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World Cup: Iran lands Russia first


Iran’s national football team Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz and his footballers arrive at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport on June 5, 2018, to take part in the 2018 FIFA World Cup football tournament in Russia. / AFP PHOTO / Yuri KADOBNOV

With few days to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the Iranian national team have handed themselves a “first” this evening when they became the first national team to land Russia for the World Cup starting June 14.

The three-time Asian Cup winner “easily” qualified for their second successive World Cup, going unbeaten in 10 matches in their Asian group, but lost 2:1 to Turkey in their last friendly on May 28, with one last World Cup warmup match against Lithuania on June 8.

The Carlos Queiroz’s side ranked 36 by FIFA will begin begin their campaign against Group B rivals Morocco on June 15 in Nizhny Novgorod. Afterwards they travel to Kazan for a June 20 clash against former World Cup winners Spain, before concluding their group stage matches against Portugal on June 25.


Meanwhile bookmakers already putting the odds of Iran winning the global football event at 500 to 1. They will be based at the training facilities of the Russian Premier League club Lokomotiv Moscow, on the Russian capital’s southwestern outskirts.

The Iranian team fondly called “Team Mell” is coached by Portugal’s Carlos Queiroz, who has also managed the South Africa national team in 2002, Real Madrid in 2003/2004, Portugal in 2010 World Cup and took over as Iran coach in 2011.

Since their World Cup debut in 1978, Iran are yet to make their first knockout stage of a World Cup and are desperate to make the mark at this year’s competition which ends July 15.

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