The football teams from Iran and Angola concluded their World Cup campaigns by playing to a hard-fought 1-1 draw. VOA Sports Editor Parke Brewer was at Wednesdays Group D match in Leipzig and has a report.
At the start of the day Angola, in its World Cup debut, had only a slim chance of reaching the second round ahead of Mexico on goal difference. While Mexico lost to group winner Portugal, 2-1, Angola was held to a 1-1 draw by Iran.
Angola broke on top in the 60th minute on a header from Flavio off a long crossing pass from the right sideline. The Iranians equalized on a corner kick in the 75th minute off the head of Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh.
Iran's Croatian coach Branko Ivankovic was happy with his team's performance
"I want to congratulate my players, because they tried to win," he said. "They tried to do everything they could during the 90 minutes, but they did not have luck. They put their heart and body on the field, and they created more opportunities than the Angola team, and I think that we deserved the win today."
Angola's coach, Luis De Oliveira Goncalves said he thought the 1-1 tie was a just result.
"I must admit that the draw was fair, because if you look at the performance of the two teams, neither of them deserved to win this match," he said. "It was also very warm. There was a blazing sun, which was not good for our players. But I would like to congratulate Mexico and Portugal because they deserved to go to the second phase. They were the best teams of our group, and we have got to recognize that the two best teams of our group are going to the knockout phase."
Angola and Iran are finished at this World Cup. Portugal wins Group D with nine points from three wins, while Mexico finished second with four points after a (3-1) win over Iran and a (0-0) draw against Angola. Angola was third in the group with two points and Iran had one point.