Iranian fans hold vigil for stricken World Cup hero

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TEHERAN, March 4 (AFP)- Hundreds of Iranian football fans held a vigil here Monday at the hospital where coma-stricken former international captain Ahmadreza Abedzadeh is battling to recover from a brain hemorrhage.
Abedzadeh, a goalkeeper and star of Iran's 1998 World Cup campaign, was admitted to Kasra Hospital on Sunday and has been in a coma ever since. Hospital sources said Abedzadeh's life was not in danger however.
"We are here because he gave us so many moments of happiness and glory," one of Abedzadeh's well-wishers said outside the hospital here Monday.
The former goalkeeper became a folk hero in Iran when the team successfully qualified for the France World Cup four years ago, pulling off a series of saves in the memorable 2-2 play-off draw with Australia in qualifying.
He also kept goal for Iran in their politically charged first round match against the United States, a game dubbed the 'Mother of all football matches'. Iran won 2-1.

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