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Iran Squad Announced for the Qatar World Cup 2022

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Iran is among the few teams of the 2022 FIFA World Cup who confirmed their 26-man squad list for the event that is happening in Qatar pretty late or better yet quite later. Unlike most of the teams, Iran’s head coach, Carlos Queiroz didn’t announce his preferred players via a scheduled press conference but by issuing a statement on the country’s federation’s official website.

Now speaking of Iran’s stats on the FIFA tournament, the nation’s debut in the World Cup was in the year 1978 and since then, the country has been at four editions of the tournament; Qatar being their sixth and third in a row. However, Team Melli has never made it past the group stages in all of their FIFA appearances.

So they definitely would want to do better this time around but what players are Iran bringing to Qatar? Turns out there’s more to the country’s squad selection process than just calling up the names who contributed more in the qualifiers. Some players have objections from the government side for speaking out against the Tehran regime, a national outcry that happened after the murder of Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini a month ago. Most of the players wanting to criticize the government however have made it to the official list. Take a look at the names who have been officially green-lit to head to Qatar.

Iran Squad To Play In FIFA World Cup 2022

GoalkeeperAmir AbedzadehPonferradina (SPA)291
GoalkeeperAlireza BeiranvandPersepolis (IRA)3051
GoalkeeperHossein HosseiniEsteghlal (IRA)305
GoalkeeperPayam NiazmandPersepolis (IRA)271
DefenderRouzbeh CheshmiEsteghlal (IRA)3418
DefenderEhsan HajsafiAEK Athens (GRE)30121
DefenderMajid HosseiniKayserispor (TUR)2618
DefenderAbolfazl JalaliEsteghlal (IRA)252
DefenderHossein KanaaniAl Ahli (QAT)2734
DefenderShojae KhalilzadehAl Ahli (QAT)2524
DefenderMilad MohammadiAEK Athens (GRE)2845
DefenderSadegh MoharramiDinamo Zagreb (CRO)2721
DefenderMorteza PouraliganjiPersepolis (IRA)2645
DefenderRamin RezaeianSepahan (IRA)452
MidfielderVahid AmiriPersepolis (IRA)3467
MidfielderSaeid EzatolahiVejle (DEN)2647
MidfielderSaman GhoddosBrentford (ENG)2933
MidfielderAli GholizadehCharleroi (BEL)2626
MidfielderAlireza JahanbakhshFeyenoord (NED)2964
MidfielderAli KarimiKayserispor (TUR)2813
MidfielderAhmad NoorollahiShabab Al Ahli (UAE)2926
MidfielderMehdi TorabiPersepolis (IRA)2835
ForwardKarim AnsarifardOmonia Nicosia (CYP)3294
ForwardSardar AzmounBayer Leverkusen (GER)2765
ForwardMehdi TaremiPorto (POR)3060

Group Table

All three of Iran’s opponents are from the Western hemisphere. They are grouped against the Euro 2020 runner-up England, Wales, and the USA.

Group Fixtures

DateMatchTime (ET)Stadium
Mon, Nov. 21England vs. Iran8 a.m.Khalifa Int’l Stadium
Fri, Nov. 25Wales vs. Iran5 a.m.Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium
Tues, Nov. 29Iran vs. USA2 p.m.Al Thumama Stadium

Iran Strengths

Someone has to mention their impressive world cup qualification run. Out of 18 matches in the AFC qualifiers phase, Iran won 14, drew one, and lost just three. In fact, they booked a place in Qatar with three games to spare and whilst doing so finished third ahead of South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.

Even for the strongest of teams, it is exhausting and often too much of a task to penetrate Iran’s defense. They have arguably the most compact backline among the mid-tier contenders. In the midfield, they are known for showing the utmost labor.

Speaking of their defense, it at one point was so staunch that Iran didn’t concede a single goal in their first five games at the AFC Asian Cup 2019. Furthermore, under the current coach the team holds an impressive international record of 10 clean sheets in 16 games.

Their star poacher in the attacking front, Mehdi Taremi also deserves a mention. The FC Porto forward has been in impressive form for his club with 18 goals and contributions in 16 matches. Additionally, in the past three seasons, his goal tally never dropped below 20.

Iran Weaknesses

Too much focus on the back and the mid, occasionally give a bit of extra burden to their attacking line.

However, the lack of uniform mentality in the games they play at international tournaments is something that has stopped them from making it to the next round. In 2014, the middle eastern side was able to hold Nigerian attackers from breaching their defense. In the next game, they were doing seemingly fine in keeping away Argentinian forwards from finding their net. That however lasted only until Lionel Messi’s wonder goal. The game quite clearly dampened their confidence level as in the next match, they went on to concede 3 against Bosnia and Herzegovina and got knocked out of the group. Their quest on Russia ended in a similar manner and their mental fatigue was also apparent at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.

Expectations On Iran

Iran only conceded twice in all the three games they played against their group opponents in the 2018 FIFA World Cup despite two of them being heavyweights Portugal and Spain.

One can safely bet to see similar stubbornness from Iran at this world cup. Although two of their opponents have Kane and Bale as their prime assaulters, Iran is certain to make it extremely hard for each of them to find their net let alone be some team where they can increase the chance of winning a golden boot.

If they are to focus on winning a bit more than the past competitions, they do have a shot at making it to the last 16 this time. In the last two world cups despite facing difficult opponents each time, they almost made it to the next rounds. The case isn’t so different this time either. It all counts on if they have some new tricks up their sleeves, especially for their attacking line.

Also, the fact that they have qualified by topping their AFC group should give them confidence and spirit like never before and if they manage to make at least one upset in their group, they could quite easily be the plausible team to reach the last 16. After all, they did best their current group stage opponent USA by 2-1 in 1998.

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