Iran World Cup 2022 squad list, fixtures and latest odds

Iran World Cup 2022 squad list, fixtures and latest odds - Sardar Azmoun controls the ball during the 2022 Qatar World Cup Asian Qualifiers football match between Iran and South Korea - Getty Images/Atta Kenare
Iran World Cup 2022 squad list, fixtures and latest odds - Sardar Azmoun controls the ball during the 2022 Qatar World Cup Asian Qualifiers football match between Iran and South Korea - Getty Images/Atta Kenare

Injured Bayer Leverkusen forward Sardar Azmoun was named in the squad despite reported pressure on head coach Carlos Queiroz not to pick Azmoun after the player criticised the Iranian government over Mahsa Amini's death.

There have been mass protests across Iran following the 22-year-old woman's death in police custody after ahe was arrested not wearing a hijab death.

Despite the Iranian FA telling players not to speak about the protests, Azmoun posted on Instagram: "At worst I'll be dismissed from the national team.. No problem. I'd sacrifice that for one hair on the heads of Iranian women.

"This story will not be deleted. They can do whatever they want. Shame on you for killing so easily; long live Iranian women."

Iran will play England on November 21 in their first game of the tournament.

The squad also includes Brentford's Saman Ghoddos, Porto's Mehdi Taremi, and ex-Brighton man Alireza Jahanbakhsh.

Iran World Cup 2022 squad

Goalkeepers: Alireza Beiranvand (Persepolis), Amir Abedzadeh (Ponferradina), Seyed Hossein Hosseini (Esteghlal), Payam Niazmand (Sepahan)

Defenders: Ehsan Hajsafi (AEK Athens), Morteza Pouraliganji (Persepolis), Ramin Rezaeian (Sepahan), Milad Mohammadi (AEK Athens), Hossein Kanaanizadegan (Al Ahli), Shojae Khalilzadeh (Al Ahli), Sadegh Moharrami (Dinamo Zagreb), Rouzbeh Cheshmi (Esteghlal), Majid Hosseini (Kayserispor), Abolfazl Jalali (Esteghlal)

Midfielders: Ahmad Noorollahi (Shabab Al Ahli), Saman Ghoddos (Brentford), Vahid Amiri (Persepolis), Saeid Ezatolahi (Vejle), Alireza Jahanbakhsh (Feyenoord), Mehdi Torabi (Persepolis), Ali Gholizadeh (Charleroi), Ali Karimi (Kayserispor)

Forwards: Karim Ansarifard (Omonia Nicosia), Sardar Azmoun (Bayer Leverkusen), Mehdi Taremi (Porto)

Who are likely to be the star names in the squad?

Iran’s main star in Qatar will most likely be Mehdi Taremi, who scored 20 league goals last season to fire Porto to the Portuguese title. He has performed in the Champions League, with his brilliant bicycle kick against Chelsea in 2021 being nominated for a Puskas award.

He has brought his scoring form to the national team, with four goals in qualifying, including the winner against Iraq that secured their place at the World Cup.

Other names to look out for are Bayer Leverkusen forward Sardar Azmoun, and Alireza Jahanbaksh, the captain, who once scored with an overhead kick for Brighton against Chelsea.

Could Iran be expelled from the tournament?

Former Fifa president Sepp Blatter is the latest voice to call for Iran's expulsion from the World Cup, with less than one week until the tournament's opening ceremony.

In comments reported on in the Swiss newspaper Blick, Blatter said that Iran "should be excluded" following the country's eruption of widespread protests, and that if he was in charge, he would have removed the nation.

Just weeks before Iran's opening tie against England, Fifa received an official appeal from the Ukrainian FA to throw Iran out of the tournament after “kamikaze” drones made by the country were used in a wave of attacks by Russia against Ukraine.

Several people were killed, according to the Ukrainian government, during strikes that included the use of explosives-packed Shahed-136 drones which detonate upon impact with a target.

Iranian sports personalities, and the group Open Stadiums, have also requested that Fifa bar the country from the 2022 competition. Among the latest to speak out was ex-national team goalkeepers Sosha Makani, who shared an Instagram video in early November that urged fans not to travel to Qatar as the government would likely use their support as endorsement of the regime.

In protests on the pitch, Iran's footballers risked the wrath of their country's political leaders by covering up their country's symbols before September's friendly against Senegal to protest against the brutal repression of women in the Middle East country, doing the same

Iran has been engulfed by mass demonstrations after 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini died in custody while she was being detained by the so-called morality police for breaking the country’s strict Islamic dress code.

Human rights groups have long questioned why the country are even permitted to compete at the World Cup, given that women have been generally prevented from from attending domestic football matches in the country between 1979 and this August.

Barring women from stadiums is against Fifa rules, and critics say that the recent softening of the country's stance is unlikely to last.

What are Iran’s fixtures?

How are Iran shaping up?

Iran are beginning to establish themselves as World Cup regulars, with the 2022 World Cup in Qatar being the third consecutive tournament for which they have qualified.

They also go into the tournament in strong form, having only lost one game in qualifying and will play England in their first match. Their final game of the group stage is a grudge match against the USA. The team's victory over the USA at the 1998 World Cup is still regarded as a high point in the country's sporting history and they have met only once since: a 1-1 draw in California in 2000.

Earlier this year Carlos Queiroz was re-appointed as head coach. Queiroz is best known to British football fans as Sir Alex Ferguson's right-hand man at Manchester United. He also managed Real Madrid for a short period in 2003-04. In international football he has managed six different countries, but his longest spell was in charge of Iran between 2011 and 2019, when he stood down owing to health problems.

At the beginning of September, however, the Iranian FA confirmed that the Portuguese would replace Croatia's Dragan Skocic, who qualified the Iranians for the finals and won 15 out of 18 games during his time in charge.

What is Iran’s World Cup record?

Iran have appeared in five World Cup finals (1978, 1998, 2006, 2014, 2018) before Qatar, but have never reached the knockout stages. Their 1-0 win over Morocco at the Russia World Cup in 2018 was only their second win in the tournament.

Their results in recent times have not gone according to what Iran’s performances merited, however. The four points they got in 2018 (which included a draw against Portugal and a narrow loss against Spain) would usually have been enough to progress from the group stages. In 2014 it took a late moment of magic from Lionel Messi to stop Iran holding finalists Argentina to a goalless draw.

While they are the lowest-ranked team in Group B, Iran will hope that 2022 will be the World Cup where they finally reach the knockout rounds.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, bottom, is fouled by Iran's Saeid Ezatolahi to give away a penalty - AP
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, bottom, is fouled by Iran's Saeid Ezatolahi to give away a penalty - AP

Argentina | Australia | Belgium | Brazil | Cameroon | Canada | Costa Rica | Croatia | Denmark | Ecuador | England | France | Germany | Ghana | Iran | Japan | Mexico | Morocco | Netherlands | Poland | Portugal | Qatar | Saudi Arabia | Senegal | Serbia | South Korea | Spain | Switzerland | Tunisia | Uruguay | USA | Wales

Latest odds

Iran to cause an upset against the UK contingent? See all the latest group winner odds

Iran are currently a best price of 750/1 to win the World Cup.

The leading contenders...

  • Brazil 4/1

  • Argentina 11/2

  • France 6/1

  • England 8/1

  • Spain 17/2

  • Germany 10/1

Information correct as of November 13