1156 GMT June 23, 2021
Iran will be among the five Asian teams to take part at the FIFA Futsal World Cup in Lithuania, starting September 12, IRNA reported on Monday, quoting the Vietnamese website Bongdaplus.
According to the website, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has also decided that Japan and Uzbekistan will join Iran in the World Cup.
The decision, yet to be officially announced by the AFC, comes after the Asian football governing body was forced to call off last March’s Asian Futsal Championship – which was also to serve as the World Cup qualifiers – in Kuwait due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The AFC had to pick out the teams through a data-based mechanism, which assessed various factors such as the results at the previous editions of the Asian Futsal Championship.
Iran is by far the most decorated team in the history of the Asian competition, having lifted the trophy on 12 occasions, with Japan wining the other three.
IRNA added the other two quota places will be decided through two playoff fixtures, which will see Lebanon take on Iraq and Thailand square off against Vietnam, with the winners of the two games qualifying for the World Cup.
Fifteen teams have already secured their places in the September’s competition.
Angola, Egypt, and Morocco of Africa, as well as Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Venezuela have booked their tickets.
In Europe, the host country will be accompanied by Kazakhstan, Serbia, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and the Czech Republic, while the Solomon Islands will represent Oceania in the competition.
Iran made history in 2016 by becoming the first Asian side to reach the last-four of the World Cup, finishing third in Colombia.