Country Report – Iran

    A look at the country’s demographics, football history and its squad status prior to the Qatar World Cup 2022.

    Number of inhabitants: approx. 85 million.

    Continent: Asia

    Confederation: AFC

    National Football Association: FFIRI

    Number of members: unknown. (?% of total population)

    International trophies won: 3x AFC Asian Cup, 3x Asian Games

    Best World Cup result: 5x qualification (group stage) in 1978, 1998, 2006, 2014 and 2018.

    Key Players

    In the past: Karimi, Daei, Bagheri, Mahdavikia, Nekounam.

    Key current players: Mehdi Taremi, Sardar Azmoun, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Majid Hosseini.

    Coach, formation and possible lineup

    Coach: Carlos Queiroz. (since 2022)

    Typical formation: 4-1-4-1

    Possible lineup:

    • GK: Alireza Beiranvand (Persepolis FC)
    • LB: Ehsan Hajsafi (AEK Athene)
    • LCB: Majid Hosseini (Kayserispor)
    • RCB: Hossein Kanaani (Al-Ahli)
    • RB: Sadegh Moharrami (Dinamo Zagreb)
    • DM: Saeid Ezatolahi (Vejle)
    • LW: Mehdi Taremi (Porto)
    • RW: Alireza Jahanbakhsh (Feyenoord)
    • CM: Ahmad Nourollahi (FC Shabab)
    • CM: Saman Ghoddos (Brentford)
    • ST: Sardar Azmoun (Leverkusen)

    Age Report

    Players aged 25 or under in the current lineup: 0

    Players aged 32 or over in the current lineup: 1

    One player in this lineup will (most likely) be playing their last World Cup this year: Ehsan Hajsafi.

    There are no players in this lineup that can play (at least) two more.

    The remaining 10 players could play in one or two more World Cups.

    Youngest player: Majid Hosseini, born 20 June 1996 (26)

    Oldest player: Ehsan Hajsafi, born 25 February 1990 (32)

    Average squad age: 28.3

    World Cup Qatar – Group B


    Monday 21 November England vs Iran

    Friday 25 November Wales vs Iran

    Tuesday 29 November Iran vs USA

    Our view:

    Iran played 18 games in their qualification for the World Cup in Qatar, scoring 49 and conceding 8. Mind you, 24 of those goals scored came from their two confrontations with Cambodia. In the other 16 games though, Iran only lost twice and drew once. Those are some decent numbers. However, in Qatar they will face opponents of a different caliber. England (5), Wales (19) and the USA (14) are all above Iran (22) in the FIFA ranking. What Iran has got going for them is the fact that they have a system they rarely divert from. Though that could also be considered a weakness, it can be said that each and every player in the selection will know all the ins and outs of the playing system. In any case, Iran is the underdog in this group and has nothing to lose. A good opening performance against England and who knows what will happen next.

    Prediction: Group stage exit

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