Iran will make it into the World Cup knockout stages for the first time if they beat USA in their final Group B game on Tuesday…it is that simple.
Even a draw might be enough, but Carlos Queiroz’s team would have to also rely on Wales failing to beat England in that scenario.
Here’s a look at the XI the Portuguese coach could pick for this crunch fixture…
GK: Hossein Hosseini – Continues to deputise for Alireza Beiranvand and will be buoyed by his clean sheet against Wales.
RB: Ramin Rezaeian – Not in the team to score goals but got forward to net the killer second last time out.
CB: Majid Hosseini – Impressed against Wales by repelling everything that came his way in the penalty area.
CB: Morteza Pouraliganji – The centre-back who wears the number eight shirt like a midfielder needs to work on his passing.
LB: Milad Mohammadi – Plays his club football in Greece with AEK Athens.
RM: Ali Gholizadeh – Had an early goal against Wales ruled out after a VAR intervention flagged an offside.
CM: Ahmad Nourollahi – Tried his luck from distance a number of times against Wales, although several were blocked before making it to the goal.
CM: Saeid Ezatolahi – Tasked with being the more destructive of the two central midfielders. He won 7/10 of his ground duels last time out.
LM: Hajsafi – The skipper is a defender by trade but has been used to playing at wing-back. He is the most capped player in the squad.
ST: Mehdi Taremi – Three direct goals involvements in his two games so far and will carry Iran’s chief goal threat again.
ST: Karim Ansarifard – Question marks persist over the fitness of Sardar Azmoun after Iran’s star man had to come off against Wales.