Iran

2006-06-01 10:58

Berlin - Thirty-two teams have qualified for the 2006 World Cup finals which take place in Germany from June 9 - July 9.

IRAN

Honours:

World Cup appearances: 2 (1978, 1998)

World Cup best: 1st round

Asian Cup winners: 3 (1968, 1972, 1976)

Fifa world ranking: 22

Odds: 250/1

Coach: Branko Ivankovic

A former assistant coach with Croatia, Ivankovic took over as Iran coach after their catastrophic failure to qualify for the 2002 finals and has impressed by steadily reshaping the team, introducing new players and revitalising the careers of several old stagers.

His highpoint to date was victory in the 2002 Asian Games, when Iran stunned Japan to win the gold medal in Busan in South Korea.

Key player: Ali Karimi

The 2004 Asian Player of the Year, Karimi is a skilful attacking midfielder who plys his trade with German giants Bayern Munich. A serious ankle injury has hampered his time at Bayern and his appearances have been restricted to just 20 games, most as a substitute.

Revels in the freedom to roam afforded to him in the Iranian set-up however, and will be the Asian giants' principal offensive threat in Germany.

Squad:

Goalkeepers:

Ebrahim Mirzapour (Foolad Khuzestan/IRI), Vahid Talebloo (Esteghlal Tehran/IRI), Hassan Roudbarian (Pas/IRI)

Defenders:

Yahya Golmohammadi (Saba Battery/IRI), Mohammad Nosrati (Pas/IRI), Rahman Rezaei (Messina/ITA), Sattar Zare (Bargh Shiraz/IRI), Hossein Kaabi (Foolad Khuzestan/IRI), Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh (Saba Battery/IRI), Amir Hossein Sadeqi (Esteghlal Tehran/IRI)

Midfielders:

Javad Nekounam (Sharjah/UAE), Anderanik Teymourian (Abomoslem Khorasan/IRI), Mehdi Mahdavikia (Hamburg/GER), Fereydoon Zandi (Kaiserslautern/GER), Ali Karimi (Bayern Munich/GER), Mehrzad Madanchi (Persepolis/IRI), Javad Kazemian (Persepolis/IRI)

Forwards:

Ali Daei (Saba Battery/IRI), Vahid Hashemian (Hanover/GER), Reza Enayati (Esteghlal Tehran/IRI), Arash Borhani (Pas/IRI), Masoud Shojai (Saipa/IRI), Rasoul Khatibi (Sepahan Isfahan/IRI)

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