Expert says Iran should score first against Iraq

TEHRAN, Jun. 12 (MNA) – A veteran Iranian coach says Team Melli should score the first goal against Iraq, also noting that the team is able to advance to the next stage of qualifiers.

In the final match of the second round of qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup, Iran’s national football team is slated to take on Iraq on Tuesday in a decisive match. Iran needs nothing less than the three points to advance to the next round as the Group C winner.

Under the tutelage of Dragan Skocic, Team Melli has so far gained three victories against Hong Kong (3-1), Bahrain (3-0), and Cambodia (10-0) in their campaign in Manama.

“We should acknowledge that Iraq is stronger than Bahrain. There are still weaknesses in Team Melli that should be addressed as soon as possible,” Parviz Mazloumi, former Estsghlal and Iran U20 head coach told Mehr News Agency on Saturday.

“I do not want to intervene in affairs of Team Melli’s technical staff but we should be careful in the team’s arrangement. Our defense line needs some changes,” he said, adding that the team should play with increased coordination since Iraq is a physical team that uses its opportunities well.

“In the match against Iraq, we should score the first goal. The goal will loosen the structure of the Iraqi team and guide us to the next round of qualifiers.”

“For now, all our focus is on Iraq but we should be aware that the conditions in the next stage of qualifiers will be far more different. Teams in the next stage will be stronger than Bahrain and Iraq. There is a need to have preparations so as to defeat rivals and advance to the World Cup finals.”

Criticizing all those who had a role in Iran’s defeats against Iraq and Bahrain in the home matches, Mazloumi added, “Despite all the difficulties that Team Melli faced in the first leg, the team has too many good players that enable us to win Iraq and advance to the next stage.”

MAH/ 5230172

News Code 174673

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