Sportsmole – Iran, and Senegal continue their preparations for the upcoming World Cup when they go head to head in a warm-up friendly at the BSFZ-Arena on Tuesday.
Team Melli have been drawn into Group B of the World Cup, alongside England, USA and Wales, while the African champions will face Ecuador, Netherlands, and host nation Qatar in Group A.
Iran secured their place in Qatar in style as they picked up eight wins and claimed one draw from their 10 games to collect 25 points and finish top of Group A of the AFC qualifiers with a two-point cushion over second-placed South Korea.
Carlos Queiroz’s men picked up their first victory since the end of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers as they saw off a dogged Uruguay side 1-0 when the sides squared off at the NV Arena last Friday.
Following an uneventful first half, 30-year-old Mehdi Taremi, who finished second in last season’s Portuguese Primeira Liga goal scoring chart with 20 goals, made his mark off the bench as he scored the only goal of the game with 11 minutes left to play.
Prior to that, Team Melli were on the receiving end of a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Algeria in a thrilling friendly on June 12, when Riad Benayad and Mohamed El Amine Amoura scored on either side of Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s 64th-minute equaliser.
Iran, who will be making their seventh World Cup appearance in Qatar, head into Tuesday on a run of just two defeats across all competitions since the start of 2020, claiming an impressive 16 wins and one draw in that time.
Elsewhere, Senegal showed that they remain on the right track ahead of the FIFA World Cup as they cruised to a 2-0 victory over Bolivia when the sides squared off at the Stade de la Source last Saturday.
After taking a two-goal lead into half time courtesy of strikes from Boulaye Dia and Bayern Munich man Sadio Mane, the Lions of Teranga turned in a solid defensive performance in the second half to repel the South Americans and see out the win.
Prior to that, Senegal secured their place in the 2022 African Nations Championship when they saw off regional rivals Guinea on penalties on September 3 after a 1-1 aggregate draw, with Casa Sports goalkeeper Alioune Badara Faty converting the all-important spot kick.
Aliou Cisse’s side, who secured their first Africa Cup of Nations title in February when they beat Egypt in the final, are now unbeaten in 15 of their 19 games across all competitions in 2022, claiming 13 wins and two draws since the turn of the year.
Next up for Senegal is the tricky challenge of taking on an unfamiliar Iran side, who they have squared off with just once in the past, which came in a similar friendly fixture back in April 2009 when the spoils were shared in a 1-1 draw.
Iran form (all competitions): WWLWLW
Senegal form (all competitions): WWWLWW
Experienced head coach Queiroz has been tasked with leading Iran to the World Cup after seeing his short stint in charge of the Egyptian national team come to an end back in July.
In what was his first assignment, Team Melli turned in a fine performance against Uruguay last week and the 69-year-old could name a similar starting XI on Tuesday, meaning that we could see a two-man midfield pivot of Saeid Ezatolahi and 32-year-old Ehsan Haji Safi once again.
While Sadegh Moharrami, Hossein Kanaani, Shoja Khalilzadeh and Abolfazl Jalali could form the defence, goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand is a major doubt after the former Royal Antwerp man was forced off injured shortly after the hour mark in the aforementioned game.
At the opposite end of the pitch, Bayer Leverkusen man Sardar Azmoun should lead the attack, alongside 28-year-old Mehdi Torabi and Jahanbakhsh, who registered seven goal involvements for Feyenoord in the Eredivisie last season.
Meanwhile, Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly made his 63rd appearance for Senegal against Bolivia on Saturday and the 31-year-old should stand at the heart of the defence once again, teaming up with Abdou Diallo and Fode Ballo-Toure in the back three.
At the centre of the park, Marseille man Pape Gueye should retain his place in the XI, while the Premier League duo of Nampalys Mendy and Idrissa Gueye could be handed starting roles after starting off the bench last time out.
Mane scored his 34th international goal against Bolivia — extending his lead at the top of Senegal’s all-time goal scoring chart to five — and we expect the Bayern Munich man to form the attacking trio with Dia and Krepin Diatta for the second consecutive game.
Iran possible starting lineup:
Abedzadeh; Moharrami, Kanaani, Khalilzadeh, Jalali; Ezatolahi, Haji Safi; Jahanbakhsh, Torabi, Taremi; Azmoun
Senegal possible starting lineup:
Gomis; Ballo-Toure, Koulibaly, Diallo; Ciss, Mendy, I Gueye, P Gueye; Mane, Dia, Diatta