They’ve entered the FIFA World Cup before, but never progressed beyond the group stage.

This time also, they got eliminated from the Group Stage itself.

A strong defence was Iran’s main strength. They repeatedly depended on dogged defensive work to frustrate their opponents in the qualifiers.

Even when facing Argentina’s formidable attack at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Iran tenaciously resisted until Lionel Messi broke their hearts with a single goal in injury time.

Queiroz likely went with a 4-2-3-1 formation and appeared unlikely to tinker with his lineup too much.

In recent years, Iran has ranked near the top in Asia, ahead of South Korea and Japan. But couldn’t be able to qualify for the next stage of the tournament.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh

Alireza Jahanbakhsh

The striker arrived in Russia in top form, having plundered 21 league goals for Dutch side AZ Alkmaar, becoming the first Asian player to be top goalscorer in a mainstream European league.

Iran came up with a team of another star forwards like Mehdi Taremi and Sardar Azmoun. Here’s a full squad of Iran:

23-man squad – 

GOALKEEPERS: Alireza Beiranvand (Persepolis), Rashid Mazaheri (Zob Ahan), Amir Abedzadeh (Maritimo).

DEFENDERS: Majid Hosseini (Esteghlal), Ramin Rezaeian (Ostende), Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh (Padideh), Morteza Pouraliganji (Alsaad), Pejman Montazeri (Esteghlal), Milad Mohammadi (Akhmat Grozny), Roozbeh Cheshmi (Esteghlal).

MIDFIELDERS: Saeid Ezatolahi (Amkar Perm), Masoud Shojaei (AEK Athens), Mehdi Torabi (Saipa), Omid Ebrahimi (Esteghlal), Ehsan Haji Safi (Olympiacos), Karim Ansarifard (Olympiacos), Vahid Amiri (Persepolis).

FORWARDS: Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ Alkmaar), Mehdi Taremi (Al Gharafa), Sardar Azmoun (Rubin Kazan), Reza Ghoochannejhad (Heerenveen), Saman Ghoddos (Ostersunds), Ashkan Dejagah (Nottingham Forest).