Jahanbakhsh says Iran ready to upset at World Cup – Reuters

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Jahanbakhsh, who spent three seasons at Brighton before leaving for Feyenoord last summer, admits the squad will be “difficult” but says Iran will come to the tournament prepared.

When asked if he wanted to be paired with Gareth Southgate’s side, he told Sky Sports News: “Not really, to be honest! England was the last team I would have chosen, but it happened!

“England could easily have three best teams in the World Cup at the moment, it’s really well organized with the manager. The team have worked together for a long time and know their strategy.

“Obviously the United States are a strong team, they have a good generation now and most of their players play in Europe. And we still have to wait for the third team but we have to respect Scotland a lot, the Country of Wales and Ukraine I don’t know much about Ukraine but the other two teams have made a lot of progress.

“It’s going to be very difficult to be honest, but we’re going to be ready for this, prepared for this and we’re going to make our nation proud.”

Iran, who have never faced England before, are ranked 21st in the world, having topped Asian qualifying groups for the last two World Cups.

And Jahanbakhsh says participants who are used to the warm winter weather will be better suited to conditions in Qatar.

“On the one hand, it will be a very unique World Cup,” he added. “It will be in winter, for the first time it will be in the Middle East.” Many people will gather from different countries, cold countries and going to Qatar will make a big difference.

Iran qualified for the World Cup after picking up 25 out of a possible 30 points in qualifying, with Jahanbakhsh’s side finishing ahead of tournament regulars South Korea, who have world-class talent like Heung -Min Son by his side.

“I would say that collectively we are a very good team. We also have good individuals, but in the last three or four years we have been at the top in Asia, so we are very respected there,” concluded Jahanbakhsh.


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