After Brazil kicked off the tournament with a veritable exhibition of flowing football, Portugal were also looking to impress against Iran in the opening match in Group B, but it was not to be. Yes, they got the win they needed, but their Iranian opponents certainly proved they are no longer here just to make up the numbers.
Alan tested Iranian keeper Hamed Ghorbanpour as early as the opening minute, and a mere two minutes later he was on the score-sheet. Iran were far from daunted, however, and produced a spectacular equaliser, with Ali Naderi sending a free-kick into the top corner. 1-1 at the end of the first period was hardly the start that the European champions had been expecting.
At the restart, Portugal picked up where they had left off with another goal from Alan two minutes in, but once again, Jose Mateus' men could not hold on to the lead. Rodrigues' aerial challenge was a tad too physical, and Moslem Mesigar coolly slotted home the resultant penalty. Fortunately for Portugal, that man Alan was on hand to score his, and the team's third, but still Marco Octavio's team would not lie down and accept defeat, and Faroogh Dara's equaliser showed just how far Iran have come in the space of 12 months, to the delight of the Brazilian crowd who were rooting for the underdog.
Neither team could take advantage of the three minutes of extra time, and it was up to Belchior to give the European champions the two points for the win on penalties.