Carlos Queiroz’s Islamic Republic of Iran may have exited at the 2018 group stage, but it’s hard to argue the tournament wasn’t a success for Team Melli, while it’s equally difficult to contest that goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand wasn’t their star man, the AFC website wrote.
The Persepolis shot-stopper shone as Iran edged past Morocco 1-0 in their opener and he then produced another string of excellent saves in a narrow 1-0 loss to Spain, when only a fortuitous Diego Costa goal got the better of the big custodian.
A goal down in their third game against Portugal, Iran conceded a penalty to hand Cristiano Ronaldo the chance to all but seal a place in the next round. In a moment Beiranvand would later describe as the biggest of his life, he dived to his left to deny one of the greatest players of all time and keep his country’s hopes alive.
Karim Ansarifard levelled in stoppage time before Mehdi Taremi missed a glorious chance to seal qualification to the Round of 16 for the first time. It was not to be for the Iranians, but Beiranvand departed Russia having left his mark on the world stage.
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