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Last Updated: Monday, 22 May 2006, 14:12 GMT 15:12 UK
Iran team guide

A one-stop guide to all you need to know about Iran ahead of the 2006 World Cup.

Fixtures (Group D):

  • v Mexico - 11 June, 1700 BST, Nuremberg
  • v Portugal - 17 June, 1400 BST, Frankfurt
  • v Angola - 21 June, 1500 BST, Leipzig

    How did they get to Germany: Iran produced a strong performance and qualified with little trouble, booking their berth with a game to go.

    Qualifying star: Playmaker Ali Karimi's dazzling performances won him the 2004 Asian Footballer of the Year award as well as a move to Bayern Munich.

    Manager: Croatian Branko Ivankovic earned plaudits for rebuilding the squad after a disappointing defeat to the Republic of Ireland in a 2002 World Cup qualifying play-off.

    Ali Daei
    Captain: Ali Daei, who scored nine goals in qualifying for the World Cup finals.

    World Cup pedigree: World Cups come every 20 years for Iran - or at least they used to. They made their debut in 1978 and a second appearance in 1998, but bucked the trend with qualification for Germany 2006.

    World Cup high: In six matches they have tasted victory just once - but that 2-1 win over the USA in 1998 was sweet.

    World Cup low: After the high of beating the USA came a heartbreaking 2-0 defeat to Germany in the very next game, a result which saw them miss out on a qualifying spot for the knockout phase.

    World Cup legend: Six matches, one win, one draw and four losses - hardly the sort of statistics from which legends are born. However, Hamid Estili and Mehdi Mahdavikia deserve a mention for those goals against the Americans.

    Ali Karim
    Present star man: Ali Karimi followed Ali Daei and Vahid Hashemian in opting to sign for Bayern at the start of the season.

    Strengths: They can boast some good quality in their forward line.

    Weaknesses: The squad has a lack of top-level experience.

    Did you know? Iran had the biggest attendance for any game in the qualifying for the World Cup finals when Japan visited Tehran in March 2005 and were watched by a crowd of 110,000.

    World ranking: 23

    Odds: 500/1

    Local view: "If they enjoy good morale and self-confidence, they might qualify for the second round." Behnam Saremi, Iran Daily.

    Our verdict: Winning teams need more than morale to make a mark and luck will be Iran's crucial bed-fellow if they are to make any sort of impact.

    Ranking and odds correct at 22 May. Odds supplied by William Hill.



  • 2006 WORLD CUP TEAM GUIDES
     

    SEE ALSO
    Pick your Iran XI
    31 May 06 |  Squad selectors
    Country profile: Iran
    03 Nov 05 |  Country profiles


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