News & Views
Iranian soccer team's final make-up
Ahmadreza Abedzadeh (Pirouzi), age 32 (33 on May 26), 65 caps. An experienced keeper, athletic, confident, albeit some sayover-confident. Has been criticised for his penchant for theatrics, but should hold his own in France.
Nima Nakisa (Pirouzi), 22 (23 on May 1), 0 caps. A young, rising star, seen as Iran's future goalkeeper. He has good skills, but there are still questions about his temperament.
Naeem Saadavi (Pirouzi), 26, 7 caps. An aggressive, attacking defender who works hard on the right side of the team. Sometimes neglects his defensive duty in his eagerness to get forward.
Mohammad Khakpour (Pirouzi), 29, 36 caps. Seen as the anchor of Iran's defence. Solid, tough, and strong. Honed his skills in Singapore helping Geylang United to the championship there.
Ali Akbar Ostad Asadi (Zob-e-Ahan), 32, 29 caps. Unlike Saadavi, he prefers to stay back in his defensive role on the left side of the defence. May be past his peak.
Mehdi Pashazadeh (Esteghlal), 24, 3 caps. A tall, athletic defender who usually man-marks the opposing team's star striker. Physically imposing and brave.
Afshin Peyravani (Pirouzi), 28, 37 caps. A good defender but criticised for a tendency to have mental lapses. Experienced but has had injury problems of late.
Javad Zarrincheh (Esteghlal), 32, 54 caps. Resurrected by new coach Tomislav Ivic after being dropped by Majeli Kohan. A veteran defender, alert,reliable, and solid. Has also had fitness problems, however.
Reza Torabian (Pirouzi), 26, 1 cap. Lacks experience but has come on well this season. Could make the bench.
Reza Rezaeimanesh (Pirouzi), 28, 12 caps. A tough, hard-tackling defender who may just make the final 22.
Farshad Falahadzadeh (Bahman), 27, 12 caps. Has returned to the national team after being banned on doping charges. Yet another attacking defender. Not one to back down from a fight, critics say he plays with a chip on his shoulder.
Karim Bagheri (Arminia Bielefeld, Germany), 24, 43 caps. Supremely talented, one of Iran's 'German trio'. Confident, tough, aggressive and likes shooting from outside the box. Iran's leading scorer in World Cup qualifying rounds, with 19 goals in all.
Hamid Estili (Bahman), 31, 43 caps. Complements Bagheri in the middle and is a dangerous goal-scorer in his own right. Gained valuable experience Singapore's soccer leagues.
Mehdi Mahdavikia (Pirouzi), 20, 23 caps. Speedy, dangerous midfielder. Short, stocky and strong, he is well capable of exploiting slow opposing defenders.
Farhad Majidi (Esteghlal), 21 (22 on June 3), 12 caps. A gifted young player with excellent ball skills who is said to be mature beyond his years. Likely to be on the bench in France.
Mehrdad Minavand (Pirouzi), 22, 22 caps. An attacking midfielder who is brilliant one minute and awful the next. Has good technique and is capable of crossing superbly.
Alireza Mansourian (Esteghlal), 25, 32 caps. A calming influence in the middle of the pitch. Passes the ball well and use his intelligence.
Reza Shahroudi (Pirouzi), 26, 33 caps. His experience in Turkey playing against European-calibre players stands him in good stead. Works down the left and likes dribbling and has good touch.
Sirous Deenmohammadi (Shahrdari Tabriz), 29, 15 caps. Recalled by Ivic and has impressed in recent friendlies to make a late bid for a place in the squad for France.
Alireza Akbarpour (Esteqlal), 23, 0 caps. A young player who has made an impact in training and could sneak into squad.
Khodadad Azizi (Cologne, Germany), 26 (27 on June 22), 26 caps. The 1996 Asian Player of the Year. A dazzling striker with good speed and a fine touch and finish. Has fared well in Germany and will be Iran's main threat to opposing teams in France.
Ali Daei (Arminia Bielefeld), 29, 49 caps. A fiery, tough goalscorer. Tall and effective in the air, he has been dubbed 'The Finisher' for his scoring ability. Scored seven goals in one game against the Maldives in qualifying.
Sattar Hamedani (Bahman), 22, 3 caps. Another young player with a bright future who will benefit from the experience of going to France. Ali Mousavi (Pas), 24, 8 caps. A useful young forward who crosses well and has shown good speed down the flanks in friendlies.