Iran head coach Mohammad Nazemasharieh believes his team has been drawn in the toughest group of the FIFA Futsal World Cup in Lithuania, starting September 12.
The draw for the competition – postponed by a year due to coronavirus pandemic – took place on Tuesday as 24 teams were split into six groups.
Iran was pitted in Group F, alongside defending champion Argentina, USA, and Serbia.
Speaking to Varzesh3, Nazemasharieh, who led the country to a historic third-spot finish in 2016, said, “Our group is probably the hardest of all as it features two of the top three from the previous edition. Even USA has reached the last-four twice.”
“Serbia is among the finest in Europe. High fitness and vigor are the main features of Eastern European teams. We’ve played Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine, which resemble Serbia’s style, over the past years, so we’re familiar with their type of futsal.”
When asked how far Iran would go in September’s competition, Nazemasharieh said his team would rather take one step at the time.
“It is going to be a tough World Cup. First, we’ll have to finish the group stage on a high and then wait and see what happens.”
Top two of each group plus four of the best third-placed teams will progress to the knockout phase.
Speaking of his team’s preparations, the Iranian manager said, “We’ve already arranged some friendlies, but we had to wait for the draw to plan for future games.”
Iran arrived on Kish Island, southern Iran, on Tuesday for a training camp.
“I named 30 players in the provisional squad and will announce the final list 14 days before the tournament gets underway,” Nazemasharieh said.
Iranian head coach had told IRNA in April that his men would take on Japan in a friendly on August 17. Participation in a couple of friendly tournaments in Thailand is also on the agenda, as well as hosting Hungary before heading to Lithuania.