the national soccer team. If social media is any indication, Team Melli is an obsession for Iranians everywhere.

    Iran qualified for this summer’s World Cup on June 17, 2017, the first time the country has punched its ticket for two consecutive tournaments. There was a sense, by the end of the qualifying campaign, that Iran had become strong enough to make it into the round of 16, also for the first time. Although these hopes ultimately were not realized, Team Melli performed much better than expected when paired in the first round against traditional powerhouses Spain and Portugal as well as a strong side from Morocco.

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