Seremban – The National Team of Iran is in Malaysia for a crucial world cup qualifier against Syria that will take place on 15 November.
After four matches played, Team Melli are looking good at top of the group with ten points. TM fans are expecting a win against Syria but the fact is that this will be a tough match.
Syria are in an uncomfortable situation considering they are unable to host matches in their country due to the civil war that has claimed the lives of many.
Naturally I am wondering why the Asian Football Confederation chose Malaysia as a place for Syria to host matches but wondering about the choices made by AFC is a waste of time.
Anyway, staying on topic, the match against Syria will be tough for Iran because the Syrians have already demonstrated they can frustrate their opponents. They held South Korea to a scoreless draw in Seremban and also earned a 1-0 victory in China.
The weather can play a factor in the match as the forecast is predicting thunderstorms. Syria and Iran aren’t known to experience numerous thunderstorms but the Syrians have been spending more time in Malaysia so I would have to consider the weather as an advantage for Syria.
Due to the scuffle that took place between the Iranian and Qatari benches on the first match day of the final round, winger Ehsan Hajsafi and striker Sardar Azmoun will not be available for Team Melli against Syria.
Years ago I would have thought that not having Hajsafi wouldn’t be a big deal but he brings a lot to TM and does a great job protecting the left side of the field.
We already know what Iran will be missing with the absence of Azmoun but at the same time, many optimistic TM fans will be looking forward to see which player can take advantage of opportunity to get quality minutes on the field in a crucial match.
There will also be big decisions to make for head coach Carlos Queiroz at goalkeeper.
Starting keeper Alireza Beiranvand will not be available due to injury and world cup starting keeper Alireza Haghighi has disappeared from TM due to being unattached to a club team for nearly six months.
Sosha Makani has been called up again after being in top form for Norwegian first division side Mjoendalen but it is hard to imagine him being between the posts for TM on Tuesday.
Mohammad Rashid Mazaheri of Zob Ahan has been in good form and has appeared eight times this season for the Isfahani club and has been capped two times for TM.
Mohammadreza Akhbari has featured in all ten matches for Tractor Sazi Tabriz this season but only has one cap for Team Melli.
Makani has the most caps out of all three keepers with four appearances for TM but I believe it is time for Akhbari AKA Inspector Gadget to wear the number one shirt for Iran on Tuesday against Syria. He may be the youngest keeper available for Queiroz but he has shown great performances in the Iranian Pro League and he was between the posts last January for Team Omid at the U23 AFC Championship in Qatar.
This is not the first time Carlos Queiroz has been in situations where he has had to tinker with his roster but I am looking forward to seeing which Iranian footballers will rise to the occasion as Team Melli will look to earn three points on their quest to Russia.