Ivankovic predicts Team Melli to advance knockouts in Qatar

TEHRAN, Nov. 21 (MNA) – Former Iran coach Branko Ivankovic has said that Team Melli has an equal chance to progress out of the group stages in the 2022 World Cup underway in Qatar.

The Croat, who coached Iran at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, said that ambitious expectations can be unattainable.

But the realistic expectation is that Iran is able to reach knockouts in the World Cup, he noted.

This is a completely rational expectation, he said, adding that this is not ambitious at all.

"In 2014, Iran picked up just one point from their group. Four years later, that tally was up to four points despite a more difficult draw. With years of experience under their belts and a coach who knows the ins and outs of this team, it might finally be time for Iran to reach the round of 16 at the sixth time of asking," ESPN reported.

Starsandstripesfc has termed Iran’s team as a “dark horse”- a team about it little is known but that unexpectedly wins or succeeds.

Iran will appear at a third straight World Cup finals as the No. 1-ranked national team from the Asian region, capable of making a mark, Sportingnews said.

Iran, No. 21 in the current FIFA world rankings, will kick off the World Cup campaign in Qatar against fifth-ranked England at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha today.

As scheduled, Iran will meet Wales on Nov. 25 and play the US four days later.

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