By Masoud Hossein

Mark Bosnich reveals Iran deservedly qualified for World Cup

July 3, 2021 - 13:33

TEHRAN – Former Australia custodian Mark Bosnich says that Iran national football team deserved to qualify for the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

On Nov. 29, 1997, the Iranian team drew 2-2 with Socceroos at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in front of 128,000 spectators and booked a place at the World Cup. Many Australians have not forgotten the day and their coach Graham Arnold had said he could not wait for a match against Iran to erase that memory. The two teams must wait since they have not been drawn in a same group in the 2022 World Cup qualifications.   

But, Bosnich says his team learned lessons from defeats to pave the way for the next success.

In an interview with Tehran Times, Bosnich talked about the 1997 matches as well as the 2022 qualifiers.

Tehran Times: Football can be very beautiful and it can be very cruel as well. You missed the 1998 FIFA World Cup after losing to Iran (3-3 on aggregate), while the ‘Socceroos Golden Generation’ could have made a spark in the competition. What do you feel about the match after 24 years?


Mark Bosnich: Obviously, we were disappointed after we failed to qualify, however I believe that sometimes there must be pain before success (like Australia did in 2005 in qualifying). In terms of the two games regardless of the general play, Iran were better when it mattered and I have never thought that they got the credit. They richly deserved.

For sure, Peter Hore played a key role as Iran’s 12th player after running onto the field and caused a lengthy stoppage early in the second half. Do you think you could have defeated Iran if the incident didn’t happen?

 No. It was an unfortunate interruption. However, it was the same for both sides. I do not think that the interruption was a factor.

The draw for the next round of World Cup qualifying was conducted on July 1 and Australia learned their fate. Coach Graham Arnold had said he would wait for Iran. Australia and Iran are not in a same group.

I think it could be great if Iran and Australia were drawn together in the final phase of qualifying. The two sides have not met since 1997. I remember speaking with Carlos Quieroz at the 2015 Asian Cup here in Australia when it looked like we may meet and how exciting that would be. Unfortunately, it did not happen.


Australia have been drawn in Group B along with strong teams Japan and Saudi Arabia. can you mention your idea about your group?

I think that Australia group is a bit better than Iran’s group, although neither group is easy at all. The main thing that I have noticed about Asian football since I returned to Australia in 2008 is the overall improvement of all the sides. The gap is very close. I respectfully and humbly predict Australia to qualify for the 2022 World Cup as one of the top two teams.


You are a favorite person for the Iranian passionate football fans. Do you have a message for them?

 I have good memories from there, especially in Tehran where we stayed in 1997. Thank you always for your support. You were so nice to all of us then, and have been ever since. You are good people, and hopefully after this pandemic I can come and visit you all again.

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