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Rediff.com  » Sports » Penpix of Iran's World Cup squad

Penpix of Iran's World Cup squad

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May 29, 2006 18:36 IST

Iran's squad for the World Cup finals in Germany comprises the following 23 players:

(Statistics up to and including May 24 2006)

GOALKEEPERS

1-Ebrahim Mirzapour (Foolad Khuzistan) Born: 16.9.78 Caps: 62 Goals: 0

Since making his debut against Bosnia in 2001, Mirzapour has established himself as first-choice goalkeeper for Iran. Has a commanding presence and is not afraid to throw himself at anything, including the feet of opposing strikers.

12-Hassan Roudbarian (Pas) Born: 6.7.78. Caps 2. Goals 0  

Played a key role for his club Pas in their 2004 championship-winning season and eventually made his debut for Iran against Costa Rica in March 2006 in a World Cup warm-up match.

22-Vahid Taleblou (Esteghlal) Born: 26.5.82. Caps 1. Goals 0

Made his debut against Taiwan in February during an Asian Cup 2007 qualifying match. It remains his only cap so far.

DEFENDERS

3-Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh (Saba Battery) Born: 11.9.72. Caps 33. Goals 2

Bakhtiarizadeh formerly played in the Turkish league with Erzumspor but has enjoyed much success with Saba Battery, helping his club to qualify for this season's AFC Champions League. His ability to score goals aided his recall to the national team. Made his debut against Qatar in 1997.

19-Amir Hossein Sadeghi (Esteghlal) Born: 6.9.81 Caps 1. Goals 0.

Sadeghi made his debut for Iran against Bosnia in 2005 and solid performances for his club side Esteghlal earned him a call-up for the World Cup. He has scored several goals for his club from set pieces.

4-Yahya GolMohammadi (Saba Battery) Born: 19.3.71 Caps: 76. Goals: 4

One of the elder statesmen of the national squad. GolMohammadi is central to Iran's defence, providing experience and a cool head when his team are under pressure. Has been a regular in the team for more than eight years, since making his debut against Kenya in April 1997.

13-Hosein Kaebi (Foolad Khuzistan) Born: 23.9.85. Caps: 47. Goals: 2

Kaebi is one of the great finds from the Iranian footballing hotbed of Khuzistan. Only 20, the one-time Wolves triallist made his senior debut at the age of 16 against Slovakia. Destined for a lengthy spell in the first team, his main drawback is his tendency to collect yellow and red cards.

20-Mohammad Nosrati (Pas) Born: 11.1.82 Caps: 42. Goals 3

Nosrati is among the new generation of Iranian players who made their debuts against Jordan in 2002 and have since established themselves in the first team. He won a gold medal with the national team at the Asian Games in 2002.

5-Rahman Razaei (Messina, Italy) Born: 20.2.75. Caps: 41. Goals 2

The former Esfahan defender caught the eye of Italian side Perugia, for whom he became a regular fixture before moving on to Messina. Razaei made his debut for Iran against Bosnia in 2001 and is often used as an attacking ploy by joining the front line during corners and free-kicks.

18-Sattar Zare (Bargh Shiraz) Born: 27.1.82 Caps: 19. Goals 0

First played for "Team Melli" as Iran is nicknamed, against Thailand in 2004 after making an impression for the under-23 side. A solid defender who likes to go forward.

MIDFIELDERS

23-Masoud Shojaei (Saipa). Born: 9.6.84 Caps: 1 Goals: 0

Young attacking midfielder who has impressed with the under-23s. Initially seemed an unlikely starter in the World Cup but scored in the friendly win over Swiss side SV Lyss in Iran's training camp this month and could make a late run into the side.

17-Javad Kazemian (Perspolis) Born: 23.4.81. Caps: 28. Goals: 1.

Kazemian is mostly remembered for his goal that beat Japan in the final of the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, South Korea. He was previously a member of the Olympic team and is among the key figures in the Iran senior team.

2-Mehdi Mahdavikia (Hamburg SV, Germany) Born: 24.7.77. Caps: 89. Goals: 12

One of the most celebrated players in the squad, Mahdavikia burst on to the global spotlight with an outstanding goal in Iran's 2-1 victory over the United States at the 1998 World Cup in France. The 2003 Asian Player of the Year is also Iran's most successful overseas-based player.  

6-Javad Nekounam (Pas) Born: 7.9.80 Caps: 72. Goals 12

One of Iran's best and most popular players, Nekounam was among the list of 10 initial nominees for the Asian Football Confederation's Player of the Year Award. His qualities as either a defensive or attacking midfielder have made him a key part of the national team set-up.

7-Ferydoon Zandi (FC Kaiserslautern, Germany) Born: 26.4.79. Caps: 9. Goals 1

Zandi delighted Iran fans when he decided to play for Team Melli instead of the country of his birth, Germany. He was rewarded with his first cap against Bahrain in February 2005. The former German youth representative has an Iranian father and German mother.

21-Mehrzad Madanchi (Perspolis) Born: 19.10.81. Caps: 5. Goals 2

Madanchi Ardakani was part of the Iranian Olympic team at the Athens Games in 2004. He made his senior debut in August 2003 against Belarus in Minsk.  

14-Andranik Taymoorian (Abo Moslem) Born: 6.3.83. Caps: 5. Goals 1

Came up through the Iranian age-group ranks and played a key role for Iran at under-23 level in the Islamic Solidarity Games where the Iranians finished third. Made his senior debut against Libya last August.

FORWARDS

11-Rasoul Khatibi (Sepahan) Born: 22.9.78. Caps 14. Goals 0.

Has made intermittent appearances for the national team since his debut against Kuwait in 1999. Khatibi has been scoring goals regularly for his club over the past season, earning him a chance to make an impact at the World Cup.

15-Arash Borhani (Pas) Born: 14.9.83. Caps: 21. Goals: 7  

Regarded as the successor to Ali Daei, Borhani first came to prominence during the under-23 team's Olympic qualifying campaign. He made his senior debut against Iraq in August 2003 and was also part of the 2004 Asian Cup squad.

10-Ali Daei (Saba Battery) Born: 21.3.69. Caps: 145 Goals 109

Daei made history this year as the first man to score more than 100 international goals, something not even Pele managed to do. The Iran skipper is a hero in his home country and Germany 2006 is likely to be his final World Cup. Has been part of the national team for more than 12 years, since making his debut in 1993 against Pakistan.

9-Vahid Hashemian (Hanover 96, Germany) Born: 21.7.76. Caps: 26. Goals 10

Hashemian quickly established himself as the bad boy of Iranian football, having previously snubbed the team because he was given little playing time. However, he has since patched up his differences and is expected to be given more chances to showcase his excellent skills.

8-Ali Karimi (Bayern Munich, Germany) Born: 8.11.78. Caps: 89 Goals 32  

Karimi was voted Asian Player of the Year for 2004. He finished joint top scorer with five goals at the 2004 Asian Cup in China and is crucial to Iran's World Cup hopes.

16-Gholam Reza Eneyati (Esteghal) Born: 23.9.76. Caps: 16. Goals 4

A solid back-up to the main strikers who was part of the 2004 Asian Cup squad that finished third in China. He was the top scorer in the Iran Pro League in 2004-05, which may help to push him up the order.

Source:
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