According to the latest update of FIFA World Ranking, released November 23, Iran national football team holds its first Asian ranking place and climbed up two steps in the world list to sit at 32nd spot.
Under the management of Portuguese coach, Carlos Quiroz, Team Melli achieved the spot with 798 points in global FIFA ranking after friendlies held with Panama, Venezuela, Togo and Russia in which Iran gained three victories and one draw.
Iran shares the 32nd spot with Scotland and Republic of Ireland, having the same points as Iran. Team Melli’s best rank in the list goes back to 2005 when Iran came in 15th.
In the Asian Ranking, Australia holds the second place with 747 points and climbed four steps up to get the 39th place globally. Japan, South Korea and China are in the third to fifth places in Asia respectively.
The first spot in the FIFA World Ranking is taken by Germany with 1602 points and a relatively high difference with Brazil in second spot with 1483 points.
Portugal, Argentina and Belgium enjoy their third to fifth places in the ranking with 1358, 1348 and 1325 points relatively.
Spain the 2010 World Cup winner climbed up the ranking ladder two steps to conquer the sixth place with 1231 points.
World Cup Finals Draw
With only a few days before the World Cup final draw, December 1, each participating nation is speculating about the possible results and the teams they will be playing with in the group stage.
Iran is placed in the third pot above all other four Asian teams present at the tournament (Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Australia are all in pot 4).
It is also one level above the previous four World Cup pots for Iran. Remaining as the top Asian team in the past years, keeping an unbeaten record since March and being the third team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup after the host country Russia and Brazil, can account for the reasons Iran has ended up in pot 3.
A total of 32 teams’ names are placed in four pots of eight. Obviously, Iran will not share the same group with other seven countries in the third pot. Also, the four Asian countries in pot 4 cannot be drawn in the same group with Iran following the rule that says no teams from the same confederation, with the exception of UEFA, which could have up to two teams in the same group, will be drawn into the same group.
Therefore, only 20 teams remain and three among them will share the same group with Iran.
According to Varzesh3.com, among Russia, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland and France in pot 1 only one team would be in the same group with Iran. Following 1-1 result of Iran and Russia in a friendly match recently, the host country will be the best choice for Iran among others. Iran has previously played against Germany, Portugal and Argentina and lost to them. Belgium, Poland and France are also very strong teams Iranian players prefer not to confront.
In pot 2 are national teams of Spain, England, Columbia, Uruguay, Mexico, Switzerland, Croatia and Peru. Regarding the good encounter of Iran with South American countries like 1-0 loss to Argentina by Messi’s goal in the final minute at the previous edition of the World Cup, South American competitors like Columbia, Peru and Mexico would be better rivals for Iran.
As mentioned before, four Asian countries are placed among the teams in pot 4 which will not be drawn in the same group with Iran. The rest in pot 4 includes Panama, Morocco, Nigeria and Serbia.
Considering Iran’s recent friendly against Panama in which Team Melli overpowered its rival 2-1, Panama can be the best option among others.
Serbia has shown good results in World Cup qualification games and achieved the direct quota for the tournament. Nigeria is among the strongest teams in Africa with a good performance in the qualification matches.
Easiest vs. Hardest
Iran’s best possible group in the upcoming World Cup would include Panama, Columbia and Russia. If drawn in the same group, Iran will have the highest chance to qualify for the next stage of the tournament, and enter the round of 16 for the first time in its World Cup history.
On the Other hand, Nigeria, England and Brazil would form the deadliest group for Iran and it will make passing through this group stage extremely difficult for Team Melli.