By user Bobo
Iran are a surprising bunch, for sure. I remember highlights shown of their 19-goal rout against Guam back in 2000. They showed every single goal back to back within one minute, and it was a heck of a sight.
Iran and Japan were the first two teams to qualify for this tournament, giving Team Melli their third foray into the World Cup. As for previous international experience, they were champions for three consecutive Asian Cup tournaments, and have qualified twice for previous world cups. Amongst their lineup are players are a strong German contingent, including Kaiserslautern midfielder Ferydoon Zandi, and captain Ali Daei, the world's all-time leading goal scorer in international matches. (Among them, the eight goals he scored in the 17-0 thrashing of The Maldives), currently ranked at 137 in the world, a single place above the Faroe Islands.
Their qualifying group consists of the mighty Portugal and Mexico, but also of first-time qualifiers Angola, against whom a result could go eitherway. To save face, at least, it would be interesting to see Iran get a result, and, who knows, by the second day of competition in Group D, we might even see them occupying second place in the table.
Currently enjoying their presence in the West Asian Football Federation Championship, the Iranians have finished as winners twice, which bodes well for international experience, however, Ali Daei aside, they're somewhat lacking in household names. Still, the team could easily pull off a shock if they come good against Angola, which is always a distinct possibility.