How will Iran fare at the 2022 World Cup? Join @SteTudor123 as he looks at the Persian Stars in his everything you need to know guide ahead of this winter's competition...

Iran History at the World Cup

This will be Iran’s sixth participation in a World Cup, their first taking them to Argentina in 1978 where an unexpected 1-1 draw with Scotland still prompts shudders from Glasgow to Edinburgh. 

That result has gone down historically as a major shock though in truth it was nothing of the kind, with Team Melli boasting a decent side throughout the Seventies.

Three decades after playing their first ever international fixture - previously there had only been a Tehran Select side – Iran won the Asian Cup on three occasions leading up to that famous night in Cordoba.

Sadly, the Iranian Revolution and a drawn-out conflict with neighbouring Iraq set football back, and substantially so, for a good many years thereafter, and with its domestic league disbanded it necessitated the Iranian Football Federation to start over, gaining a second wind in the Nineties. 

Qualification for the 1998, 2006, 2014 and 2018 finals is not only evidence that Iranian football is thriving once more but highlights the rich vein of talent that routinely emerges from the second-largest country in the Middle-East.  

Across each of these four campaigns, Team Melli exited at the group stage though two victories have been celebrated, most notably over the USA in ’98. 

Iran are a colossal 500/1 to triumph in Qatar, but with the Stars and Stripes again paired with them in the early meetings, don’t discount the possibility of another upsetting of the football betting odds, as history repeats itself.

Iran Nickname

Their most prominent nickname is ‘Team Melli’ that translates as ‘The National Team’ but in recent years a string of other monikers have come to the fore, including the ‘Persian Stars’ and the ‘Lions of Persia’.

The ‘Cheetahs’ is also gaining some popularity, due to the Asian cheetah being used on their 2014 World Cup jersey.

World Cup 2022 Group

Seeded in Pot 3, Iran were always going to get one very tough opponent and this they face in tournament third-favourites England.

It will be the first time the nations have encountered the other in international football. 

Another match-up with the USA will surely evoke memories of ’98, while in their second game, Iran test themselves against another side from the UK in Wales. 

Iran Fixtures:

Iran Kit World Cup 2022

After ending their partnership with Adidas, Iran opted for an Iranian sportswear company, Mijad, and the result is a home and away kit that is identical, save for the main hue, that is each pleasing to the eye.

Subtle use of the colours from their national flag livens up an otherwise plain design but what really makes it stand out is a green swoosh that envelops the badge.

Who Is The Iran Manager?

Having coached across the Middle-East, as well as his native Croatia, Dragan Skocic took the reins halfway through a failing qualification campaign, turning Iran’s fortunes around and guiding them to eight wins in ten.

The 54-year-old made the news this summer when he was sacked, then rehired just six days later, following a recent slump in performances.

Best Iran Player

Porto striker Mehdi Taremi is unquestionably Iran’s most valuable player, the Bushehr-born forward scoring 20 goals in Portugal’s Primeira Liga last season. 

Tall but far too skilful to be considered merely a targetman, Taremi also carries a lot of weight in the Iran dressing room, his criticism of Skocic partly contributing to his brief departure.

Iran Odds at 2022 World Cup

Though Iran’s World Cup odds have them down as rank outsiders, they are more than capable of springing a surprise on their day, furthermore, having the pedigree to prove it. Four points accrued in 2018 is testimony to that.

Wales and USA in particular would be wise not to view Team Melli as pushovers. 

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Stephen Tudor is a freelance football writer and sports enthusiast who only knows slightly less about the beautiful game than you do.

A contributor to FourFourTwo and Forbes, he is a Manchester City fan who was taken to Maine Road as a child because his grandad predicted they would one day be good.