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FIFA World Cup 2014: Iranians 'proud' after Argentina heartbreak, say they 'only lost to Lionel Messi'

Sunday, 22 June 2014 - 5:41am IST | Place: Tehran (Iran) | Agency: AFP

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Passionate Iranian fans held their heads up Saturday after a last minute goal from four-time world player of the year Lionel Messi, saw their beloved Team Melli lose 1-0 to Argentina.

But they also felt "robbed" after Iran were denied what looked like a clear penalty when forward Ashkan Dejagah was brought down by Argentine defender Pablo Zabaleta in the penalty box.

"We were robbed," cried an overwhelmed Atieh, dressed in Iran's national shirt.

"That was a definite penalty kick." said the State television's commentator, commentating live to millions of fans across the country.

He was not kind to Serbian referee Milorad Mazic: "He got on our nerves."

Ehsan, with a face covered in an Iran flag, chipped in: "We played wonderfully, and against one of the best teams in the world. In the end, we only lost to Messi."

The Argentine wizard shattered Iran after 90 minutes of effective defense and counter attacks, with a brilliant curling shot into the top left hand corner.

Some people in Tehran took to their cars, honking horns and waving the national flag, in a show of support.

"This is a proud moment in Iran's footballing history," said Negar, who like her friends had plastered a small Iran flag on her face.

Reza, while expressing pride over the 1-0 defeat, blamed what he termed as poor management at Iran's Football Federation.

"Our boys were perfect. It is a shame that they did not have a proper preparation," he said, referring to only a few friendly matches prior to the tournament, in part due to lack of funds.

"And now they can't even extend (Carlos) Queiroz's contract," he added.

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