The trend continued and despite being viewed as one of the favorites to win the 2019 Asian Cup, Iran was defeated 3-0 by Japan on 28 January in the Asian Cup semifinals.
It was painful and it still hurts for Iranian football supporters.
Looking back there are a lot of things to say and of course there are many fans who are talking about the what ifs and the shouldas, wouldas, and couldas.
Sardar Azmoun came close to putting Iran in the lead in the first half but was denied on a fine kick save.
But what is most disappointing is how Japan took the lead in the second half.
A foul was committed, and the Iranian defenders were expecting a whistle and were ready to contest the call.
Instead, the referee allowed Japan to play the advantage and the Iranians were caught sleeping as Japan took the lead.
The Iranian players looked flustered after falling behind but still came close to equalizing minutes later when a free kick from Alireza Jahanbakhsh was pushed away by Japanese keeper Gonda.
Things took a turn for the worse when Japan was awarded a penalty after a handball from Morteza Pouraliganji.
This time Alireza Beiranvand couldn’t save Iran like he did against Portugal and Oman. Japan was confident leading 2-0 and the writing was on the wall for the Iranians.
It was only a two-goal lead, but Iran heavily relies on game script and there would be no stopping the Samurai Blue.
Japan put on the finishing touches in stoppage time to make the score 3-0.
It is a scene that I have grown tired of from watching every Asian Cup since 2000. Every four years, I along with millions of other Iranians, hope to see Iran finally lift the Asian Cup trophy.
But despite being one of the giants of Asian football, the drought continues for Iran as it has been forty-three years since Team Melli last won the Asian Cup.
Just like previous tournaments, a majority of Iranian football fans are stuck trying to look for answers as to what went wrong.
Football fans can think all they want but we all know that overthinking can make us go crazy.
Iran fell behind and wasn’t able to score. In some matches you have good luck and in other matches things don’t go your way.
Unfortunately for Iran, this has been a reoccurring theme in the Asian Cup.