The Iranian national team plays its first international football match on Swedish soil. We enlisted the help of Malmö player Omid Nazari for a closer look at Tuesday’s opponents. The MFF-trained 23-year-old not only is following Iran’s national team – he has played himself into for the team. In 2012 it he played in five appearances and scored a goal for the Iranian side.
– I was selected to the squad in 2012. It was really cool to experience it and compete with the best in Iran. They recruited Carlos Queiroz. He ruled the entire national team and has certainly achieved good results, says Omid Nazari.
Q: What has Queiroz achieved with Iran to lift?
– He has the experience, training Portuguese national team, Real Madrid and has been assistant to Sir Alex at Manchester United. He knows how it will work for taking the extra strides and get the organization in the squad and everything around it.
Q: What is he like as a coach?
– He knows what he wants and how he wants to play. There are clear lines and all the players know what to do. He is a good coach.
It is largely the same Iranian game plan now as it was three years ago.
– I think they will play 4-3-3. They have a good midfield and a good offensive players. The team works hard and can adapt quickly. They have clever wingers who are aggressive and hard-working midfielder with good passing game. Offensive threats include Reza Ghoochannejhad, Ashkan Dejagah and Sardar Azmoun, who was very good in the Asian Cup in January, says Nazari:
– Dejagah is one of the wingers and used to play for Fulham and Wolfsburg, but now plays in the Qatari league. Reza has played in Charlton Athletics and Standard Liege, but also plays in Qatar now. Sardar Azmoun is a young player who is in Rubin Kazan, currently on loan to another club in the Russian premier league (Rostov).
– Captain is Osasuna’s Javad Nekounam. The 34-year-old midfielder has played nearly 150 international matches. He has a lot of experience from playing in Europe. He played in the Spanish league for a while before he returned back to Iran for a season then played in Kuwait, but now he’s back in Osasuna.
– Iran showed during the World Cup in Brazil that it is a team that absolutely should not be underestimated. The first match against Nigeria ended goalless and Argentina would have left the stadium in Belo Horizonte with 0-0 result , until a certain Lionel Messi struck with a wonder goal in time added on. The defeat 1-3 against Bosnia-Herzegovina meant that qualifying to the eighth finals was missed.
– It will be a tight game. There is little difference between Asian and European football. Here, the football is more organized. I can not really point out where Iran is vulnerable or weak , they had good defense against Argentina for example, says Omid Nazari.
The midfielder from Malmo preparing to present a season with FC Rosengård in Division 2 Southern Götaland, where he makes a fresh start after he suffered a severe knee injury in autumn 2013 (when he played for Ängelholm FF in the Premier League).
– I hope to take a step back to top level football, says Omid.