WorldCupAcca Confirmed Squad:
Keepers: A. Beiranvand, S. Hosseini, R. Mazaheri, A. Abedzadeh
Defence: R. Rezaeian, V. Ghafouri, P. Montazeri, R. Cheshmi, S. Hosseini, O. Norafkan, S. Beitashour, SJ. Hosseini, M. Ansari, MR. Khanzadeh, M. Pouraliganji, M Mohammadi, S. Aghaei
Midfield: S. Ezatolahi, M. Shojaei, A. Abdolahzadeh, S. Ghoddos, M. Torabi, A. Gholizadeh, A. Dejagah, O. Ebrahimi, E. Hajsafi, A. Karimi, S. Rafiei, V. Amiri
Forwards: A. Jahanbakhsh, K. Ansarifard, M. Taremi, S. Azmoun, R. Ghoochannejhad, K. Rezaei
Iran have achieved back to back qualifications for the World Cup for the first time in their history this year and this marks their 5th appearance overall.
Having made the Finals in ‘78, ‘98, ‘06 and ‘14 they have never advanced from the group stages, finishing bottom on 3 occasions – it was only in 1998 when they got their first and only win, against the USA, they have played 12 games in total picking up 4 points of a possible 36, scoring just 7 goals and conceding 22.
Iran made light work of their qualifying winning their group 7 points clear of South Korea and finishing undefeated, they only conceded 2 goals in the entire campaign and these came in their very final match against Syria..
Recent friendly results have been good, though they haven’t really played any big sides and for victories over – in their last 6 they have picked up 4 wins against Sierra Leone, Algeria, Uzbekistan and Venezuela whilst losing twice, 1-0 against Tunisia and 2-1 against Turkey.
WorldCupAcca The Squad:
Iran’s defence took the headlines in qualification, but what makes the difference between the team that finished bottom of their 2014 World Cup group and this version is the attacking options available to Carlos Queiroz.
Saman Ghoddos has enjoyed an excellent start to his season with Ostersunds scoring 4 in his first 9, though he can’t yet be sure of a starting place.
Mehdi Taremi is one of the top strikers in Asia but could be on the bench, and the same can be said for Karim Ansarifard, finished 2nd top scorer in the Greek Super League this season with 17 goals for Olympiakos.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh is going to be their main man though, the Alkmaar winger finished top scorer in the Eredivisie this season with 21 goals and also racked up 12 assists in 33 games.
The Iranians are most likely to line up in a 4-2-3-1 with Beiranvand starting in goal and a back four of Rezaeian, Hosseini, Pouraliganji and Mohammadi whilst Hajsafi & Karimi are sitting in front of them.
They hope will be that this base can allow Jahanbakhsh, Dejagah, Ghoddos and Azmoun the freedom to create and take chances but the most likely scenario in this group is they’ll just be playing for pride.
WorldCupAcca The Group:
Spain are one of the outright favourites and should be winning the group, most likely taking maximum 9 points. They possess some of the best players in world football and have serious strength in depth that only Germany & France can match.
Portugal, the European Champions haven’t looked particularly great since winning the tournament 2 years ago and even then they were never close to being the best team at that tournament.
In the Confederations Cup from last year they were knocked out by Chile in the Semi then won 2-1 AET against Mexico, following this; a 3-0 vs Saudi Arabia, 1-1 with the USA, a 2-1 win over Egypt thanks to 2 goals in stoppage time from Ronaldo and then a 3-0 defeat to the Netherlands
This is hardly inspiring stuff from what is supposed to be the best team on the continent, they have a couple more friendlies before the tournament though most notably against Belgium and we’ll give a better idea of whether they will be any sort of challengers.
Morocco were able to qualify at the expense of Gabon, Mali and Ivory Coast, finishing their group unbeaten with 3 wins and 3 draws and not conceding a goal and have followed this up with winning the African Nations Championship earlier this year, beating Nigeria 4-0 in the final.
WorldCupAcca Betting Tips:
World Cup Group B Fixtures / Results
|Saint Petersburg – June 15, 2018 6:00 pm|
|Sochi – June 15, 2018 9:00 pm|
|Moscow – June 20, 2018 3:00 pm|
|Kazan – June 20, 2018 9:00 pm|
|Saransk – June 25, 2018 9:00 pm|
|Kaliningrad – June 25, 2018 8:00 pm|
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