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 By John Duerden

Iran manager Carlos Queiroz cuts World Cup squad down to 24 players

In their four World Cup appearances, Iran have never made it out of the group stages. Will they finally find form in Russia?

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz has reduced his 35-man provisional 2018 World Cup squad to 24, leaving out veteran defender Seyed Jalal Hosseini in a surprise move.

Hosseini has played over 100 times for Iran, featured in 11 World Cup qualifiers and was expected to go to Russia for Group B games against Morocco, Spain and Portugal.

The 36 year-old former captain has, however, been named as one of four standby players along with LA-based Steven Beitashour, Vouria Ghafouri as well as highly-rated Belgian-based striker Kaveh Rezaei.

Queiroz will take his team, who are looking to reach the second round for the first time in five World Cup appearances, to Turkey for warm-up games with Turkey and Greece.

Iranian hopes are likely to fall on the shoulders of star attackers Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who finished top scorer of the Netherlands Eredivisie league, and Sardar Azmoun of Rubin Kazan in Russia.

The deadline to name the final squad of 23 is June 4.

Carlos Quieroz
Iran manager Carlos Queiroz has cut his World Cup roster down to 24 players from 35.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Alireza Beiranvand (Persepolis ), Rashid Mazaheri (Zob Ahan), Amir Abedzadeh (Maritimo, Portugal)

Defenders: Ramin Rezaeian (KV Oostende, Belgiium), Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh (Padideh), Morteza Pouraliganji (Al Saad, Qatar), Pejman Montazeri (Esteghlal ), Seyed Majid Hosseini (Esteghlal), Milad Mohammadi (Akhmat Grozny, Russia), Roozbeh Cheshmi (Esteghlal)

Midfielders: Saeid Ezatolahi (Amkar Perm, Russia), Masoud Shojaei (AEK Athens, Greece), Mehdi Torabi (Saipa), Ashkan Dejagah (Nottingham Forest, England), Omid Ebrahimi (Esteghlal), Ehsan Hajsafi (Olympiacos, Greece) Vahid Amiri (Persepolis), Ali Gholizadeh (Saipa) Karim Ansarifard (Olympiacos, Greece)

Forwards: Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ, Netherlands), Saman Ghoddos (Ostersunds FK, Sweden), Mahdi Taremi (Al-Gharafa, Qatar), Sardar Azmoun (Rubin Kazan, Russia) Reza Ghoochannejhad (Heerenveen, Netherlands)

Asian expert John Duerden is the author of Lions and Tigers: Story of Football in Singapore and Malaysia.Twitter: @JohnnyDuerden.

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