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Asia's best team could be awkward opponents

Iran's Sardar Azmoun (left) and Mehdi Taremi
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Manager Carlos Queiroz

Goals in Iran matches are likely to be scarce but they have shown themselves to be Asia's best side and will be awkward opponents in Russia.

Iran scored only ten goals in as many qualifiers in the final round of Asian preliminaries, keeping nine clean sheets. The only two goals they conceded came against Syria after Carlos Queiroz's men had secured a finals berth.

Queiroz builds his side from the back and the foundations are laid on defensive solidity, a point highlighted at the last World Cup when Argentina were nullified for 90 minutes until Lionel Messi scored an injury-time winner for the eventual finalists.

Nine of Iran's ten final qualifiers finished with under 2.5 goals but they have two decent counter-attacking options in Rubin Kazan's Sardar Azmoun and AZ Alkmaar's lively winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh.


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Iran scored only ten goals in as many qualifiers in the final round of Asian preliminaries, keeping nine clean sheets
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