Iran were undefeated during qualification, but they will do well to win a game in Russia.
Iran World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide
By far the best qualifiers in Asia, Iran never looked in danger of not making the 2018 World Cup – the first time in their history they have achieved such a feat. Unbeaten in 10 games in the final group stage and conceding only twice, Carlos Queiroz has developed a well-organised, well-oiled and well-drilled machine. Now it is all about taking the team to the next level.
Related: World Cup Stadiums
Key Moments in Qualifying
The opening game of the final round, in front of almost 80,000 fans in Tehran, and Iran are frustrated by Qatar until Reza Ghoochannejhad breaks the deadlock in the fourth minute of injury time.
A 1-0 win over South Korea in Tehran puts Iran in control of the group as a masterclass from Queiroz helps produce a performance that is far more dominant than the scoreline suggests.
Back-to-back 1-0 wins over Qatar and China in the space of five days means that the football-mad nation is on the brink of Russia.
The inevitable is confirmed with a 2-0 victory over Uzbekistan and there is dancing on the streets of Tehran.
Iran World Cup Group
Iran World Cup Friendlies
Iran’s first 2018 friendly against Libya was cancelled on the 14th of March. Three days later they play Sierra Leone. Tunisia beckons on the 23rd of March, and then Algeria on the 27th. On the 18th of May they will play Turkey before finishing up against Lithuania on the 8th of June.
- 14th March – Libya (Cancelled)
- 17th March – Sierra Leone (won 1-0)
- 23rd March – Tunisia (lost 1-0)
- 27th March – Algeria (won 2-1)
- 18th May – Turkey
- 8th June – Lithuania
Related: World Cup Friendlies
Iran World Cup Fixtures
Related: World Cup Fixtures
Carlos Queiroz, age 64 (01.03.53)
In place for six years, he has used his considerable experience to get the team where it is today. He has qualified three different national teams for four World Cups: South Africa, Portugal and now Iran – where he is beloved by fans. Next summer could be his biggest test and potential success.
Sardar Azmoun can lay claim to be the best striker in Asia at the moment, while Reza Ghoochannejhad has been scoring goals for fun with Heerenveen in the Dutch top flight.
Mehdi Taremi has his critics at home but the striker often pops up with a goal when needed. Veteran defender Jalal Hosseini has over a century of appearances and is still going strong.
Captain Javad Nekounam bowed out just before the qualification campaign started, while former Premier League midfielder Andranik Teymourian has not appeared this year.
Aged 21, Saeid Ezatolahi is being hailed as the “Persian Pogba” and the Russian-based midfielder has all the attributes to become a real star.
Iran World Cup Squad
Preliminary World Cup Squad –
Goalkeepers – Alireza Beiranvand, Hossein Hosseini, Mohammad Mazaheri
Defenders – Rouzbeh Cheshmi, Vouria Ghafouri, Jalal Hosseini, Milad Mohammadi, Pejman Montazeri, Morteza Pouraliganji, Ramin Rezaeian
Iran World Cup Injuries
We will update you on any Iranian injuries here.
Related: World Cup TV Schedule
The Unanswered Questions
Will Iran be able to score goals?
Despite having such a talented attacker such as Sardar Azmoun, goals did not exactly flow freely in qualification. To get out of the group, he is going to need support.
Who will step up when the pressure is on?
Iran has long had powerful midfielders, both physically and mentally, but the present crop is younger and more technical. With the team’s stroll to the World Cup it remains to be seen who will emerge as a leader when the pressure is really on.
Will preparation help or hinder?
While Japan and South Korea regularly play some of the world’s biggest sides, Iran struggle to attract the same calibre of friendly opposition. Carlos Queiroz has openly called upon the national federation to pull out all the stops to get the team ready.
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