Iran Could Spring Surprise at World Cup
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Well-drilled and growing in experience, Iran could spring a surprise against either Spain or Portugal if they gain that morale-boosting victory over Morocco, Reuters reported.
Drawn in a challenging group with Morocco, Spain and Portugal, the Iranians will be looking to pick up a win in their opener against the Moroccans to ensure their quest for a first-ever place in the round of 16 stays alive until their final game, against the Portuguese.
Iran will be appearing at the World Cup finals for a fifth time, although qualification for Russia is the first time the country has booked a spot at successive tournaments having previously played in 1978, 1998, 2006 and 2014.
The Iranians are still looking to progress to the knockout rounds for the first time and have won just one match, against the United States, in France in 1998.
Former Real Madrid and Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz is leading the Iranians to the World Cup finals for the second time after also steering the country to Brazil in 2014.
The pragmatic Portuguese took over in April 2011 and has turned Iran into Asia's number one team, with a focus on defensive discipline while harnessing some of the continent's best attacking talent.