FIFA World Cup

2018 FIFA WC: Iran announces 35 men squad, includes banned players as well

XtraTime Web Desk: The selectors included midfielder Masoud Shojaei and Ehsan Haji Safi in the 35 men squad announced by Iran. Sports officials said last August that Shojaei, 33, and Haji Safi, 28, would be banned for life after appearing for their Greek club Panionios against an Israeli team.

Iran does not recognise the Jewish state and bars its athletes from appearing against Israelis.

But there was uproar from fans and confusion reigned over the issue, with Shojaei returning to the national squad in March and Haji Safi never actually banned.

Iran’s national team has been coached the past seven years by Portugal’s Carlos Queiroz, a former one-season manager at Real Madrid and an assistant to Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

Team Melli faces a tough group in the World Cup, with Spain, Portugal and Morocco.

Iran World Cup squad

Goalkeepers: Alireza Beiranvand (Persepolis), Seyed Hossein Hosseini (Esteghlal), Rashid Mazaheri (Zob Ahan), Amir Abedzadeh (Maritimo/POR)

Defenders: Ramin Rezaeian (Ostende/BEL), Voria Ghafouri (Esteghlal), Steven Beitashour (Los Angeles FC/USA), Seyed Jalal Hosseini (Persepolis), Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh (Padideh), Morteza Pouraliganji (Alsaad/QAT), Mohammad Ansari (Persepolis), Pejman Montazeri (Esteghlal), Seyed Majid Hosseini (Esteghlal), Milad Mohammadi (Akhmat Grozny/RUS), Omid Nourafkan (Esteghlal), Saeid AGhaei (Sepahan), Roozbeh Cheshmi (Esteghlal)

Midfielders: Saeid Ezatolahi (Amkar Perm/RUS), Masoud Shojaei (AEK Athens/GRE), Ahmad Abdolahzadeh (Foolad), Saman Ghoddos (Ostersunds/SWE), Mahdi Torabi (Saipa), Ashkan Dejagah (Notthingham Forest/ENG), Omid Ebrahimi (Esteghlal), Ehsan Hajsafi (Olympiacos/GRE), Ali Karimi (Sepahan), Soroush Rafiei (Al-khor/QAT), Ali Gholizadeh (Saipa), Vahid Amiri (Persepolis)

Forwards: Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ Alkmaar/NED), Karim Ansarifard (Olympiacos/RE), Mahdi Taremi (Al-Gharafa/QAT), Sardar Azmoun (Rubin Kazan/RUS), Reza Ghoochannejhad (Heerenveen/NED), Kaveh Rezaei (Charleroi/BEL)

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