Monday, October 3, 2022

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Iran 1-0 Uruguay: England’s World Cup opponents issue stern warning by defeating star-studded Uruguay

Iran, England’s first opponents in the World Cup group stage, showed Gareth Southgate’s players face a tough challenge in 58 days with a win against strong Uruguay.

Center forward Mehdi Taremi, a constant threat at Porto for several years, scored the winner after a skillful passing that typified Iran’s technical prowess.

Brentford’s Saman Ghoddos, who had no Premier League time this season, also stood out.

He’d flicked a ball over Martin Cáceres to run to the right and executed a deft back pass from which left-wing striker Mehdi Torabi should have scored before starting the action that scored the goal.

Sadegh Moharramim, the right-back who excelled for Dinamo Zagreb when he beat England international Raheem Sterling in their 1-0 Champions League win over Chelsea last month, linked well with Feyenoord’s Alireza Jahanbakhsh on the right. This was the flank where Iran posed a threat.

Returning coach Carlos Quieiroz also seems to have restored the defensive prowess that made the Iranians hard to take at World Cups.

Hossein Kanaani was a major influence, teaming up with Moharramim to snuff out a chance Darwin Nunez had and hitting the ground running after a falling out with Suarez.

Uruguay should have scored. Suarez, who is back playing football with Nacional in Uruguay, doesn’t bring the old physical threat with him but he created a chance he narrowly missed and blasted another over the bar. An early 20-yard shot by Nunez was knocked over in a match played behind closed doors at the request of the Iranian FA.

After the USA’s dreadful performance in the 2-0 defeat by Japan in Dusseldorf yesterday, Iran ended the evening with renewed confidence that they can qualify for the England and Wales group. That is certainly the expectation at home.

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