World Cup 2006 Preview – Iran

| Total Words: 433

Outright Odds: 750/1
Group D Winners: 14/1

Irans last appearance in the World Cup, back in 1998, produced a shock 2-1 victory over the United States, in what could have been described as a very diplomatic result. After qualifying emphatically for this years tournament, including a 2-1 home victory over Japan, Iran will be expected to more than merely make up the numbers.

Iran won nine out of their 11 matches and qualified with a match to spare, although were pipped to the top spot by Japan, who beat them in the return fixture in the final round of fixtures.

Their efforts did not go unnoticed and they ranked at an all-time high of 15 in June 2005, ahead of fellow qualifiers Ukraine and Sweden and European champions Greece. To give you some idea of their position in the world game, they were rated just one place below Italy.

Iran are blessed with a plethora of attacking talent. Veteran striker and captain Ali Daei is the most prolific ever in international football with over 100 goals to his name and he topped the Asian scoring charts with nine qualifying goals. He will be 37 in Germany and this will surely be his last major...

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