The 2022 World Cup marks Iran’s third consecutive appearance at the tournament and they will once again be looking for a first foray past the group stage.
Team Melli have actually been at the World Cup on three of the past four occasions, excluding 2022, but have only managed one win, finishing bottom of their group twice.
After recently beating Wales, they will now be dreaming of knockout-stage qualification for the first time ever.
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The latest Iran odds to win the World Cup
|Iran to win the World Cup odds||350/1|
|Iran to reach semi-final||–|
|Iran to reach quarter-final odds||–|
|Iran odds to win Group B odds||16/1|
|Karim Ansarifard World Cup Golden Boot odds||–|
*You must be 18+ to gamble. All odds within this article are accurate at the time of writing (08:30, 29/11/2022). BeGambleAware.
Our recommended Iran bet for World Cup 2022
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Iran have been handed a fair chance of reaching the knockout stage thanks to their recent win over Wales. England will be firm favourites to win Group B, but a result over USA could be enough to guarantee Iran a place in the last 16. Although they face a strong USA side in a potential winner-takes-all, they picked up four points from a difficult group in Russia four years ago — a similar showing should do the trick.
Iran route to the World Cup 2022 Final in Qatar
Group stage fixtures
|2-6 vs England||Khalifa International Stadium||16:00, 21/11|
|2-0 Wales||Ahmad bin Ali Stadium||13:00, 25/11|
|vs USA||Al Thumama Stadium||22:00, 29/11|
*All times GMT
Following the defeat by England, Iran bounced back to beat Wales in dramatic fashion and now only need a result against third-placed USA to more or less confirm their place in the knockouts, providing Wales don’t produce an almighty World Cup shock and beat England.
Who could Iran meet in the knockout rounds?
In the unlikely event that Iran win Group B, they would likely have a very difficult route to the latter stages of the tournament.
Were they to sweep aside Ecuador in the round of 16, World Cup holders France would be their likely opponents in the last eight. Throw in a possible semi-final against Germany before a meeting with five-time winners Brazil in the showpiece, and you start to understand Iran’s heavy pricing to win it all.
|If Iran win B||Potential opponent|
|Round of 16||Ecuador|
Certainly the most likely route to the knockout phase for Iran, a possible round-of-16 meeting with the Netherlands awaits if they qualify from Group B as runners-up – and things don’t get any easier from there.
The bookmakers suggest Brazil and France still lie in wait for Team Melli, with Argentina the likely opponents at the quarter-final stage in this half of the draw.
|If Iran come runners up in Group B||Potential opponent|
|Round of 16||Netherlands|
Confirmed Iran World Cup 2022 squad
|Sadegh Moharrami||Defender||26||Dinamo Zagreb|
|Milad Mohammadi||Defender||29||AEK Athens|
|Ehsan Hajsafi||Defender||32||AEK Athens|
|Ehsan Hajsafi||Midfielder||32||AEK Athens|
|Ahmad Nourollahi||Midfielder||29||Shabab Al-Ahli|
|Sardar Azmoun||Forward||27||Bayer Leverkusen|
Iran players to watch at this year’s World Cup 2022
Iran top World Cup Golden Boot Contender — Sardar Azmoun
Despite being a fringe player for Bayer Leverkusen, Azmoun moved up to third in Iran’s all-time leading goalscorers list earlier this year.
Azmoun has scored 41 goals in 67 appearances for his country and, in an ageing international squad, is one of Queiroz’s younger players at 27.
He’s struggled for game time since a January move to the Bundesliga, but showed incredible potency at previous club Zenit, where he managed 62 goals and 23 assists in 104 matches across all competitions.
An aerial threat, the pacy forward is also adept at dropping deep and linking play for his colleagues.
Iran player to watch — Mehdi Taremi
The 30-year-old starred for Porto last season as they won the Primeira Liga title, netting 20 goals across the campaign – only Darwin Nunez managed more.
He has also stepped up in recent appearances for Iran, while scoring a consolation brace against England.
Although he can play centrally, Taremi often plays off the left for Iran to make space for Azmoun to spearhead their attack.
He now has 30 goals in 62 appearances for Iran, with eight in 13 starts during qualifying for the Qatar World Cup.
He is also the World Cup’s best playmaker so far, with the Porto forward creating a tournament-high nine chances for his team-mates.
Iran captain — Ehsan Hajsafi
Iran’s most experienced player, Hajsafi has 123 caps since making his debut for the national side in 2009.
The 32-year-old, who is Iran’s fourth most-capped international of all time, played all three group matches at both the 2014 and 2018 World Cups.
Trusted by Queiroz four years ago in Russia, Hajsafi remains a key member of the Iran side and his longevity is as much down to his versatility as his ability.
A seasoned left-back for club side AEK Athens, he regularly fills in across the midfield for Team Melli. Former Brighton man Alireza Jahanbakhsh has also taken the armband in recent fixtures.
Iran tactical analysis & likely formation at the World Cup
Iran certainly have the weapons in the final third to cause teams problems, but it will come down to whether Carlos Queiroz lets his players off the leash in their final game, as he did against Wales.
In possession, they have a potent front three, with Azmoun, Taremi and Jahanbakhsh boasting a wealth of experience and a combined 84 international goals between them, though the former only appeared from the bench against England — and it was a similar case for the latter against Wales.
In Jahanbakhsh and Hajsafi, Queiroz has at his disposal players with experience of grinding out results on this stage. Indeed, two last-gasp goals in Russia handed Iran three of their four group-stage points.
They will require similar grit and determination to have any chance of keeping their faint last-16 hopes alive.
Where are Iran in the Fifa World Rankings?
Iran are currently 20th in the Fifa World Rankings, whilst their highest ever ranking was 15th in August 2005.
Who is the Iran manager?
Having led Iran at the 2014 and 2018 World Cups, Carlos Queiroz was recently hired to oversee the national side for the forthcoming Qatar finals. Queiroz’s appointment in September drew a line under an awkward chapter for the Iran national side, with Dragan Skocic sacked in July and then rehired days later. Skocic led Iran through World Cup qualification but was eventually dumped for good by the Iranian Football Federation less than three months out from the finals.
How many times have Iran won the World Cup?
Iran have never progressed beyond the group stage at a World Cup but their best result came four years ago. Despite being drawn into a group alongside Spain and Portugal, Team Melli picked up four points from their three fixtures and narrowly missed out on a knockout-stage berth.
How many times have Iran competed in the World Cup?
Iran have competed in the World Cup five times, with the Qatar finals set to be their fourth World Cup in five (also 2006, 2014, 2018).
Who has scored Iran’s most goals in World Cup tournaments?
No Iran player has scored more than a single goal at a World Cup, with Karim Ansarifard on target in 2018 and Reza Ghoochannejhad scoring four years earlier in Brazil.
Which player from Iran has the most World Cup appearances?
Four players have six appearances at the World Cup for Iran. Captain Ehsan Hajsafi and his deputy Alireza Jahanbakhsh both featured in all six fixtures across their two World Cup finals appearances in 2014 and 2018, and have both added to their tallies in Qatar.