(IranSportsPress.com | AFC)- Asia’s number one ranked side Iran begin their Road to Russia 2018 by entertaining 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts Qatar, who seek to qualify for the World Cup on their own merit.
- Iran coach Carlos Queiroz hopes for home comforts and a sell-out crowd at Azadi Stadium.
- Jose Daniel Carreno insists his Qatar side will be the surprise package in the FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.
- There are no suspensions or reported injuries for either team.
- Iran won Group D without losing a game, tallying six wins and two draws.
- Qatar were the first nation to qualify for the Russia 2018 Asian Qualifiers Final Round after winning Group C.
Date: 1 September 2016 (Thursday)
Kickoff time: 8pm IRST, 4:30pm GMT
Venue: Azadi Stadium, Tehran
Referee: Crishantha Dilan Perera (Sri Lanka)
Carlos Queiroz, Iran
“The celebrations for reaching the 2018 FIFA World Cup will begin for us tomorrow. Certainly, it will be a difficult path for each of the teams in the group. We will have difficult matches but I hope that we will secure one of the qualifying spots on this road. Our aim is to reach the World Cup finals. Last night I had a bad headache and had to take pills since choosing the starting squad is very difficult. The squad has no injuries and we have 25 prepared players who want to play tomorrow.
“Qatar is one of the main candidates for qualification and they have invested well in order to qualify. We will have a difficult match against Qatar. The Qataris have been preparing very well and they have good players but I hope the Azadi Stadium will be full of supporters and I hope that we will succeed tomorrow.”
Jose Daniel Carreno, Qatar
“Tomorrow, we will play our first match in the third qualifying round. Our first match is against the highest-ranked team in Asia and we have had plenty of time for analysis of Iran. We are prepared and know that Iran are the favourites to qualify. We will try to achieve a good result in tomorrow’s match.
“We are united; the coaching staff, players, everyone is prepared for success. If Iran beat us tomorrow it will be due to their quality of playing not because of any lack of unity among us. And if we beat Iran it will be due to Qatar’s qualities. We have a good chance to reach the World Cup finals. We know that Iran is the better ranked team but there are surprises in football. We will be one of those surprises.”
Head To Head Record
15/01/15 Qatar 0 – 1 Iran
05/06/13 Qatar 0 – 1 Iran
13/06/12 Iran 0 – 0 Qatar
29/02/12 Iran 2 – 2 Qatar
07/09/11 Qatar 1 – 1 Iran
Ones To Watch
Sardar Azmoun, Iran
Coming off the back of a break-out season at Russia’s FC Rostov, 21-year-old striker Sardar Azmoun is now widely acknowledged as one of the most talented Asian strikers. Tall, powerful and fast, Azmoun was top scorer for Team Melli in the second round of qualifying. “He has all the qualities to succeed at the highest level,” said Carlos Queiroz. “He is improving all the time and he could be a real star of Iranian and Asian football for years to come.”
Hassan Al Haydos, Qatar
Captain Hassan Al Haydos has had a strong creative influence on the Qatar national side in recent years, either providing the drive from attacking midfield, on the flanks or up front while also delivering many of the team’s set plays. A fine free kick taker, the 26-year-old won the AFC Champions League with Al Sadd in 2011 and was Qatar’s Player of the Year in 2015. He was a member of the Gulf Cup winning side in 2014.