By Farrokh Hesabi

Iran aim to maintain undefeated run in 2022 World Cup qualification

November 9, 2021 - 17:34

TEHRAN - Iran national football team will face Lebanon in Group A of the 2022 World Cup qualification, attempting to maintain their undefeated run in the competition.

Iran have been dominant in Group A so far, standing on the top of the table with 10 points, two points clear of South Korea.

Dragan Skocic’s side have not lost in the opening four fixtures and have only conceded once so far, which came against South Korea when Tottenham Hotspur’s star, Son Heung-min, found the back of the net in Tehran.

However, the recent training camp of the national team went into the shadow of controversy.

Skocic surprised Iranian football fans when he opted not to pick the iconic forward Mehdi Taremi as part of his squad for this international break. It is believed that the player has been left out of the team because he had criticized Skocic on his Twitter account last month.

In an interview with his hometown’s media, the Croatian coach had pointed out that the Iranian players are so talented and excellent in individual techniques. Still, in terms of tactical issues, they need to make more progress.

Taremi reacted to the interview by twitting: “Iran players are tactically at a high level, and the problem is elsewhere.”

Taremi implicitly referred to the national team coach.

Iranian football expert, Bijan Zolfagharnasab, shared his opinion on the recent controversy in his interview with Tehran Times.

“It’s not correct to say that Iranian players are not tactically matured. Such an issue should be raised by the head coach of the national team. Most of the current national team’s squad play in European and Asian clubs. They are among the best players in their club and have proved their tactical abilities and knowledge of the game,” said the former coach of the national team.

“On the other hand, I believe that this story could have been better managed by the Iran football federation so that it would not become a controversial issue, on the eve of Iran’s important games in the World Cup qualifiers. I think both sides – Skocic and Taremi – made mistake in a crucial time for Iranian football. The problem must be solved by talking as soon as possible, and the federation should not be passive in this regard,” the Iranian expert added.

While it is believed Tarmei will be back in the next camp, it will provide opportunities for other players to shine in the attacking line.

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