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How Iran could line up against USA

How Iran could line up against USA

Iran prepare for a winner-takes-all clash with USA on Tuesday in Group B of the World Cup, with the fitness of Sardar Azmoun a doubt for the game at the Al Thumama Stadium.

The 27-year-old forward’s start against Wales on Friday was his first since sustaining a calf injury during club action for Bayer Leverkusen in early October, with Team Melli’s number 20 forced off after 68 minutes with the issue.

Azmoun was a major threat for the Wales backline and partnered Mehdi Taremi admirably at the top end of the pitch, but the ex-Rubin Kazan man’s availability is not guaranteed for Tuesday meaning Karim Ansarifard could come into the starting XI to replace him.

Hossein Hosseini will be hopeful of keeping his place between the sticks for Iran after keeping a clean sheet against Rob Page‘s men, however first-choice goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand could return to the side after sitting out of the Wales clash due to concussion protocol following a nasty collision in the first half against England.

Roozbeh Cheshmi‘s stunning strike put Iran ahead in the 98th minute against Wales and the 29-year-old will be pushing for a start ahead of Ahmad Nourollahi who he replaced with just under 80 minutes played at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh collected his second yellow card of the tournament due to a reckless tackle on Chris Mepham and will therefore be suspended for this match, meaning Ali Gholizadeh can be assured of his starting place on the right side of a four-man Iranian midfield.

Sepahan’s Ramin Rezaeian led his team in terms of tackles against Wales and came up with a neat finish to put three points on Friday beyond any doubt, with Majid Hosseini and Morteza Pouraliganji likely to be the centre-back partnership alongside the 32-year-old.

Captain Ehsan Hajsafi is set to add to his 123 international appearances on the left-hand side of the Team Melli midfield, with only three other men having played more games for the Iranian national team.

Iran possible starting lineup: H.Hosseini; Rezaeian, M.Hosseini, Pouraliganji, Mohammadi; Ali Gholizadeh, Nourollahi, Ezatolahi, Hajsafi; Taremi, Azmoun

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