Friedrichshafen, Germany, June 4, IRNA-Iranian national football team head coach Branko Ivankovic said here Sunday that the first game to be played by Iran's national football team with Mexico is of great importance to Iran.
Speaking on arrival in the German city of Friedrichshafen along with the Iranian football team, he told IRNA that Iran's game with Mexico is highly decisive and hoped that Iranian footballers will manage to take the Mexican team by surprise.
He noted that the two recent warm-up games with Croatian and Bosnian teams show that the Iranian team is qualified to play the scheduled games.
"Over the past four years, the Iranian team has proven its capability to play good games and has gained favorable results.
Therefore, I can say that the present team is the best in Iran's history of football.
"In this year's World Cup, we should prove that we really have a good team. Iran's national football team should do its best to gain the result, for which it has been working hard," he added.
The head coach said that they will make the best use of the one week left before the official beginning of the competition to optimize the readiness of the team.
"Of course, the problem facing us now is that a few of our footballers, including Fereydoun Zandi, Ali Karimi and Mehdi Mahdavi-Kia, are injured. However, I hope that we will be fully prepared to face our first game with Mexico," he said.
Ivankovic said that members of Iran's national football team will not disappoint the nation.
"I am confident that the good result to be gained by Iran's national football team at the 2006 World Cup in Germany will respond to the cheer of Iranian football fans," he added.
Turning to the outcome of the games to be played by the Iranian team, he said that he is unable to say a word about it, but said that he is certain that it will manage to get good results.
Iran's national football team arrived in this southwestern German city, its training base for the 2006 World Cup, on Sunday.
Iran's Ambassador in Germany, Mohammad Mehdi Akhondzadeh, local officials and large number of Iranians residing in Germany welcomed the Iranian team at the airport.
Friedrichshafen mayor, who welcomed the squad, hoped that the team would emerge victorious in its games at this year's 2006 World Cup.
Before departure for the World Cup, members of the national football team and the Iranian Football Federation met President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran Saturday afternoon.
Iran's World Cup team is in Group D with Mexico, Portugal and Angola and has chosen the southern German city of Friedrichshafen as its base.
Iran is scheduled to face Mexico in the group's opener in the southeastern German city of Nuremberg on June 11.
... Payvand News - 6/5/06 ... --