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Soccer: Iran and Costa Rica tie in friendly

TEHRAN, Jan. 30 (Mehr News Agency) -- Wednesday's friendly between Iran and Costa Rica at Tehran's Azadi stadium ended in a goalless draw.

The Iranian national football team met the Costa Rican team for its final preparation before the start of the Asian region qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

The Iranian team scored no goals in its three previous World Cup qualifier warmups and the dry spell continued on Wednesday.

The Iranian players played well in the first half but missed several precious opportunities to score. Iran's substitutes, brought on in the second half, were unable to breathe life into the team.

As a matter of fact, the Iranian team's form actually deteriorated in the second half.

Replacements Jabbari, Khalili, Meydavoudi, Asadi, Shojaei, and Shakouri were unable to save the day for Iran.

The draw with Costa Rica is a wakeup call for the national team coaches. They now have to focus on next week's crucial match against Syria -- Iran's first in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers.

Iran will compete against Kuwait, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates in Group Five of Asian region.

For the first time in Iranian football history, an international match was played sans spectators because a broken water pipe made the stadium's lavatories unusable.

The 100,000-seater Azadi stadium, the main venue for Iran's international matches, has been unusable for more than a week and the technical problems could not be fixed in time for the Costa Rica game.

... Payvand News - 01/31/08 ... --

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