Iran are the next team to leave Russia, and I am way less happy about it than I am about Poland.
Ramble of the Day
The unsettled Group B brought Monday’s lone World Cup elimination, with Iran having drawn the shortest stick. The team was emblematic of a theme of the tournament, unexpectedly bringing more drama to a group with the last two European champions than anticipated. Their efforts were not only admirable, but impressive, bringing an entertaining and ambitious game plan to Russia with them. Many will consider them unlucky to leave the World Cup with only two goals scored, and will wonder what could have been if Medhi Taremi’s 95th minute shot found the back of the net against Portugal. Additionally, Iran brought some flair, represented by Milad Mohammadi’s 94th minute flip throw against Spain, but ultimately, their biggest achievement was off the field. The circumstances in the build-up to the team’s match against Spain saw women allowed into Iranian stadiums for the first time in almost 40 years, allowing all to enjoy a team worthy of it.
tl;dr: I am going to miss Iran at the World Cup.
Links of the Day
Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka will not be banned by FIFA for their goal celebrations against Serbia. They will, however, fined 10,000 Swiss francs each.
Today’s longer read: Ed Malyon and Danny Fitzgerald tell the inside story of Argentina’s seemingly doomed World Cup campaign for The Independent