Iran star Sardar Azmoun

FIFA World Cup preview: Iran

Iran is another promising country cursed by a horror draw at the FIFA World Cup.

Russia will mark the first time in history the Iranians have made back to back finals and they will be guided by former Real Madrid and Portugal manager Carlos Queiroz.

They were the first team from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to qualify for Russia and have looked pretty good in pushing their world ranking up to 36.

But this pool cannot be ignored. Spain and Portugal will be near impossible to beat, making Iran's first up match against Morocco critical.

A big score in that match and a draw against one of the big guns might get Iran out of the group stage - might.

The draw for Iran

Morocco, June 15

Spain, June 20

Portugal, June 25

The star players

Striker Sardar Azmoun will be the centre point of their attack, but defence is what Iran is going to need to negate Spain and Portugal.

Goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand stands at 198cm tall with an enormous wingspan. If he is able to compete for low balls (a challenge given his size), then Iran could frustrate the big guns.

Azmoun has 23 goals in 31 appearances for Iran so he could be poised for a big tournament.

What needs to go right

Iran will be hoping to fly under the radar, which they almost certainly will.

The likes of Spain and Portugal are being talked about as tournament winners, no one is even questioning their ability to escape their pool.

For Iran to progress, they need to stun one of those nations and also run the cleaners through Morocco. 

It is unlikely, but fairy tales happen at World Cups all the time.

About the Author Josh Alston

Josh Alston is a hack with over 12 years industry experience, covering sport across all codes for newspapers and online agencies. Known to frequent grade matches because of their cheap tinnies. Eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in sitting on the hill when the local cricket side was playing. Softball premiership winner, rugby league legend in Year 10 and no stranger to Doomben Racecourse.

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