Know India’s Rivals: Iran

The Iranians are coming off a 6-0 drubbing of Guam and face India hoping to finish atop Group ‘D’ in this round of Asian World Cup 2018 qualifiers.

Country:  Iran

FIFA Ranking:  40

Nicknames:  Team Melli 

Last official match played: Guam 6-0 Win (3 Sep)

Coach:  Carlos Queiroz


Team Highlights

The proverbial titans of Asia, Iran have the wind in their sails as they sail into the bout versus India. They are ranked 40th in the world, the highest of any Asian team and have a fine squad to back their ambitions of World Cup qualification. Their coach Carlos Queiroz, better known as Sir Alex Ferguson’s trusted right hand man during the Cristiano Ronaldo era at Manchester United, has implemented a fluent system with his side, that has seen the Sher-e-Iran score 100 goals under their gaffer in 53 games.

Queiroz is unafraid of handing youngsters a starting berth as seen versus Guam, when Team Melli ran out 6-0 winners. Sardar Azmoun, a FC Rostov player in the Russian top division, is by far their most prospective talent, with seven goals in just 11 caps. On the other hand, Iran’s team is fairly young with just SIX players collecting more than 20 caps in the squad.

Their captain Andranik Teymourian and vice-captain Jalal Hosseini, with over 189 cpas between them are expected to handle the midfield and defense respectively. Ashkan Dejagah, an English Premier League (EPL) experienced winger will add guts and pace to the right side of the park, especially after his showing for the national team against minnows Guam.

Eyes will also be on Ehsan Hajsafi, a left winger currently pying his trade with FSV Frankfurt in the second tier of Bundesliga, whilst Mehdi Torabi, a bright prospect on the right wing already has two goals in just three appearances for the national side.


Lessons From the Past

Total Matches played: 6
Matches won by India: 1
Matches won by Iran: 4
Matches drawn: 1
Goals scored by India: 4
Goals scored by Iran: 13


Predicted Line-up

Carlos Queiroz’s side have been play fine attacking football since the end of the World Cup last year scoring 20 goals in 12 games. Although they drew 1-1 against Turkmenistan in their first game, the side have showed their attacking class against Guam scoring 6 past them. Since the World Cup, they have beaten Chile and drew against a strong Sweden side, winning 8 of the 12 games. They will ideally go into the game with a 4-4-2 set-up.

HaghigiMontazeri- Hosseini- Ghafouri- KananiDejagah- Hajsafi-Teyomurian- Amiri



Players To Watch Out For

Sardar Azmoun – He is well known amongst the Iranian’s as the ‘Iranian Messi’. He plays for Rostov and is on loan from Rubin Kazan. There was rumoured interest from Liverpool and Arsenal last season in the January window. He recently scored a brace against Guam and has blistering pace and an eye for a goal. He has seven goals in 11 appearances for Iran.

Mehdi Torabi:  Already touted as a bright prospect in Iran’s Premier Division with Saipa, the versatile right side midfielder can shirk up the opposition flank with devastating runs and intuitive crosses. Fresh from opening his account for the national side, Torabi will be looking to further impress Queiroz.

Personnel Speak

Carlos Queiroz: India have to play more (internationally) and work towards that, that is the only way forward.

– Nikhil Jitendran


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