February 26, 2018

Iran books ticket to 2018 World Cup

13 June 2017, 11:48 | Marlene Fleming

Iran beats Uzbekistan 2-0, gains entry to 2018 World Cup

Iran join Brazil as the only teams to have qualified for the 2018 World Cup finals

Qatar's Pedro Correia fights for the ball with Iran's Karim Ansarifard (L).

Sardar Azmoun and Mehdi Taremi were on target as Iran confirmed its spot in the 2018 World Cup finals with a 2-0 victory over Uzbekistan at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran on Monday.

"On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to congratulate the Islamic Republic of Iran for their convincing and consistent campaign throughout the qualifiers to become the first Asian team to qualify for Russian Federation 2018".

President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif posted on their social media pages to express congratulations to all Iranians and appreciations to Team Melli players. "Your victory made all of us happy". As envisaged in the AFC's Vision and Mission, I hope their World Cup qualification will inspire the team to do Asia proud on the world's biggest stage.

Thousands of Iranians spilled onto the streets after the match with impromptu street parties in Tehran and across the country as people danced, waved flags and honked vehicle horns.

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The win means Iran - coached by former Real Madrid and Portugal manager Carlos Queiroz - will finish among the top two places in Group A of Asia's final round of qualifying.

South Korea is in second place, a point ahead of Uzbekistan with a game in hand.

The top two teams in both Asian groups will qualify automatically for Russian Federation, and the two third-place teams going into a series of playoffs for another spot.

The Rostov striker was found by Alireza Jahanbaksh's perfectly weighted pass that split the Uzbekistan defence and left Azmoun one-on-one with goalkeeper Aleksandr Lobanov.

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