World Cup Profiles – Group F: Iran

5 Jun

irIran topped their qualifying group and are the best rated FIFA team in Asia (#37). Where will they end up in a tough group like this?

Football_Federation_Islamic_Republic_of_Iran

This will be Iran’s 4th World Cup, their most recent qualification coming in 2006. Though they’ve never made it past the Group Stage, their best result came in 1998 when they reached the third position of their group after beating the United States. It remains their only World Cup win to date.

I personally have a lot of feels about head coach Carlos Queiroz (he’s a former Real Madrid manager), and I have a feeling it will transfer over into finding myself really pulling for Iran in the Group Stage. He turned them around in qualifying. After starting poorly, they ended up topping their group.

Their strength will come from a strong defense (I feel like a broken record at this point. Can you tell I was a defender?). Additionally, Javad Nekounam will be the inspiration they need in the dressing room. He’s their captain and, at 33 years old, has 135 caps. They also have Ashkan Dejagah, who came up through the German youth system and plays at Fulham. He most recently played for Germany’s U-21 team in 2009, winning the European Championship, before deciding to play for his birth country of Iran at the senior level.

Reza Ghoochannejhad is Dutch-trained, playing for their youth squads until 2007, and scored 3 goals in five games during qualifying. He scored 8 goals in his first 10 games for Iran and together Dejagah will be the threat Iran hopes the other teams can’t handle.
Iran Provisional squad (Will be updated when final squads announced)

Head Coach: Carlos Queiroz (Portuguese)

Goalkeepers: Daniel Davari (Eintracht Braunschweig), Alireza Haghighi (Sporting Covilha, on loan from Rubin Kazan), Rahman Ahmadi (Sepahan), Sousha Makani (Foolad Khuzestan)

Defenders: Khosro Heidari (Esteghlal), Hossein Mahini (Persepolis), Steven Beitashour (Vancouver Whitecaps), Pejman Montazeri (Umm Salal), Jalal Hosseini (Persepolis), Amir Sadeghi (Esteghlal), Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh (Zob Ahan), Ahmad Alenemeh (Naft), Hashem Beikzadeh (Esteghlal), Ehsan Hajsafi (Sepahan), Mehrdad Pooladi (Persepolis)

Midfielders: Javad Nekounam (Al Kuwait), Andranik Teymourian (Esteghlal), Reza Haghighi (Persepolis), Ghasem Hadadifar (Zob Ahan), Bakhtiyar Rahmani (Foolad), Alireza Jahanbakhsh (NEC Nijmegen), Ashkan Dejagah (Fulham)

Forwards: Masoud Shojaei (Las Palmas), Mohammad Reza Khalatbari (Persepolis), Mehdi Sharifi (Sepahan), Reza Ghoochannejhad (Charlton), Karim Ansarifard (Persepolis, on loan at Tractor Sazi), Sardar Azmoun (Rubin Kazan)
For additional information on Iran, including World Cup 2014 match schedule & history check out these links.

– mygypsyspirit

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