In two weeks time , Team Melli will be facing Singapore in Azadi in the quest of qualifying for Asian Cup 2011 in Doha , Qatar.
Team Melli has by far the best record in Asia in the qualifying rounds with an impressive record of scoring 119 goals in 42 matches ( average 2.83 goals per match(.
However , the initial Team Melli record was not impressive , as Iran failed to qualify for the Final tournament on its first participation in 1959 when it faced Israel , India and Pakistan in the preliminary round. This was the one and only failure of Team Melli in the Asian Cup qualifiers.
In 1968 , Iran was the host nation , and did not need to play the qualification stages , in 1972 Iran qualified as the champions while in 1976 Iran was again the host and defending champions so no qualification matches were required , so was the case for Asian cup 1980.
The first Asian Cup qualification for Iran after these long years was in 1984 where Team Melli defeated Bangladesh 5-0 in Jakarta , Indonesia. This was after 27 years absence from qualifying rounds. A record that has not been matched by any team.
In 16 years of competition Since 1984 when Iran was required to compete in the qualification rounds , it first defeat did not occur until 2000 , when Team Melli lost by a solitary goal against Bahrain.
121 players represented Team Melli in the Asian Cup Qualification rounds. 44 different players have managed to score at least one goal in these qualifying rounds.
The holder of the highest number of games and goals is Ali Daei , the current Team Melli coach. Daei played in 18 matches while scoring 24 goals ( and avaerage of 1.33 goals per game).