Source: Tehran Times
Steven Mehrdad Beitashour said that the Iranian football team is going to book a berth in the 2014 World Cup next stage. Iran will face Nigeria in its World Cup campaign in Group F on June 16 in Curitiba and play Argentina five days later at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte.
The Iranian football team is scheduled to play Bosnia and Herzegovina on June 25 in group stage.
"I definitely think Argentina is the favorite. They do deserve it. They've been a great team, and they've not been hyped for nothing. I think everyone expects that out of them, but I think the second spot of our group is up for grabs," Vancouver Whitecaps defender told reporters in a conference in Brazil.
"We've got three hungry teams that are trying to win it, so that's why it's so important for that first game to start off on the right foot," he added.
"When we were about to land in Brazil, just seeing the country, that feeling right there, I'll never forget it," Beitashour said. "It's been really exciting and great every day we've been here, and I'm excited for the 16th to come up."
Dejagah aims to spring a surprise
Ashkan Dejagah said that Iran will surprise a few people at this summer's World Cup finals in Brazil. The 27-year-old will make his first appearance in a World Cup finals when his Iran side face Nigeria in their opening game of Group F on Monday evening.
"We're not going there expecting to win the tournament but we think we can cause a few surprises," he told Fulham's official website.
"It's the fourth time the country has reached the World Cup but they've only ever won one game and have never got out of the Group Stages, so it would be great if we could get into the knock-out rounds. I think we have a chance.
"We can go there and play in a relaxed way because there's no pressure on us. It's a difficult group - we face Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Nigeria so it won't be easy - but in football you never know.
"It's the biggest thing to happen for Iran for many years. Hopefully we can do the country proud. We have some good players. There's Reza Ghoochannejhad, a striker who plays at Charlton Athletic, Alireza Jahanbakhsh plays for NEC Nijmegen in the Netherlands and goalkeeper Daniel Davari is at Eintracht Braunschweig in Germany."
It's arguably the pinnacle of any player's career to feature in the greatest sporting event on the planet and Dejagah is set to start for Iran when they take on Nigeria in Curitiba.
"It doesn't get much better for a footballer," said Dejagah, who hit five goals for Fulham in the league last term. "It's a dream for every young player. It's the first World Cup I've played in so I'm a little bit nervous but also very excited.
"The first tournament I really remember was World Cup '94 when Roberto Baggio missed in the penalty shoot-out as Brazil beat Italy.
"I've since watched a DVD of Italia '90 when West Germany beat England on penalties. West Germany went on to lift the trophy. I was only four at the time but my neighbor in Germany knew I liked football so gave me a DVD of the tournament and I watched it a lot of times."
Schedule of Iran matches in Group F:
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