Iran will take on New Zealand as part of the preparation for November’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Iran’s Tasnim News Agency reported.
The friendly will take place in the Qatari capital of Doha in June.
Iran will open its eagerly-awaited World Cup campaign on November 21 against England in Group B of the competition, which also features USA and one of Wales, Scotland, or Ukraine.
Dragan Skocic’s men Iran will have to wait until June to learn which European opponent they will face on November 25 as the winner of the match between Scotland and Ukraine will play Wales in Cardiff for the last slot in the group.
The final round of fixtures in the group will see Iran take on USA in a repeat of the clash between the two at the 1998 World Cup in France, which Iran won 2-1.
New Zealand, ranked 101st in the latest FIFA Ranking, is yet to secure a place in the showdown in Qatar as the winner of the Oceanian qualifiers will have to square off against Costa Rica, which finished fourth in the CONCACAF qualifications, for a spot alongside Spain, Germany, and Japan in Group E.
The Iranian Football Federation and the Croatian manager have already begun planning for what could be a historic World Cup for the country, should the Asian powerhouse seal a first-ever knockout slot at the sixth time of asking.
However, with the majority of the European teams tied to the UEFA Nations League fixtures during June’s international break, options will be limited for Iran in terms of finding proper opponents for preparatory matches.
Tasnim, quoting a tweet by Telemundo reporter Diego Montalvan, wrote on Friday that Iran is on a shortlist of five – along with New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Morocco – that could play Peru in a friendly in Spain before the World Cup.
Peru finished fifth in the South American qualifiers and will play the winner of the Australia-UAE encounter in June for the last slot in Group D, which also includes defending champion France, Denmark, and Tunisia.