News ID: 195107
Published: 0237 GMT June 19, 2017

Australia in talks over Iran friendly

Australia in talks over Iran friendly
Iran and Australia last met on November 29, 1997 in Melbourne, Australia, when a late drama in the game saw Iran overcome a two-goal deficit and make the final score 2-2 which led to nationwide celebration as Iran qualified for the 1998 World Cup in France after 20 years.

Australia could be set to face former rivals Iran for the first time in more than 20 years, with discussions taking place aimed at staging a high-profile friendly in Australia before the 2018 World Cup.

Football Federation Australia are deep in negotiations with their Iranian counterparts to play a senior international between the two nations for the first time since the famous 1997 World Cup qualifier at the MCG. (Australia were 2-0 up and looked like it was headed to France until serial pest Peter Hore ran onto the field, cut up Iran's goal net and halted all its momentum late in the second half and Iran eventually managed to score two late goals to make 2-2 on the night. In the first leg, Australia had scored an impressive 1-1 draw in front of more than 100,000 at the Azadi Stadium), The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

A deal is yet to be done but it is understood talks are at an advanced stage. The friendly would be held in the March international window in what both federations hope will be a key part of their preparations for Russia 2018.

FFA chief executive David Gallop confirmed that negotiations were taking place.

"We are talking to a number of excellent football nations from Asia and other confederations. Iran is one of them," Gallop said. "The anniversary of that heartbreaking night at the MCG is a point to highlight. Many people, including me, remember it as one of the most devastating moments in Australian sport. It would be great to play a strong team in preparation for Russia but talks are at an early stage."

Iran proved one of the biggest drawcards for fans at the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia, boasting the second highest average attendance for a visiting team, second only to Japan. Despite moving to the Asian Football Confederation in 2006, Iran is one of the only major nations in the region Australia has not played in a senior international.



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