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Sunday, 29 October, 2000, 10:21 GMT
Iranian inquest into Cup defeat
Park Ji-Sung and Mehrdad Minavand
South Korea knocked out Iran with a golden goal
Iran's parliament have demanded a formal explanation from sports officials after the national football side, favourites to win the Asian Cup, crashed out in the quarter-finals.

"For Iranians, sports - and especially football - is just as important as the defence of their territory or their beliefs," parliamentary speaker Mehdi Karubi said in a speech opening parliament's legislative session.

"The national pride was damaged," he said, calling on sports officials to "provide an explanation because the Iranian people do not understand this disorganisation." Other MPs also denounced the loss.

Coach Jalal Talebi resigned after Iran was dramatically dismissed by South Korea with a golden goal from Lee Dong-Gook booking the Koreans a place in the semi-finals.

Papers have been calling for high-level resignations and the mainstream press got into the act with the conservative Kayhan International even blasting reformist President Mohammad Khatami.

"One of the slogans of the Khatami administration, the oft-repeated one, is paying attention to the needs of the country's youth," it said.

"The defeat of our national team in Lebanon may be cited as an instance that reflects that not much was done toward the realisation of the slogan."

It said that the failure of officials, other than Talebi, to resign was evidence they were "procrastinating as usual."

South Korea went on to lose in the semi-finals to Saudi Arabia, who will play Japan in the Asian Cup final.

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See also:

27 Oct 00 |  Football
Asia's politcal football
27 Oct 00 |  Football
Tanzania face football ban
26 Oct 00 |  Football
Japan and Saudi through to final
23 Oct 00 |  Football
South Korea and China advance
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