Boy this part of the forums has been quiet for a while. Wanted to provide some opinion on our performance so far (written after we played Oman).

1. Dejagah

What a revelation he's been in the center of the field! Fully commands the pace of the game, in some ways he's been filling in the role of a playmaker we've missed for so many years. He's done a fantastic job connecting the players around him and setting up attacks. Not many rated him before the tournament.

2. Azmoun & Taremi

As much as I'm not a fan of Taremi (regardless of his Portugal miss), his link-up play with Azmoun is great. Those two have great chemistry, but in some plays you can see how they're still a step below being excellent players. What could have been had both of them been in better teams with better club coaches ... Also makes me curious to see what Rezaei could've done.

3. Ghoddos

Surprisingly well-integrated into TM, even though he still has some way to go in fully fitting into the rest of the team. Great player.

4. We can attack!

Granted, not extremely well yet, but holy cow this feels like the first time in 8 years since CQ has been in charge that we've played attacking football. There are still some weird choices (why did we cross the ball so many times against Oman?!), but they're mostly down to individuals. Regardless, I wasn't a fan of CQ for the first few years, but he's since proven that he can turn the side into a well-flowing attacking side as well.

5. We also have a squad, something we haven't had for a while.

Our team is actually a full squad. Take JB out and sub in Torabi, take Amiri out and sub in Ghoddos, take Rezaeian out and sub in Ghafouri. Hosseini for Kanaani, Pouraliganji for Cheshmi, etc. This is more a case of "our players all know the tactics and each other extremely well" rather than "every player is so incredible they can jump in and provide something completely different." The latter only comes after generational training, but achieving the former with elements of the latter is a much more difficult and commendable achievement.

Suffice it to say this kind of team chemistry isn't present in our culture, so I'm very pleasantly surprised that CQ has pulled it off. If he goes forward with this mentality for the WCQ, what a treat that would be!