Iran names World Cup 2022 squad

Iran is hoping to make it out of the group stages for the first time in its history.

Tehran, Iran – Iran’s head coach Carlos Queiroz has chosen familiar faces for the country’s World Cup 2022 squad.

The Portuguese coach finalised the Team Melli list late on Sunday, including experienced players like goalkeeper Alireza Beyranvand and defender Shojae Khalilzadeh.

Mehdi Taremi, who has continued to shine across European tournaments with his club, Porto, unsurprisingly secured a spot next to other legionnaire forwards Sardar Azmoun – who recovered from an injury in time – and Alireza Jahanbakhsh.

taremi
Iranian forward Mehdi Taremi has scored 13 goals for FC Porto this season [Miguel Riopa/AFP]

The squad’s average age is almost 29, compared with 27 and three months for the 2018 tournament in Russia, as the team aims to advance from the group stage for the first time in its World Cup history.

Veteran defensive midfielder Omid Ebrahimi is perhaps the biggest absentee. He was ruled out last week due to an injury.

Team Melli is part of the only group in the World Cup where all teams are in the top 20 in global rankings.

Iran, Asia’s highest-ranking globally at 20, will face England on November 21, followed by Wales on November 25 and the United States on November 29.

Goalkeepers:

Alireza Beyranvand (Persepolis)
Amir Abedzadeh (Ponferradina)
Payam Niazmand (Sepahan)
Hossein Hosseini (Esteghlal)

Defenders:

Majid Hosseini (Kayserispor)
Mohammad Hossein Kanaanizadegan (Al-Ahli)
Shojae Khalilzadeh (Al-Ahli)
Morteza Pouraliganji (Persepolis)
Sadegh Moharrami (Dinamo Zagreb)
Ramin Rezaeian (Sepahan)
Milad Mohammadi (AEK Athens)
Abolfazl Jalali (Esteghlal)

Midfielders:

Saeid Ezatollahi (Vejle Boldklub)
Ehsan Hajsafi (AEK Athens)
Rouzbeh Cheshmi (Esteghlal)
Ahmad Nourollahi (Shabab Al-Ahli)
Ali Karimi (Kayserispor)
Saman Ghoddos (Brentford)
Vahid Amiri (Persepolis)

Forwards:

Alireza Jahanbakhsh (Feyenoord)
Ali Gholizadeh (Sporting Charleroi)
Mehdi Taremi (FC Porto)
Mehdi Torabi (Persepolis)
Karim Ansarifard (Omonia Nicosia)
Sardar Azmoun (Bayer Leverkusen)

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