The team: This will be Iran’s fourth FIFA World Cup appearance, and their aim will surely be to reach the second round for the first time. After a strong qualifying campaign, in which they finished top of the group ahead of Korea Republic, they’ll certainly be confident of doing well in Brazil. Led by former Portugal and Real Madrid coach Carlos Queiroz, and with a crop of emerging young stars, this is quite possibly the strongest Iranian squad to feature at the tournament.
The coach: Carlos Queiroz
Carlos Queiroz has enjoyed a distinguished coaching career that has taken in spells at some of the world’s top clubs. He has managed Real Madrid, worked as assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, and coached the Portugal national team twice. His experience will be invaluable to Iran in Brazil.
Key player: Ashkan Dejagah
The explosive Fulham winger impressed last season even as the English Premier League side struggled. Always carrying an attacking threat, with an eye for spectacular goals, the 27-year-old could raise his standing even further with a good run in Brazil.
World ranking: 37
World Cup appearances: 3
Previous best: Group stage in 1978, 1998 and 2006
Qualification: Winner of group
Form (qualifiers): WDLWLWWW
Fixtures: June 16 vs. Nigeria; June 21 vs. Argentina; June 25 vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina