Iranians showed themselves to be formidable opponents  in the first two matches, particularly in defense.
Iranians showed themselves to be formidable opponents  in the first two matches, particularly in defense.

Team Melli on Verge of Making History

Team Melli on Verge of Making History

Iran is on the brink of creating history and European champion Portugal can expect a highly charged Team Melli when the two sides clash in the FIFA World Cup Group B match at the Mordovia Arena in Saransk on Monday.
Both sides go into their final group game hoping it will not be their last appearance in Russia 2018, AFC website wrote.
The critical issue is that even a draw will be enough for Portugal to progress, while Iran needs a win to qualify further on and break new ground in the process. Iran has never advanced past the group stage in the previous four appearances.
Iranians showed themselves to be formidable opponents in the first two matches, particularly in defense. Their resilience was rewarded with a clean sheet against Morocco, while one mistake cost them against world champion Spain.
All things considered, the squad was far more threatening going forward against Spain, creating a number of clear-cut chances.
It is an open secret that the Portuguese side revolves around and is anchored to Cristiano Ronaldo, 33, to whom the whole team is indebted for its four points so far.
Having bagged a hat-trick to earn the European champion a share of the spoils against Spain, Ronaldo hit the winner against Morocco to take his country a step closer to qualification.
Iran and Portugal have faced each other at the FIFA World Cup once before. That was in the Germany 2006 group stage, when Portugal won 2-0 with Ronaldo scoring his first goal in a World Cup.

 Queiroz vs. Ronaldo
Iran’s Portuguese national coach Carlos Queiroz, 65, who has been with the team for seven years, had two spells managing Portugal during 1991-1993 and 2008-2010, AFP reported.
Ronaldo and Queiroz are both appearing in their fourth World Cup, as player and coach respectively, and their relationship dates back to the Portugal captain’s arrival as a teenager at Manchester United in 2003 when Queiroz served as Alex Ferguson’s assistant in the club.
Queiroz, who was in charge of Real Madrid in 2003-2004, also helped Ronaldo join the Spanish club in 2009. But their relationship soured following Portugal’s elimination in the 2010 World Cup and Ronaldo suggesting that Queiroz was to blame for big loss.
Four years later in 2014 World Cup Brazil, Portugal crashed out in the group stage. However, this time around Ronaldo is single-handedly leading his nation’s quest in Russia with all four of his team’s goals so far.
Queiroz has called the game against Portugal “the most interesting and important match in my seven years with Iran”.
“We will keep on working for our dreams, and our dream is to try and qualify for the second round,” he said. “We know it will be difficult, but as I said before we came here and didn’t expect easy things”.


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