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Iran

The squad that has thrice been the Asian champions has managed a third appearance in the World Cup finals. Though the line-up includes young players yet, the team is believed to be the best in their World Cup history.

india Updated: May 31, 2006 17:46 IST

FIFA world ranking 22
Coach Branko Ivankovic
Group D Portugal, Iran, Mexico, Angola
Previous appearances 2 times
Key player Ali Karimi
Odds 250/1

For the three-time Asian champions, this will be their third appearance in World Cup. Not bad, considering the fact Iran are a part of the weakest soccer continent on earth.

This time, they have a young team. But experts feel this is one of their finest teams ever to have come out from their country. Hopes will be high for a place in the second round.

But for them to turn that dream into reality, they have to ensure that they beat Angola in Group D and snatch a point from Mexico. There is no way they can ever earn a point against Portugal.

COMPLETE SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Mirzapour Ebrahim, Roudbarian Hassan, Talebloo Vahid

Defenders: Bakhtiarizadeh Sohrab, Golmohammadi Yahya, Rezaei Rahman, Kaabi Hossein, Zare Sattar, Sadeqi Amir Hossein, Nosrati Mohammad

Midfielders: Mahdavikia Mehdi, Nekounam Javad, Zandi Ferydoon, Karimi Ali, Teymourian Andranik, Madanchi Mehrzad, Shojaei Masoud

Forwards: Hashemian Vahid, Daei Ali, Khatibi Rasoul, Borhani Arash, Enayati Reza, Kazemeian Javad.