#BBCtrending: Iranians celebrate 'dullest' World Cup game
- 17 June 2014
Would you hold a street party for what some are calling the "dullest game" of World Cup 2014?
By near universal agreement of the football commentariat, Iran's opening World Cup game against Nigeria on Monday was not the most exciting of matches. The match ended in a goalless draw and was met by a fairly negative response on social media due to its lack of goals and action. But that hasn't stopped fans across Iran taking to the streets in order to celebrate. In cities as far and wide as Rasht and Shiraz, as well as the capital Tehran, fans have been celebrating publicly and posting about it on social media. People are talking about how they sounded their car horns, cheered and shouted in public.
But why such a public display over a result that was neither necessarily significant nor surprising for the Iranian national team? Some put the celebrations down to low expectations or bad results historically for Iran in the World Cup. Out of the 10 games Iran have played in the finals, this is only the fourth they didn't lose and the first time they got a clean sheet. It is also their first time they have taken a point in their opening World Cup match.
Imam on twitter posted: "I think we have made a new world record because I think we are the only nation who celebrates its scoreless draw!" Another user named Mohammed said: "I was just about to cry when I saw my people celebrating their national teams tie with Nigeria. How miserable and contempt we are!"
There is though, an underlying social factor, according to BBC Persian's Sina Motalebi, who is part of the BBC's tweet translation service @viaBBC, which has been tracking Twitter comments. "Public celebrations or demonstrations of joy are heavily restricted in Iran, so people use any occasion they can find," he says. Moderate football triumphs, election results or the traditional celebrations at the end of Persian New Year allow Iranians to get out and celebrate joyfully, in a country where the government usually won't encourage or allow this. "It's not necessarily because people found a reason in the result to celebrate, but rather more because people planned to get out after the game and they didn't find any reason not to," he says.
Iran have at least two matches left in the World Cup, with plenty more to potentially celebrate. But it seems that win, lose or draw, some Iranians will be on the streets making the most of the occasion regardless of what happens.
Reporting by Benjamin Zand