Interview by Farrokh Hesabi

Nobody should take Group B lightly, expert says

April 8, 2022 - 14:56

TEHRAN - Iranian football expert, Asghar Maziar, believes that Iran's World Cup group is not easy and nobody should take Group B lightly.

Iran have been drawn with England, the U.S., and one of Scotland, Wales, or Ukraine in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

“You go into a World Cup, there are no easy matches, and any team can beat any other team,” said the Iranian member of the AFC's Technical Study Group (TSG).

“Yes, it could be worse, but there is no easy draw in a tournament like the World cup. All the teams that qualified for the 2022 World Cup have tried successfully and are competently among the 32 teams. It’s clear that they are ready to do their best in such a prestigious event. So, there is no easy opponents,” he said.

“However, some teams have a great history in the football world, such as Brazil, France, Spain, and England, whose names are big for every rivals. But in this edition of the World Cup, almost all groups are distributed equally in terms of the power of the teams,” he added.

The 'Persian Leopards' are looking to book a spot in the next stage for the first time.

“Technically, when we look, we see that England are at their peak. On the other hand, the U.S. also have good players. The third opponents are not clear yet, but apart from that obvious point, England, who are the best in the group, the other teams are also strong, and no one are weaker than Iran national team,” he said.

When asked about the appropriate tactical approach for Iran in the World Cup, Maziar said: “It depends on the thinking of the national team's head coach, Dragan Skocic.

“First of all, we have to see if Skocic will stay - or will be kept – in the team or not. Then we should define our strategy for the World Cup. We have to think about not conceding against our opponents, then try to score and get points in each match. England are our first rivals, and we have to think about a dream start in the tournament to continue in the best way possible.

“We have an excellent offensive line with Mehdi Taremi and Sardar Azmoun, but who will deliver the ball to them in the midfield? that's an important question. In the game against Lebanon, two long passes were sent from the defensive line to the offensive line, but our midfield line couldn't assist or create opportunities," Maziar concluded.

Iran, No. 21 in the current FIFA world rankings, will kick off thr World Cup campaign in Qatar against fifth-ranked England on Nov. 21 before facing Wales/Scotland/Ukraine on Nov. 25. The Iranians will close out Group B play on Nov. 30 versus the U.S. (No. 15 in FIFA ranking).

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