PLDC - Iranian men’s National Football Team are set to start the third round of qualifications for the 2022 Qatar World Cup in a matter of days and here we will discuss reasons why those encounters could be exciting to watch.
Iran have been drawn along South Korea, Lebanon, Syria, UAE, and Iraq in Group A of the third round. The team will start the campaign on September 2 by hosting Syria before taking on Iraq in a neutral venue five days later.
The team showed promising performance in the last round of the qualifiers, raising hopes for the fans to see their team playing in the World Cup finals for the third time in a row. Here are key factors that can make Team Melli matches more exciting to watch and even predict.
1. Keep eye on key attackers: Azmoun, Taremi
Iran has introduced several top players in recent years including Sardar Azmoun, Mehdi Taremi, and Alireza Jahanbakhsh among others.
Azmoun was named the Russian league’s player of the year in the 2020-21 season and reports are already coming that link him to a move from FC Zenit to bigger European teams such as Leverkusen and AS Roma.
One of the other attacking powers of Iran is undeniably Mehdi Taremi who became one the fans’ favorite in FC Porto just months after joining the top Portuguese team. One of his last achievements was winning the awards of the best goal of the Champions League and also UEFA Goal of the Season for his stunning overhead kick against Chelsea in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
Furthermore, the duo has shown great understanding of each other’s moves in the national team and this can be considered a strong point for the team.
2. Traditional rivalry with South Korea, Iraq
Surely, South Korea and Iraq can be named as two of the most traditional rivals of Iran in Asian football with one coming from the east and the other from the west zone.
It is some 10 years that South Korea has failed to defeat Iran in direct encounters. And Son Heung-min’s team will come to end this draught which will probably result in nail-biting encounters.
On the other side, we have Iraq that managed to create many challenges for the Iranian team in the past years. Since the 2015 AFC Asian Cup where Iraq defeated Iran in penalties, Iran had failed to defeat the team for almost seven years before gaining a 1-0 win in the second round of qualifiers in June. This victory gives Iran an edge but one cannot ignore the good structure of the Iraqi team.
It's difficult to make predictions for the games.
3. Stunning run of Skocic in the team
Since taking the helm of the team in February 2020, Dragan Skocic has had a stunning run with Iranian players. He has won seven out of seven matches.
Experts believe years’ of his presence in the Iranian league and having a good understanding of the Iranian style of football are key factors behind the success of the Croatian.
4. Players incentives to win Qatar ticket
Surely enough, Iranian players have great incentives to win the World Cup quota. One aspect could be for their own personal benefit as playing in the top tournament will result in better opportunities in their professional career.
Another aspect and the one that has been mentioned by some of the players is the desire to make Iranian people happy. Iranians are football mad and nothing can make them happier than a ticket to Qatar and good performance there.
All in all, Team Melli are one of the favorites to qualify for the 2022 World Cup and this is a point to be taken into serious consideration for those who want to make predictions for the games.