Some matches are the stuff of legend, and the suspense could have been even greater if sports betting had offered incredible rewards in the event of victory.
Iran's Greatest Victories
The following section will showcase three of Iran's most memorable moments on the pitch.
1998 World Cup: Iran beats the United States 2-1
During the 1998 World Cup, Iran faced off against the Americans in the second group stage game.
The Iranians opened up the scoring and took the lead through Hamid Estili in the 40th minute. Estili connected with a cross and sent a towering header over USA goalkeeper Casey Keller.
Estili doubled the lead in the 84th minute after finding himself on the end of a through ball and calmly slotted the ball into the right side of the net. Brian McBride cut the lead to 2-1 in the 87th minute, but it was too late and merely a consolation goal as Iran held on for the victory.
This Iranian victory was unfortunately insufficient to qualify for the 8th round of the World Cup. Iran would suffer 2 defeats in their other 2 matches, against Germany and Yugoslavia.
1968: Iran wins its first AFC Asian Cup
Another significant triumph for Team Melli was winning their first Asian Cup in 1968. Iran went a perfect four-for-four winning every game, including the final 2-1 over Israel.
Homayoun Behzadi scored the first goal at the 75-minute mark, tying the game at 1-1 after Giora Spiegel had given Israel the lead in the 52nd minute. With just three minutes remaining in regulation time, Parviz Ghelichkhani grabbed the winning goal securing the 2-1 victory.
It was a fantastic moment for the nation to win in Tehran in front of an audience of 38,000.
1976: Iran wins their third AFC Asian Cup
After winning the 1972 Asian Cup, Iran had a glorious opportunity to make it a third consecutive title. Team Melli won their group over Iraq and South Yemen with two victories.
In the knockout stages, Iran defeated China 2-0, followed by Kuwait 1-0 in the final. Ali Parvin found the back of the net in the 71st minute to collect a 1-0 victory and the title in front of 100,000 fans. The match was played in Tehran at Aryamehr Stadium.
Iran's Recent World Cup Performance
At the 2022 World Cup, Iran finished third in its group behind England and the USA but ahead of Wales. The best moment from the tournament was the team's 2-0 win over the Welsh in the second game of the group stages.
The 2-0 win was filled with drama. After Wayne Hennessey was given a red card and sent off in the 86th minute, Team Melli took advantage of the situation and scored two late goals in stoppage time. Roozbeh Cheshmi scored the first in the 90+8' minute, followed by Ramin Rezaeian (90'+11).
FIFA & AFC rankings
In 2022, Iran is ranked 22nd in the FIFA rankings of national teams, their 4th best position since 1993.
In the AFC rankings, the team's position has remained between 1 and 2 for the past 10 years. The next AFC will take place in Qatar in 2024.