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Sunday, July 23, 2006

One Year Ago Today....QPR 3 Iran 0

July 23, 2005 - QPR 3 Iran 0
Furlong, Ainsworth and Santos.

Sunday Times Match Report - July 24, 2005
QPR 3 Iran 0: Iran go under in away day to forgetBrian Glanville at Loftus Road
WAS their journey really necessary? Was it really worth the Iranians bringing a reserve team all the way to Shepherd’s Bush while five of their stars were in pre-season training with their Bundesliga clubs? At full strength, Iran, who have already qualified for the 2006 World Cup finals, are thought to have their best team ever. ..
I was quite relieved,” said the Queens Park Rangers manager Ian Holloway, “that one or two of their most famous people didn’t actually start.”
As for Iran’s Croatian manager, Branko Ivankovic, he was “sorry our stars couldn’t come, they have obligations with their clubs, but they will be back five days before the next competitive game. Losing 3-0 is never the ideal result when you’re a national team, but we’ve only been training 10 days, and we weren’t fit for such a game. It was an excellent schooling for the future for the young players”.
But Ivankovic reflected, not surprisingly: “Three-nil from corners! Typical English scoring. We have to make some improvements in that area.”
Indeed they do, although Holloway said: “We’ve been working the last two days on those.”
Half-time was approaching when Lee Cook took a corner from the left, Dan Shittu knocked it back and Paul Furlong squeezed his back-header inside the right-hand post.
Earlier on the Iranians had looked the more likely to score. QPR’s trialist goalkeeper, Wayne Henderson, made a resilient double save from first Yahia Golmohammadi, then Arash Borhani. But Iran faded in the second half. Gareth Ainsworth headed in another corner by Cook and himself took the corner from which Georges Santos headed a third.

BBC -QPR 3-0 Iran
Paul Furlong opened the scoring for QPR on 41 minutesPaul Furlong, Gareth Ainsworth and George Santos all scored headers as QPR enjoyed a 3-0 friendly win over Iran.
The Iranians, who have qualified for next year's World Cup, held QPR at bay until the 41st minute, when Furlong headed Dan Shittu's cross home.
Substitute Ainsworth doubled the home side's lead 14 minutes after half-time, as he headed Lee Cook's corner.
And Ainsworth turned provider after 71 minutes, taking the corner which Santos headed to complete the scoring.
Summer signing Tommy Doherty made his debut for Rangers, playing just over one hour before making way for Marcus Bean.
Aston Villa trialist Wayne Henderson made an appearance in goal, while Derby trialist Jamie Vincent also played. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/q/qpr/4712187.stm

Furlong fells Iran but tourists get warm welcome Amy Lawrence at Loftus Road Sunday July 24, 2005The Observer
Like many visitors, they were feeling twitchy about visiting London so soon after the 7 July bombings. The Iran football team set off regardless in high spirits. This squad is drawn from the domestic league - exported stars excused - and the summer training camp is a chance for reserves and a few long shots to impress the manager.
Iran were among the first countries to qualify for next summer's World Cup in Germany and the race for places in their finals squad starts here. The team arrived in England on Thursday morning. They were inside Heathrow, waiting for luggage at a carousel, when news filtered through. More explosions. Tubes being evacuated. Something had happened at Shepherd's Bush. Wasn't that where the first game of the tour was
Representatives of Queens Park Rangers and the police were soon liaising with the Iranians. If they wanted to call off the tour and go home, everyone would understand. It could be arranged in an instant. But these footballers vehemently didn't want to go home. Iran 1 Inter Milan 0. ..
'We have had just 10 days' training and we weren't fit for such a game,' said Iran's Croatian coach, Branko Ivankovic. 'I am sorry the stars didn't come, but they will be back and we will be stronger.' Some 25 scouts were in the crowd to cast their eye on the rest. Although the young ones were raw, there was technique enough to convince Ian Holloway, the QPR manager, that he would be keen to take some on. Although they had the best of the opening period, five minutes before half-time the internationals were behind. Paul Furlong bundled in the opening goal for QPR after goalkeeper Ebrahim Mirzapour went on a mad dash into no man's land. It was the first of three goals from set pieces.
'Typical English goals,' said Ivankovic, wryly. 'Good experience for my players, who don't come across this kind of game in Iran.' After the break QPR, who looked sharp and competitive, took more advantage as Iran gave in to heavy legs. Gareth Ainsworth's looping header and Georges Santos's drive made for a scoreline to please Holloway, the manager who outlined his mission for the season ahead as only he can: 'I would love to have a season like last year, minus our inconsistency.'
He found the whole event uplifting. 'Sport wins,' he said earnestly afterwards. 'Everyone in the stadium showed what the world is about. It is not about people who hide behind banners of religion or politics. I made some friends here and I'd invite Iran back any time.' Ivankovic seems happy enough with the experience thus far, although he is aware that losing 3-0 to anybody does not go down well with the 16 daily sports newspapers back in Iran. Getting a break from such a pressured environment was one of the reasons behind this working break. Iran are staying at Burnham Beeches, the tranquil, wooded retreat in Buckinghamshire used regularly by Sven-Goran Eriksson's England squad. Today they go sightseeing, before being treated to dinner at the Iranian Embassy. Then it is back to work. The tour is pressing on, with matches at Millwall, Portsmouth and possibly Crystal Palace, who have been in touch to see if they might fill in for those scaredy-cats from Italy.

Some photos of that match:

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