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Discussion Starter #122
Seems like Iran's unknowns stepped up while your supposed stars were more subdued, then.

Long story short Queiroz wants to throw off Spain and Portugal. He keeps changing lineups, even refused to have that Lithuania match televized so teams can have as little information as possible.

In regard to the defensive line, I expect it will stay the way it is because Queiroz wants guys that are younger and more energetic, even if they are vulnerable. This is why I think Cheshmi was brought to the WC while veteran Jalal Hosseini was left home. I recall he ran out of gas (as did others) in the 2014 Bosnia match. He wants guys that can play the entire 90 minutes. Not 65 minute types. I have no clue whether or not Milad Mohammadi will start against Spain and Portugal. While he's capable of having good games and was integral in our defense in AFC, in some of the friendlies he was a bit erratic and nervous. Even loses some of his pace (an element that's supposed to be his strength) This is going to be a big "?". But expect Pouraliganji, Cheshmi and Rezaeian to be there.

People were 50/50 about Omid Ebrahimi before the match. I was personally neutral because I haven't had too much exposure to him but I thought it was the most logical choice to include him in our lineup because Ezatolahi our main defensive midfielder was suspended for the first match. We needed some kind of replacement and Omid filled in brilliantly. He was easily the MoM. If he's not injured, we might see him partner up with Ezatolahi against Spain and Portugal, but if he is injured Ezatolahi will start and someone else will take his spot in midfield, probably Hajsafi.

Our attack had a poor performance tonight. No doubt. I hope the victory can help Azmoun settle in mentally. I also think Jahanbakhsh will be fine, looks like his legs cramped up a bit but he should be back.

Now the other 3 guys. Shojaei helps a lot with some of the dirty defensive work and is supposed to help our transitions from defense to attack. Sometimes he does that thanks to his dribbling skills and some expected passing. But this guy has a few issues unfortunately that can plague us. 1) lacks pace 2) known to make careless challenges that are rewarded easily with a card 3) mentally unstable and loses his cool when the going gets tough 4) in the final third he will deliberately try to go for glory by dribbling multiple defenders with his pathetic wishful thinking mentality instead of being a man and going for the extra pass to the open teammate. This guy is supposed to be our captain but he's also our Achilles heel at various moments of the match. I personally think it is going to be high risk to use him against the like of Spain and Portugal. We'll see what happens.

Vahid Amiri one of the lesser players had a good showing today. Worked really hard, was a little bit tidier with the passing today than his past showings, just did what was expected of him. Mainly helped facilitate the passing.Though I'm not sure if he will start against Spain/Portugal. We still have stronger options. We'll see.

Ansarifard has been experimented in different areas of midfield but he's been inconsistent for a time now. Feel nervous starting him against Spain/Portugal.

A lot of our fans are hoping to see Saman Ghoddos start one of these games. As a sub in those brief 10 minutes he won a foul that led to that corner kick. He's capable of playing in different midfield positions. Dejagah is a brilliant player but there are some uncertainties regarding his fitness. Not sure when he'll be used. But I feel optimistic whenever both of them are in action.
 

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Discussion Starter #123
Update:

Rouzbeh Cheshmi is injured. I'm sorry for him but it is what it is.

This means, either Majid Hosseini (young talent) or Pejman Montazeri (veteran) will have to replace him.
My assumption is he'll go with Hosseini. Given he's used him as a substitute against Morocco and he'll want someone with as much energy as possible for the upcoming two matches. All or nothing at this point and it is best not to start with a CB with less energy. This is Spain we're talking about.

I believe we'll probably have Milad Mohammadi back in one of the fullback slots. If this does happen, expect Hajsafi to move up in his more comfortable position as a left midfielder. This means Ansarifard will probably be removed.

Ezatolahi will start for sure. As will Omid Ebrahimi (seems like he's fine). So our center midfield will probably be Ezatolahi (taking that spot away from Amiri), Ebrahimi and Shojaei.

Some people think Azmoun might be replaced by another striker. I don't think so. It was his first WC match, he was nervous. The game is also in Kazan, which is like home to him. So he should be starting again.

Predicted starters against Spain: Beiranvand, Mohammadi, Hosseini, Pouraliganji, Rezaeian, Ebrahimi, Ezatolahi, Shojaei, Hajsafi, Jahanbakhsh, Azmoun.
 

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Discussion Starter #124 (Edited)
Queiroz with a brand new lineup again. This time around though no Shojaei! Very interesting:

Beiranvand, with the same backline as the Morocco match (except Hosseini filling in for the injured Cheshmi), meaning Hajsafi will start in the left fullback spot.
Ebrahimi and Ezatolahi will partner up as our DMs which came true.
Ansarifard and Amiri also return from the Morocco match, as our wide midfielders, the biggest change being Taremi as our center midfielder over Shojaei.
Seems like he trusts Taremi. This is going to be very interesting. Let's just see what happens now.
 

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Discussion Starter #125 (Edited)
The Iran-Spain match had that similar tragic vibe to the Iran-Argentina match in the 2014 World Cup. This time a goal was conceded through a deflection, unfortunately. The team in desperation had to attack a little bit sooner than expected as a result. Overall, most of the players played their part. Defensively, we played dirtier given the talent of the opposition, ref let us get away with not getting a a yellow card or two in the first half. The first 45 minutes as expected were sitting back and letting Spain do the hard work. Once the second half occurred, Spain started to go more tiki taka short passing in the box and eventually they were able to get a reward. Played well in both ends of the pitch. Opportunities were there for him but he wasn't able to convert. Vahid Amiri did his usual running/hustling, passing, facilitating and worked really hard and was an important part in those build-ups to those attacks. Took on Carvajal in that battle and won it. If only we were able to capitalize on a goal scoring opportunity. Majid Hosseini did well for an inexperienced young centerback talent. Played like a vet. Compensated greatly for Cheshmi's unfortunate injury absence. Ansarifard had a better showing. Our weakest player unfortunately was Azmoun. Part of that was because of our defensive tactics leaving him stranded but his defensive challenges were quite frightening and he seemed to be gassed sooner than the rest of the team.

Looking back at the game in hindsight, we need to bring the same level intensity against Portugal except with offensive football from the beginning of the match since they're going to defend and counter. Actually, the same lineup can work. All guys more or less were able to contribute defensively and offensively when the opportunities arose. Maybe we can swap Hajsafi for Mohammadi but that's optional. I had thoughts about Goochannejad in for Azmoun, but if we're going to play offensive football then there shouldn't be any problems this time around and I guess it is okay for Sardar to start. It seems like he struggled in the last two games but it seems the tactics and play were too difficult in creating enough sufficient opportunities for him. I can empathize now. Understandable. If we play attacking football, this shouldn't be an issue anymore and he should be able to play his usual game and receive more opportunities. The rest is mental.
 

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Discussion Starter #126
Seems like we're going with the same lineup except Jahabakhsh for Ansarifard. Good lineup. But...Portugal is starting Quaresma it appears. Not good for Iran. Let's just hope for the best. My prediction is 2-1 Portugal (Ronaldo, Quaresma, Azmoun). Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #127
That was a good showing. Queiroz let us attack from beginning to end. We changed the tactics. Portugal didn't underestimate us and went with a striker(Silva) and also the experienced winger Quaresma who I knew was going to hurt us and he did. Good goal by him. Unfortunately, our team lacked in the final third. Our counterattack build-ups were cleaner compared to that Spain game and even Morocco but the final plays were weak. IMHO, lucky to get that penalty in the end which gave us hope before the Taremi miss. Then again VAR has been controversial throughout this tournament. Moving forward, I hope we can maintain the solid defending and work more on the one-two plays and final touches. Our strikers usually mess up there. Our 2018 side has outperformed the 2014 and 1998 teams. They proved to be the better side. Good on them!
 
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