World Cup 2022 – Iran: Manager, key players and FIFA world ranking

    Iran manager Carlos Queiroz poses for a photo at the Qatar World Cup 2022
    Iran will hope to give England an uncomfortable time in Qatar (Picture: Getty)

    England start their World Cup campaign with a Group B fixture against Iran on Monday.

    The Three Lions head into the match as clear favourites but will be weary of an Iranian team who have proven to be tough to break down in recent years.

    England’s opponents will be playing in their third consecutive World Cup and they possess the experience and quality to cause Gareth Southgate’s side problems in Doha.

    Here is your full brief on Iran ahead of England’s opener at Qatar 2022.

    Who is Iran’s manager?

    Iran are managed by former Manchester United assistant manager Carlos Queiroz.

    The 69-year-old first joined Old Trafford as Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant in June 2002, but left to become the manager of Real Madrid after only one season.

    However, Queiroz was sacked after just one year in charge in the Spanish capital and returned to Old Trafford in the weeks following his dismissal.

    Carlos Queiroz and Ehsan Hajisafi face the media in a pre-match press conference
    Iran are playing in their third consecutive World Cup (Picture: FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

    Queiroz remained in Manchester until July 2008, when he was appointed as the manager of the Portuguese national team.

    Queiroz has managed Iran since 2011 and led the side at the 2014 and 2018 World Cups.

    The Portuguese tactician left Iran in 2019 for spells in charge of Colombia and Egypt but returned as manager in September 2022.

    Who are their key players?

    Former Brighton player Alireza Jahanbakhsh is the most recognisable player to English fans having featured 50 times for the Seagulls in the Premier League between 2018 and 2021.

    Jahanbakhsh now plays for Dutch side Feyenoord and has managed 13 goals in 65 appearances for the national team.

    Sardar Azmoun – dubbed the ‘Iranian Messi’ throughout his career – has found the back of the net an impressive 41 times in 65 appearances for his country and currently plays in the Bundesliga for Bayer Leverkusen.

    Mehdi Taremi is another player England’s back-line will need to keep an eye on – the striker has scored 42 goals since signing for Porto in 2020.

    Iranian football team train ahead of the World Cup game against England
    Iran are the highest ranked Asian nation in Qatar (Picture: FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images)

    What is their FIFA ranking?

    Iran are currently ranked 20th in the FIFA World Rankings, making them the highest ranked Asian team at the World Cup.

    They were the first Asian side to qualify for Qatar 2022, with eight wins from 10 games seeing them top the group ahead of South Korea.

    At the World Cup in Russia four years ago, Iran held Portugal to a 1-1 draw and were edged out 1-0 by Spain, but missed out on a spot in the round of 16 after failing to beat Morocco in the final group game.

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