Ghoddos ahead of Iran debut as Team Melli list is announced

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Persianfootball.com – TEHRAN, One of the most anticipated Team Melli rosters was announced today – despite Iran having two almost meaningless World Cup qualifiers ahead – and it wasn’t short of surprises.

Iran have already qualified for next year’s World Cup with two games in hand and no goals conceded yet and now will face archrivals South Korea and war-torn Syria in the final matches.

Still the announcement of the Iran squad was nervously awaited by fans, mainly due to two factors. The first being the possible invitation of Östersund shooting star Saman Ghoddos, the second the fate of the Panionios Athens duo, who played against an Israeli team in UEFA Europa League, following some political hardliners in Iran demanding their suspension, which received world wide coverage with many premature claims the duo would be banned.

Indeed, Ghoddos, a 23-year-old Sweden-born offensive allrounder of Iranian descent, was invited by Queiroz and might debut for Iran this week. The powerful right-footer scored 13 goals and assisted 10 more in 27 games for Östersund in all competitions this season and might enforce Iran’s already often impressive attacking force even further.

In regards to the Greek based duo, the outcome was quite surprising. While Ehsan Hajsafi was invited, Masoud Shojaei was excluded from the squad. Iran boss Carlos Queiroz explained the veteran playmaker might well be invited after the two upcoming games though. Anyhow, the speculations about a suspension of the two players should be proven untrue by Hajsafi’s inclusion already.

Else the exclusion of veteran defender Pejman Montazeri and Charleroi striker Kaveh Rezaei as well as the invitation of clubless midfielders Ashkan Dejagah and Ali Karimi might raise some eyebrows. No surprise was the return of in-form goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi, who impressed a lot in Swedish topflight in recent weeks.

Below comes the full squad.

Goalkeepers:
Alireza Beiranvand – Persepolis
Hamed Lak – Foolad
Alireza Haghighi – AFC Eskilstuna, SWE

Defenders:
Vouria Ghafoori – Esteghlal Tehran
Roozbeh Cheshmi – Esteghlal Tehran
Seyed Jalal Hosseini – Persepolis
Mohamad Ansari – Persepolis
Saeid Aghaei- Sepahan
Ramin Rezaeian – KV Oostende, BEL
Morteza Pouraliganji – Al Sadd SC, QAT
Milad Mohammadi – Akhmat Grozny, RUS

Midfielders:
Omid Noorafkan – Esteghlal Tehran
Saeid Ezatollahi- FK Rostov, RUS
Ehsan Hajsafi – Panionios Athens, GRE
Ali Karimi – free agent
Ashkan Dejagah – free agent

Forwards:
Mehdi Torabi – Saipa
Vahid Amiri – Persepolis
Mehdi Taremi – Persepolis
Alireza Jahanbakhsh – AZ Alkmaar, NED
Reza Ghoochannejhad – SC Heerenveen, NED
Karim Ansarifard – Olympiacos, GRE
Sardar Azmoun – Rubin Kazan, RUS
Saman Ghoddos – Östersunds FK, SWE


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