Iran are the most consistent side of recent times from the Middle East region, once again qualifying for the World Cup. They now have an experienced man in Carlos Quieroz in charge, experienced at International level with Portugal and having also served as Real Madrid boss, and Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant at Manchester United.
The Portuguese coach named the Iran World Cup squad earlier today, naming 24 players as opposed to 23 with Mohammad Khanzadeh on stand-by for the injured Hashem Beykzadeh.
Two Talent Radar youngsters make the list. Admittedly our knowledge on 22-yr-old Bakhtiar Rahmani is minimal but 20-yr-old Alireza Jahanbaksh who plays in the Dutch Eredivisie with NEC is an exciting prospect. He just about missed out on our list of 100 Best Young Players to Watch-out for in 2014.
Here is the Iran World Cup squad named by Quieroz:
GOALKEEPERS: Daniel Davari (Eintracht Braunschweig), Rahman Ahmadi (Sepahan Isfahan), Alireza Haqiqi (Sporting da Covilha)
DEFENDERS: Hossein Mahini (Persepolis), Jalal Hosseini (Persepolis), Amir Hossein Sadeqi (Esteghlal), Hashem Beykzadeh (Esteghlal), Mehrdad Pouladi (Persepolis), Ahmad Alenemeh (Naft Tehran), Pejman Montazeri (Umm Salal SC), Steven Beitashour (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh (Zob Ahan Isfahan)
MIDFIELDERS: Reza Haghighi (Persepolis), Andranik Teymourian (Esteghlal), Ghasem Hadadifar (Zob Ahan Isfahan), Bakhtiar Rahmani (Foolad), Javad Nekounam (Kuwait SC), Ehsan Hajsafi (Sepahan Isfahan)
FORWARDS: Khosrow Heidari (Esteghlal), Karim Ansarifard (Tractor Sazi), Reza Ghoochannejhad (Charlton Athletic), Alireza Jahanbakhsh (NEC),Masoud Shojaei (UD Las Palmas), Ashkan Dejagah (Fulham)