Iran World Cup 2022 guide: Key players, injuries, tactics & tournament prediction

Mehdi Taremi is a serious goal threat for Iran
Mehdi Taremi is a serious goal threat for Iran / Briony Painter | 90min

Despite not troubling the latter stages, Iran have been a regular presence in recent World Cups - appearing in of four of the last six - and the 2022 Qatar tournament will be no different.

Carlos Quieroz is back in the dugout after being reappointed to a role he held between 2011 and 2019, although he did oversee their qualification campaign and was only reinstated after a change of leadership within the Iranian FA.

Ranked 20th in the world, Iran have plenty of capable players, but they will need to be at their very best to escape a group that contains England, Wales and the United States.

Here's what to expect from Iran at the 2022 World Cup.

When are Iran's group games?

  • England vs Iran (November 21, 16:00 GMT)
  • Wales vs Iran (November 25, 13:00 GMT)
  • Iran vs United States (November 29, 22:00 GMT)
  • Iran vs England H2H record: Played 0
  • Iran vs Wales H2H record: Played 0
  • Iran vs United States H2H record: Played 0

Who is in Iran's confirmed 26-player squad for the World Cup?

Goalkeepers: Alireza Beiranvand (Persepolis), Hossein Hosseini (Esteghlal), Payam Niazmand (Sepahan), Amir Abedzadeh (Ponferradina)

Defenders: Ramin Rezaeian (Sepahan), Abolfazl Jalali (Esteghlal), Hossein Kananizadegan (Al Ahli SC), Shoja Khalilzadeh (Al Ahli SC), Mortza Pouraliganji (Persepolis), Majid Hosseini (Kayserispor), Sadegh Moharrami (Dinamo Zagreb), Milad Mohammadi (AEK), Ehsan Hajisafi (AEK)

Midfielders: Saeid Ezatolahi (Vejle Boldklub), Ahmad Nourollahi (Shabab Al Ahli), Ali Karimi (Kayserispor), Rouzbeh Cheshmi (Esteghlal), Vahid Amiri (Persepolis), Mehdi Torabi (Persepolis), Alireza Jahanbakhsh (Feyenoord), Ali Gholizadeh (Charleroi), Saman Ghoddos (Brentford)

Forwards: Sardar Azmoun (Bayer Leverkusen), Karim Ansarifard (Omonia), Mehdi Taremi (Porto)

Which Iran players are missing the World Cup through injury?

The only serious concern for Iran coming into the tournament is the fitness of striker Sardar Azmoun, who would likely be a regular starter up front.

27-year-old Azmoun picked up a muscle injury playing for Bayer Leverkusen in October, and although he should be fit enough to take his place in the squad, his participation in Iran's opening game is doubtful.

Who are Iran's best players?

Ali Gholizadeh, Milad Sarlak, Sardar Azmoun
Iran have the tools to hurt England, Wales and the United States / ATPImages/GettyImages

Mehdi Taremi

Porto striker Mehdi Taremi is probably the headline maker in this Iran team as he has become a regular goalscorer both in Portugal and in the Champions League.

Taremi has made 60 appearances for the national team and will be leading the way in Qatar.

Sardar Azmoun

Along with Taremi, Azmoun is a real goal threat - evidenced by his 41 goals in 65 international appearances for Iran.

Assuming he is fit enough to play a role in the tournament, Azmoun will be pinpointed as a threat by England, Wales and the United States and is sure to be someone to keep a close eye on.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh

The former Brighton and Hove Albion man has superb natural talent and has contributed with goals and assists wherever he has been in his career.

He has 13 goals in 64 Iran appearances and will be a key player in the wide areas in Qatar.

Amir Abedzadeh

29-year-old goalkeeper Amir Abedzadeh doesn't have a great deal of international experience with Iran, but he is the son of legendary stopper Ahmad Reza Abedzadeh.

Abedzadeh has played in both Benfica and Tottenham's academies, while he also spent four years at Portuguese top-flight side Maritimo.

Iran predicted starting lineup

Iran's main threat is up front, led by Azmoun, Taremi, Jahanbakhsh in a relatively expansive 4-3-3 formation.

That said, Iran are likely to see less of the ball against the majority of their group opponents, so it would be no surprised to see two holding midfielders parked in front of the back four.

Iran predicted XI (4-3-3): Abedzadeh; Moharrami, Kanani, Hosseini, Haji Safi; Noorollahi, Ezatolahi, Sarlak; Azmoun, Taremi, Jahanbakhsh

Iran's form going into the World Cup

Iran have only played three times since the end of their qualification campaign although in that set of games was a very promising victory over Uruguay, who routinely get to the latter stages of the tournament.

Iran's last five results

South Korea 2-0 Iran (Qualifier)
Iran 2-0 Lebanon (Qualifier)
Iran 1-2 Algeria
Iran 1-0 Uruguay
Senegal 1-1 Iran

Where will Iran finish in the World Cup?

Many have wrongly written Iran off as the whipping boys of Group B, so they'll feel that there's a point to prove out in Qatar.

They do have the weakest of the four squads on paper, however, and that may prove difficult odds for Quieroz and his side to overcome. A point is on the cards at the very least, perhaps even a win - but things shouldn't get any better than that for Iran.

Prediction: Group stage exit

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