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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 May 2006, 03:41 GMT 04:41 UK
Iran coach targets second round

Branko Ivankovic
Branko Ivankovic has big ambitions at this year's tournament
Iran boss Branko Ivankovic wants to lead the nation to the second round for the first time after announcing a 23-man squad for the tournament.

The Croatian coach has set his sights on upsetting one of seeded teams Mexico and Portugal in group D.

He said: "I'm completely aware of the tough job we have in Germany. But I have enough reliable players."

The biggest surprise was the selection of Saipa midfielder Masoud Shojaee, tipped for great things by Ivankovic.

The Middle East nation's coach worked as an assistant to Miroslav Blazevic when he led Croatia to third place at the 1998 World Cup in France.

Under Blazevic, the Iranians narrowly missed out on qualifying for the 2002 finals - losing in a two-legged playoff to the Republic of Ireland.

Ivankovic's squad features veteran striker Ali Daei, who will be playing in his second World Cup after appearing in France eight years ago.

There are also five Europe-based players selected, including Bayern Munich's former Asian Player of the Year Ali Karimi.


Goalkeepers: Ebrahim Mirzapour (Foolad Khuzestan), Vahid Talebloo (Esteghlal Tehran), Hassan Roudbarian (Pas)

Defenders: Yahya Golmohammadi (Saba Battery), Mohammad Nosrati (Pas), Rahman Rezaei (Messina, Italy), Sattar Zare (Bargh Shiraz), Hossein Kaabi (Foolad Khuzestan), Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh (Saba Battery), Amir Hossein Sadeqi (Esteghlal Tehran)

Midfielders: Javad Nekounam (Sharjah, United Arab Emirates), Anderanik Teymourian (Abomoslem Khorasan), Mehdi Mahdavikia (Hamburg, Germany), Fereydoon Zandi (Kaiserslautern, Germany), Ali Karimi (Bayern Munich, Germany), Mehrzad Madanchi (Persepolis), Javad Kazemian (Persepolis)

Forwards: Ali Daei (Saba Battery), Vahid Hashemian (Hanover, Germany), Reza Enayati (Esteghlal Tehran), Arash Borhani (Pas), Masoud Shojai (Saipa), Rasoul Khatibi (Sepahan Isfahan)



SEE ALSO
Iran team guide
27 Apr 06 |  Iran
World Cup fixtures
09 Dec 05 |  Schedule
Have your say on the World Cup
28 Apr 06 |  Football
BBC World Cup coverage
27 Apr 06 |  BBC coverage


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