Meet the Iran squad set to face Wales in Qatar World Cup including the Iranian Messi, Brentford star, Brighton’s former bicycle kick hero and Arsenal’s next transfer target

    Iran must hit back at the World Cup today when they face Wales and have several familiar faces among their ranks in Qatar.

    ‘Team Melli’, who are managed by former Manchester United assistant Carlos Queiroz, were hammed in their Group B opener, losing 6-2 to England.

    Iran face a tough group

    Getty

    Iran face a tough group

    Iran, who are ranked 20th in the world, have assembled a decent side and topped their qualification group ahead of South Korea and must improve against Wales today.

    Here, talkSPORT.com runs through several of their dangermen that the Dragon should be wary of.

    Sardar Azmoun

    The Bayer Leverkusen forward is expected to be Iran’s key man at the World Cup – although he has been nursing a calf injury since October.

    Azmoun has been dubbed ‘The Iranian Messi’ despite the fact that his 6’1 stature dwarfs that of the Paris Saint-Germain superstar.

    Yet the 27-year-old’s goal record speaks for itself, with the striker scoring 41 goals in 65 games for his country – which puts him joint-second on their all-time list behind Iran icon Ali Daei.

    Azmoun, a former target for Liverpool, made the switch to Leverkusen in the summer on a free transfer from Zenit Saint Petersburg.

    Azmoun started all three games for Iran at the 2018 World Cup

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    Azmoun started all three games for Iran at the 2018 World Cup

    Mehdi Taremi

    Taremi will be the man Iran are expected to turn to in attack should Azmoun fail to prove his fitness in time to face England.

    The 30-year-old memorably scored a spectacular bicycle kick goal for Porto in their Champions League quarter-final win over Chelsea in April.

    The strike saw the Portuguese giants win 1-0 in the second leg and was later voted UEFA’s goal of the season but the Blues still advanced on aggregate.

    Taremi, however, has since taken his fine form into the new campaign, and has scored 13 times in 19 appearances so far.

    He has even attracted interest from Arsenal, who are reportedly said to be keen on bringing in back-up for Gabriel Jesus in January.

    Mehdi Taremi scored a spectacular consolation goal for Porto against Chelsea

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    Mehdi Taremi scored a spectacular consolation goal for Porto against Chelsea

    Alireza Jahanbakhsh

    Mason Mount for one will be having flashbacks as he faces off with the other player in Iran’s squad to have scored a bicycle kick against Chelsea.

    Mount played for the Blues in both games – with Jahanbakhsh’s acrobatics coming a year before teammate Taremi’s effort.

    Jahanbakhsh earned Brighton their first ever league point against Chelsea with his Puskas contender during a 1-1 draw in January 2020.

    The 29-year-old still failed to fully live up to being the Seagulls’ then-record signing under now-Chelsea manager Graham Potter.

    That bicycle kick came days after his only other goal for Brighton and Jahanbakhsh joined Eredivisie side Feyenoord in July 2021.

    Jahanbakhsh netted a stunning equaliser for the Seagulls against Chelsea

    Getty Images – Getty

    Jahanbakhsh netted a stunning equaliser for the Seagulls against Chelsea

    Saman Ghoddos

    Another Premier League player with a connection to Chelsea manager Potter!

    Ghoddos helped set up both Ostersunds’ goals in a memorable 2-1 win over Arsenal in 2018, that saw Potter become the first English manager to win at the Emirates in European competition.

    The 29-year-old joined Brentford two years later and helped the Bees clinch promotion to the Premier League but has since found minutes hard to come by.

    His only start under Thomas Frank this season came in the Carabao Cup penalty shootout defeat to Gillingham.

    Despite appearing over 30 times for Iran, Ghoddos’ international career originally started at the country of his birth Sweden.

    The midfielder played two friendlies and scored once for Sweden before declaring his allegiance to Iran in summer 2017.

    Ghoddos has made six appearances from the bench for Brentford in the Premier League this term

    Rex

    Ghoddos has made six appearances from the bench for Brentford in the Premier League this term

    Milad Mohammadi

    Mohammadi caught the world’s attention during the last World Cup in Russia 2018.

    The Iran defender infamously attempted an incredible somersault throw-in in his nation’s group stage defeat to Spain.

    More of that antics in Qatar please…

    Mohammadi hit the headlines with his failed somersault throw-in

    Mohammadi hit the headlines with his failed somersault throw-in

    Watch the World Cup with talkSPORT

    At talkSPORT we are powered by fans, so come and join us for the ultimate World Cup fan experience this winter – at the talkSPORT Fan Zone.

    In a huge indoor venue under the arches at Waterloo in London, we’ll bring you live screenings of every World Cup game.

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    Come and enjoy the best World Cup fan experience in London – and enjoy a pint on us – with tickets all games on sale HERE!

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