All You Need To Know About Iran National Team Ahead Of FIFA World Cup 2018
It would be a Herculean task to defeat the favourites like Spain & Portugal, but “Team Melli” will be looking to qualify for the 2nd round & to create history in the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Russia. The side managed by the veteran Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz was in great form, became the first Asian side to book the tickets of Russia. They remained unbeaten in the qualifying group and had a clear 7 points gap of group runners Korea Republic.
● Squad Analysis :
Alireza Beiranvand, who plays for Iranian side Persepolis, will be automatic choice for the role of goalkeeping. He was in the run of ‘Best Goalkeepers’ being 9th jointly in 2017. He is famous for his ability to make long throws. In the 2015 AFC Champions League Round of 16, on 20 May 2015, against Al Ahli, Beiranvand made a throw that reached 60m. Besides that, he is famous for aerial duels, shot stopping ability and acrobatic dives.
Besides him, Mohammad Rashid Mazaheri of Zob Ahan and Hossein Hosseini of Esteghlal may be selected for the World Cup.
○ Defense :
Eyes will be on veteran Jalal Hosseini. The Persepolis man, has played 114 matches for Iran. Hosseini joined Team Melli in July 2007, he played in all four of Iran’s matches and scored Iran’s first goal in its opening match at the 2007 Asian Cup against Uzbekistan. He was in the Iran Team of 2014 World Cup. In October 2016, Hosseini was selected as one of the best three defenders in the World during 2018 World Cup qualification games by France Football magazine. Morteza Pouraliganji will probably be his partner in the stopper position. Whereas Ramin Rezaiein and Mohammadreza Khanzadeh will be as the right and left back. Ramin started his career as a right-back but due to his strong dribbling, play making, crossing and great speed, he is often used as a winger as well. Rezaeian was Carlos Queiroz’s first choice on the right side of Team Melli’s defense in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification matches.
Ehsan Hajsafi, Saeed Ezatolahi & Ali Karimi probably will be given the charges of midfield. Hajsafi is regarded as a utility player, being able to play as left midfielder, left-back, defensive midfielder, and winger. In 2009, Hajsafi was selected by Goal as the most promising player in Asian football. Hajsafi currently playing in Greek side Olympiacos. He has played 91 matches for Iran so far.
Iranian fans will be Ezatolahi in the coming World Cup. The lad who was in Atletico Madrid Academy is currently playing in Russian side Amkar Perm. He became the youngest goal scorer for the Iranian national team at the age of 19 years and 42 days. Ali Karimi who has an experienced for playing in such big clubs like Dinamo Zagreb, Lokomotiva, currently playing for Iranian side Sepahan.
○ Forward :
Sardar Azmoun – The 23-year-old plays his club football at Rubin Kazan, will be main man for Iran to score some important goals. He has already scored 23 goals in 31 matches for Iran in his short career. Azmoun has been praised for his aerial ability, creativity, and bursts of acceleration. He has been referred to as a young Zlatan Ibrahimovic and has also been called the ‘Iranian Messi’ by mainly British media.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Captain Seyed Ashkan Dejagah will be in the wings. Dejagah who has represented Germany & eventually won U-21 European Championshipfor Germany in youth level has played for such big clubs like Hertha BSC, Fulham and Wolfsburg. He is currently playing for Nottingham Forest. Jahanbaksh who has scored 36 matches for Iran, has netted 4 goals for the nation. He is currently playing for Dutch side AZ Alkmar. Iran will be more confident as Jahanbakhsh has become the highesr goalscorer of Dutch League scoring 21 goals in 33 matches. Jahanbakhsh has been compared to Iranian legend Mehdi Mahdavikia. He has been praised for his assisting ability and has been described as a technically gifted player who is able to use both feet.
Besides them, Queiroz has a great backup option of Reza Ghoochannejhad, who is currently playing in Dutch side SC Heerenveen. He has scored 17 times in 41 matches for the nation. Ghoochannejhad also has represented the Netherlands from 2003 to 2007 in youth level.
● Probable Team & formation :
•Ashkan Dejagah ( Captain )
●Team Ratings :
○ Goalkeeping – 6/10
○ Defence – 6.5/10
○ Midfield – 5.5/10
○ Striking Zone – 7/10
○ Overall Rating: 6.3/10
● Fixtures :
○ 15 June 2018 – Iran V/S Morocco ( Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg )
○ 20 June 2018 – Iran V/S Spain
( Kazan Arena, Kazan )
○ 25 June 2018 – Iran V/S Portugal
( Mordovia Arena, Saransk )
●Past Record :
Iran has managed only one victory against mighty USA in 1998 World Cup and will be looking for a miracle in their 5th attempt in World Cup football. In 2014 World Cup, Iran’s journey was over in the group stage. They drew against Nigeria but lost against Argentina & Bosnia-Herzegovina.
●Recent Form :
Iran Football Team is still in good shape after the great performance in World Cup Qualification Round. They’ve recently defeated Sierra Leone & mighty Algeria where they have lost against Tunisia. Iran will be playing against Uzbekistan, Turkey & Lithuania for the preparation of World Cup.
●Coach’s Quote :
Quieroz – “We want to get through to the second round, but that obviously going to be a very difficult task. Everyone’s agreed that we’re in the hardest group at the World Cup, as we’ll be coming up against two title contenders in Spain and Portugal. But our duty is to go and improve on past performances and to keep making progress, not just at Russia 2018 but at the upcoming Asian competitions and the next World Cup qualifiers. The objective is to go through to the knockout phase, though we need to prepare the right way if we want to do that.”
● Writer’s Take :
It seems like Iran will be participating in World Cup being well prepared and they’ll be obviously looking for a miracle. Yes the performance isn’t everything, you need litte bit of luck as well for qualifying in the 2nd round. They will be looking to win the 1st match against Morocco and then they’ll be seeking some good luck against the mighty Spain and Portugal. Iran’s striking line is too good with the addition of wonder boy Azmoun, top scorer of Dutch league Jahanbaksh & veteran Ghoochannejhad & Dejagah. Queiroz will be looking to ease past the opponents with their heavy striking force.