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Plans underway to prepare Iran football for World Cup qualifiers

Anton Usnik Skocic

Tehran Times - The Iranian national football team are preparing for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, and the plans are underway for the team to get ready at the proper time.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to consider fixture change.

Under the new guideline, Iran national team are scheduled to host Hong Kong on Oct. 8 in Tehran and meet Cambodia five days later in Phnom Penh.

Iran’s last two matches against Bahrain and Iraq will be on Nov. 12 and 17 in Tehran.

According to the announcement of the Football Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI), the national team will hold two friendly matches in September against Syria and Uzbekistan, respectively.

The match against Syria is scheduled for Sept.3 in Tehran. The Persians will also meet Uzbekistan in Tashkent on Sept.7.

Based on some reports, if the match with Syria is not finalized, Palestine will replace them. The match against Syria (or Palestine) will be the first match of the Iranian national football team with Dragan Skocic at the helm as the new head coach of the team.

Skocic has so far selected two assistants to help him in the national team, namely Anton Usnik from Slovenia and ex-Iran national player Vahid Hashemian.

The Croatian Mladen Zganjer is working as the goalkeeping coach in the national team’s technical staff.

Furthermore, Skocic is still waiting for the end of the Iran Professional League (IPL) season, since Persepolis coach Karim Bagheri is supposed to join the national team staff. IPL winners Persepolis have not yet agreed to let him leave. If not, another Iranian coach will be added to the national team staff.

The eight group winners of the World Cup qualification’s group stage and four best runners-up will advance to the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Finals and the final round of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

The next best 24 teams from the second round of the joint qualifiers will compete in a separate competition for the remaining 12 slots in the 24-team AFC Asian Cup China 2023.

The FIFA World Cup in Qatar will run from November 21 to December 18, 2022.

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