Sardar Azmoun

(Photo by Amin M. Jamali/Getty Images)

2018 World Cup team preview: Iran

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Getting to know Iran: Entering their fifth World Cup as consecutive qualifiers for the first time in its history, Iran will be hoping for another first.

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This one would be a shock, as Iran is aiming to escape a Group B with favorites Spain, EURO champions Portugal, and a Morocco side viewed to be the best in Africa.

They won’t be shrinking violets, having beaten Algeria and Panama this season while also boasting away draws against South Korea and Russia.

For more history on Iran, click here.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

What group are they in? B

Game schedule – Group B – Full 2018 World Cup schedule, here

Friday, June 15: Morocco vs. Iran, St Petersburg 11 a.m. ET
Wednesday, June 20: Iran vs. Spain, Kazan 2 p.m. ET
Monday, June 25: Iran vs. Portugal, Saransk 2 p.m. ET

Projected lineup (4-2-3-1) – Check out the 23-man squad list in full

—– Beiranvand —–

Rezaeian — Pouraliganji — Hosseini — Mohammadi

Karimi — Ezatolahi

Jahanbakhsh—-Shojaei —- Taremi


Star player: Sardar Azmoun — The 23-year-old Rubin Kazan striker has been nothing short of prolific for Team Melli, scoring 23 times in 32 caps. He’s been pretty good in the Russian Premier League as well, spending time with Rubin Kazan and Rostov.

Manager: Carlos Queiroz – He’s had some big jobs, you know. The former Manchester United assistant under Sir Alex Ferguson also led Portugal, Real Madrid, and Sporting CP.

Secret weapon: Alireza Jahanbakhsh — Twenty-one goals and 12 assists, including hat tricks in two of his final three league games: Yep, AZ Alkmaar’s Jahanbakhsh has done just fine for himself in the Eredivisie. Who scored more? No one.

Prediction: Out in the group stage, but not without giving a scare or two to their group mates.

Iranian teen confirms Arsenal, Milan offers

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According to Rubin Kazan striker Sardar Azmoun, Arsenal is among a trio of top teams vying for his signature this summer.

The 19-year-old has three goals in 10 appearances in the Russian Premier Liga as well as a goal in the Europa League, and has told Iranian television that his play has attracted the world’s best.

“I have offers from three major clubs: Arsenal, AC Milan and Juventus,” Azmoun told showNavad. “I also had an offer from Barcelona, but due to their transfer ban the club is out of the picture at the moment.”

He labeled the talks with the Gunners, along with Milan, as “very serious.” The teen also said there have been conversations between the clubs as well, not just with him and his agent.

Azmoun did finish by saying he is “only focusing on the Russian league” but judging by his previous statements it’s fair to take that one with a grain of salt.

He has come on strong recently, scoring two of his three goals in Kazan’s two most recent matches, although they lost both. He has been given a chance thanks to the poor form of 32-year-old striker Ruslan Mukhametshin, who has just one goal in eight appearances, and has been benched in favor of Azmoun for five straight matches now.

Azmoun has yet to be capped by the Iranian senior team, but

After 21 matches, Kazan is in 9th position out of the 16-team league.