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World Cup Host Russia Halted by Team Melli in Friendly

World Cup Host Russia Halted by Team Melli in FriendlyWorld Cup Host Russia Halted by Team Melli in Friendly

Iran and Russia national soccer teams drew 1-1 in a friendly match in Kazan, Russia, on Tuesday.

The game was part of preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. The host fell behind when Iran striker Sardar Azmoun beat back-up goalkeeper Andrei Lunev in the 57th minute after Mehdi Taremi powered through the Russian backline, Tasnim News Agency reported.

But Dmitry Poloz scored the equalizer in the 74th minute after receiving a pass from Alexander Samedov.

Iran defeated Togo 2-0 and Russia crushed South Korea 4-2 in friendly matches last week.

Three-time Asian champions, Iran, managed by Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz, finished first in its group during the World Cup qualifiers earlier in June and was the third team to secure a birth in Russia after the host and Brazil. The team did so with an unbeaten record during the qualifying games, a trend Team Melli has been keeping in friendlies as well.

The national team will be making a fifth World Cup appearance next year.

The World Cup finals will run from June 14-July 15, 2018 in 12 venues across 11 Russian cities including Moscow, St Petersburg and Sochi.

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