Iran: Asia’s top-ranked team hoping for a good show at World Cup | Qatar World Cup 2022 News

Iran are hoping to reach the round of 16 for the first time despite some turbulence heading into the tournament.

Previous appearances at the World Cup: 1978,1998, 2006, 2014, 2018
Securities: 0
Better finish: Group stage
World Cup record: W2, D4, L9
Goals: 9
Biggest win: 2-1 v USA (1998)
key player: Mehdi Taremi
Ranking: 20
Fixtures: England (November 21), Wales (November 25), USA (November 29)

Iran’s national football team, Team Melli, is facing tough matches in the World Cup. But despite a hectic few months off the pitch in preparation, the players remain hopeful of making tournament history.

In Group B, Iran will face England, Wales and the United States, all ranked higher than them.

At 20, Iran is the first Asian team in the FIFA rankings, ahead of Japan and South Korea.

“I think Iran and Japan are the most likely to be among the Asian teams capable of getting past the World Cup group stage,” said Iran’s new coach, Portugal’s Carlos Queiroz, to the Iranian media in October.

The most prominent Iranian player currently is 30-year-old Mehdi Taremi, a striker who plays for Portuguese club Porto. Another key player is Sardar Azmoun, a striker who plays for Bayer Leverkusen in Germany. Azmoun was injured while playing for Leverkusen in early October, but doctors say they are optimistic he will recover by the time Iran take the field in Qatar.

The Iranian team will go down in history if they come out of the group stage, a feat they have never achieved despite coming close on several occasions.

Also trained by Queiroz in 2018, Team Melli narrowly lost to Spain and Portugal.

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - GROUPSFor this World Cup, things could improve slightly for Iran who topped the qualifying group with 25 points and a goal difference of +11.

The team was then coached by Croatian Dragan Skočić, who achieved significant records despite only being at the helm for about two and a half years. He has spent most of that time unable to coach due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Skočić has won 15 of his 18 games as head coach. During this period, Iran scored 40 goals and conceded only eight, achieved their fastest ever qualification for the World Cup and the coach had the longest winning streak among all the head coaches in the history of the Melli team.

But disagreements with several players, including star striker Taremi, in addition to problems with federation officials meant that Skočić’s time at Team Melli was finally cut short when he was sacked in early July.

After controversial elections to the football federation, new football chief Mehdi Taj – who has faced criticism in Iranian media for alleged financial corruption – opted to bring Queiroz back.

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