Saturday, June 6, 1998 Published at 01:55 GMT 02:55 UK
World: Middle East
Football fever in Iran
Iranian fans will be making themselves heard at France 98
It is hardly surprising that the Iranians are getting restless.
Iran were knocked out after the first round in 1978 and since then, the country has faced international isolation as a result of the Islamic revolution.
Their qualification for France 98 has been impressive, if only for the scorelines.
Iranians, male and female, are fanatical in their support for the national team.
After losing to Japan in a play-off, they went on to beat Terry Venables' Australia and earn the right to take on the world's greatest footballing nations.
But preparations for the finals have been fraught with internal wrangling and just a few weeks before their first match Croatian coach Tomislav Ivic was sacked and replaced by Jalal Talebi.
The nation has always been passionate about football and now the fans have even more reason to be enthusiastic. They are not bothered that Iran are complete outsiders at 500-1. The players are their idols.
Sports reporter Mahin Gordji has argued her way into matches and said: "They don't allow any women in Iran to enter the stadium. It is terrible."
She is one of many football fans, male and female, who cannot wait for the World Cup to start.
Iran are unlikely to survive past the first round again, faced with group matches against Yugoslavia, the USA and Germany. But their fanatical support will be on display for however long they stay in France.