0422 GMT June 21, 2021
Iran head coach Mohammad Nazemasharieh said his team will play Japan in a friendly on August 17 as part of the preparations for the FIFA Futsal World Cup.
Iran was picked among the five Asian teams – alongside Uzbekistan and Japan – by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to represent the continent at September’s competition in Lithuania.
The decision came after the Asian football governing body was forced to call off last March’s Asian Futsal Championship – which was to serve as the World Cup qualifiers – in Kuwait due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The other two spots will be decided through playoff matches featuring Iraq, Lebanon, Vietnam, and Thailand.
Speaking to IRNA on Sunday, Nazemasharieh added Iran will participate in a couple of friendly tournaments in Thailand and will also host Hungary before heading to Lithuania.
The Iranian said he will call out 25 players to start the training camp in late July, before announcing the 14-man squad for the tournament.
Nazemasharieh believes Iran – which has not played in an official event since 2018, when it lifted a record-extending 12th Asian trophy – is behind the schedule as “Japan has already started its trainings and Uzbekistan is to play Azerbaijan in a friendly.”
Iran made history in 2016 by becoming the first Asian side to reach the last-four of the World Cup, finishing third in Colombia.