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Friday, May 26, 2006

Iran have best team ever Football World Cup

Hannover striker Vahid Hashemian believes Iran have their best side ever leading into the World Cup in Germany this summer. "We definitely have the best team in our history. This team is very intelligent and mature," he said at Iran's training camp.
Bayern Munich's 2004 Asian player of the year Ali Karimi agrees: "In my opinion, we currently possess an extremely strong team, which with just a couple of exceptions, is also extremely young. That makes the current team exceptionally good."
Hashemian bagged a brace in helping Iran to a 2-1 qualifying victory over Japan in Teheran. "That was a vital victory. Four days later, we traveled to Korea DPR and won 2-0, completing a giant stride towards qualifying," he said.
The experienced striker thinks the praise should be laid squarely at the feet of Croatian coach Branko Ivankovic.
"Plenty of foreigners come to Iran, but disappear again after just a few months. He's hung on in there up to now, and understands the character of the Iranian team. He knows how to get us motivated."
Ivankovic was similar in his praise of the European-based players.
"I'm exceptionally pleased with the players from Germany. Their Bundesliga experience means a lot to us, because they'll help us win matches," he said.
"The authorities gave me enough time to inject the players with my philosophy of the game," Ivankovic added.