WORLD CUP FORECAST: Group F – Iran growing in Asia but is it enough on the world stage?

With not many household names, it is hard to give the Iranians much of a chance in Brazil.

With not many household names, it is hard to give the Iranians much of a chance in Brazil.

They performed admirably during their Asian qualifying campaign but it is very difficult to place them above the three other countries in this group.

Their history has delivered just one victory in nine World Cup outings for a total of six goals but it would be careless to completely write the Iranians off.

With Portuguese tactician Carlos Queiroz at the helm, Team Melli certainly have a man capable of getting the absolute best out of his players.

Whether that best is good enough to get results against Nigeria, Argentina and Bosnia is a completely different story.

Iran

Manager: Carlos Queiroz

Fixtures: Nigeria - June 16 (Curitiba), Argentina - June 21 (Belo Horizonte), Bosnia & Herzegovina - June 25 (Salvador)

Past outings against group opponents: Iran have played Nigeria once in the past, for a 1-0 friendly loss in Hong Kong in 1998.

Iran have met Argentina just once before for a 1-1 draw in a friendly back in 1977.

Team Melli have beaten Bosnia four times and drawn once in five meetings. The most recent encounter resulted in a 3-2 friendly win in Sarajevo in 2009.

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Key players: Javad Nekounam (Al-Kuwait), Reza Ghoochannejhad (Charlton Athletic), Andranik Teymourian (Esteghlal), Ashkan Dejagah (Fulham)

World Cup utopia: Round of 16 would be a dream. Winning a match would be seen as a success.

Doomsday scenario: Failing to score.

Qualified by virtue of: Finishing top of AFC Group A qualifying

Best result at a World Cup: Group stage (1978, 1998, 2006)

tribal’s forecast:

Iran will have absolutely nothing to lose in their fourth entry in the World Cup finals.

Given little hope by many pundits around the world, the proud nation will be looking to prove the doubters wrong and build on the solid form that saw them finish above fellow qualifiers South Korea in their Asian qualifying group.

An impenetrable defence conceded just two goals in eight matches, which is a major feat, but on the flipside they score just eight times which provides a massive problem.

If Nekounam or Ghoochannejhad, scorers of six of those goals, are kept quiet then there is slight reason to see how they can produce a winning score.

Queiroz will have his side organized at the back but it is going forward which leaves a little to be desired. The former Portugal boss will be ordering Team Melli to play without fear on the big stage but an apparent lack of quality across the board is likely to be their downfall.

Iran are beginning to build a solid foundation as a top Asian nation but a World Cup is a much more serious task and their opponents in Group F should be able to break down the barrier and send them home early once again.

Prediction: Group stage elimination.

 
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