Iran’s squad for the 2022 World Cup has been announced, with manager Carlos Queiroz revealing a final squad of 25 players, opting not to fill the remaining slot allocated for the tournament.
Making a fifth appearance in the last seven World Cups with a promising squad and a decent draw in the group stage, Iran had hopes of making the knockouts for the first time upset at their own FA.
A coaching change made as late as September gave them little time to adapt and prepare. Could the off-field organizational issues again affect on-field matters? Maybe – but the return of Carlos Queiroz then led Iran to victory over strong Uruguay and a draw against Sadio Mane’s Senegal.
Iran have a balanced and experienced squad with a powerful attack and organized defence, with many stars remaining from Russia 2018. Their attack is particularly entertaining, with Porto star Mehdi Taremi and Bayer Leverkusen striker Sardar Azmoun scoring in average one goal every two games. Alireza Beiranvand is also a solid and very underrated keeper.
However, the coaching chaos this summer has divided Iran’s dressing room.
The FA wanted Dragan Skocic no more, having notched 15 wins in 18 games in charge from February 2020, firing the Croatian in July this year, reinstating him days later and then sacking him again. Azmoun campaigned for Skocic to stay, while Taremi and Alireza Jahanbakhsh said they wanted Queiroz back. Even though Queiroz knows this team well and how to put it together, such tensions are not easily resolved.
Their Qatar 2022 World Cup group stage matches against the United States, Wales and England are likely to turn into a media circus, especially against the former nation, which the players don’t do not want. Politicians and journalists will ensure there is a farrago, and with two groups of British opponents as well, it’s Iran versus the English-speaking West – in Qatar of all countries.
Iran squad for the 2022 World Cup
Iran squad for the 2022 World Cup: the final squad
- GK: Alireza Beiranvand (Persepolis)
- G: Hossein Hosseini (Esteghlal)
- G: Amir Abedzadeh (Ponferradina)
- GK: Payam Niazmand (Sepahan)
- Defender: Ehsan Hajsafi (AEK Athens)
- Defender: Morteza Pouraliganji (Persepolis)
- Defender: Ramin Rezaeian (Sepahan)
- Defender: Milad Mohammadi (AEK Athens)
- Defender: Shojae Khalilzadeh (Al-Ahli)
- Defender: Hossein Kanaanizadegan (Al-Ahli)
- Defender: Sadegh Moharrami (Dinamo Zagreb)
- Defender: Majid Hosseini (Kayserispor)
- Defender: Rouzbeh Cheshmi (Esteghlal)
- Defender: Abolfazl Jalali (Esteghlal)
- MF: Vahid Amiri (Persepolis)
- MF: Saeid Ezatolahi (Vejle)
- MF: Mehdi Torabi (Persepolis)
- FM: Saman Ghoddos (Brentford)
- Midfielder: Ali Gholizadeh (Charleroi)
- MF: Ahmad Nourollahi (Shabab Al Ahli)
- Midfielder: Ali Karimi (Kayserispor)
- AT: Alireza Jahanbakhsh (Feyenoord)
- AT: Mehdi Taremi (Porto)
- AT: Karim Ansarifard (Omonia)
- AT: Sardar Azmoun (Bayer Leverkusen)
Iran 2022 World Cup top scorers
2 goals: Mehdi Taremi
1 goal: Roozbeh Cheshmi, Ramin Rezaeian
Yellow cards for the 2022 World Cup in Iran
2 yellows: Alireza Jahanbaksh
1 yellow: Morteza Pouraliganji, Ramin Rezaeian
Who is Iran’s coach for the 2022 World Cup?
Carlos Queiroz led Iran from 2011-2019, taking Team Melli to two World Cups, but the Portuguese veteran’s sensational return – after failing to take either Colombia or Egypt to Qatar 2022 – has divided the opinion in Iran, enthusiastically applauded by some and strongly criticized by others. The 69-year-old will be in the spotlight.
Iranian star player
Who is the best Iranian player?
Sardar Azmoun’s January move to Bayer Leverkusen has yet to bring any fireworks, but he remains Iran’s brightest star even when seeking his best form. The 27-year-old has scored 41 goals in 65 appearances for his country – only the legendary pair of Karim Bagheri and Ali Daei have been more prolific. He is a classy and elegant predator of the penalty box.
How many players is Iran allowed to take to the 2022 World Cup?
National managers were allowed to bring 26 players to last summer’s European Championship for the first time at a major tournament, as a special measure introduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic – while the Last year’s Copa America allowed teams of 28 players.
It has now been announced that 26-man squads will return for the Qatar World Cup, an extension of the usual 23-man squads.