Iran were too strong for the CommBank Pararoos, with the tournament favourites finishing 3-1 victors - however, not before Australia scored their first-ever goal against the world no3.
It was a picturesque day in Melbourne and the crowd showed up to match, with strong contingents in the stands supporting both teams. Fans competed to be as loud as possible throughout the match, adding to the atmosphere.
Coach Kai Lammert made a number of changes from the starting seven that lined up against Thailand. Notably, the match marked a debut for Christian Bitsikas.
Iran piled on the pressure early. Captain David Barber was forced into several important saves in the first half, the best of which was a strong dive to his left in the 7th minute.
However, the pressure eventually told. A well-worked short corner opened up space for Shamseddin Shahbazikeivanani, whose powerful shot was too hot for Barber to handle.
Iran doubled their lead minutes later through Moslem Mehrabian, who was able to find space in a box after low, hard cross to place a shot past Barber.
The CommBank Pararoos were not without opportunities of their own in the first half. A well-worked opportunity forced Iran into clearing from a corner, and from the corner came a free kick in a dangerous position. Benny Roche’s free kick, however, could not make it past Iran’s wall.
Iran scored their third through their main man, Abbas Torabi. He was a constant threat throughout the game and made it count in the 26th minute, connecting powerfully with a short corner and making it 3-0 for Iran at half time.
There was plenty of work to do for the CommBank Pararoos after the break. A substitution was made at half time – Jeremy Boyce for the debutante Bitskas. The substitute would soon make his presence felt.
It was Boyce that gave Australia hope. A powerful solo run from midfield left several defenders in his wake, and his right-footed finish into the bottom corner of the net was sublime. The crowd rose to their feet, celebrating the team's first-ever goal against the CP football powerhouse, and the team rose with them.
Suddenly, it was Iran who were under pressure. They continued to threaten on the counter – Barber made a sharp save onto the crossbar, and then later a diving 1v1 save to keep Shahbazikeivanani from scoring a brace – but it was the CommBank Pararoos who were dominating possession.
However, it wasn’t enough. Iran showed all of their smarts to keep the CommBank Pararoos at bay. Nonetheless, it was an extremely positive performance from the team who will now turn their attention to the rest of the tournament.
Australia: 1 (Jeremy Boyce 39')
Iran: 3 (Shamseddin Shahbazikeivanani 14', Moslem Mehrabian 18', Abbas Torabi 26')
Australia: 1. Christian Tsangas (Benjamin Sutton 31'), 7. David Barber (c), 2. Benjamin John Roche (Connor Bunce 38'), 4. Alessandro La Verghetta, 8. Christian Bitsikas (11. Jeremy Boyce 31'), 9. Luc Launder, 14. Augustine Murphy , 13. Taj Lynch (10. Connor Bunce 46').
Substitutes not used: 3. Kaylan Van Heer, 5. Daniel Campbell, 6. Joshua Beekes.
Iran: 6. Benham Arandi, 7. Moslem Mehrabian, 8. Hassan Safari (c) (13. Armi Mahdi Rahim Abadi 31'), 9. Shamseddin Shahbazikeivanani, 10. Torabi Abbas, 11. Amin Rezaeibezminabadi (2. Yaser Rostami 29'), 12. Vahid Navvab.
Unused Substitutes: 1. Babak Safarikourabbasloo, 3. Hadi Khosheghbal, 4. Shahab Rahimikandoleh, 5. Mahdi Shokoohi Movaffagh, 14. Amirhossein Ghorbani