Iran winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh has targeted a run to the knockout rounds of the 2018 World Cup after qualification was assured on Monday.
A 2-0 victory over Uzbekistan made Iran the first side from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to book their ticket to Russia, where they will join the hosts and Brazil – the only other side to make it so far.
Qualification made Carlos Queiroz’s vintage the first Iran side to make consecutive World Cups and AZ player Jahanbakhsh has targeted more history-making in 12 months’ time.
“Now we’ve got to the World Cup but first we’ve got two games left and we want to finish top of the group, so for the last two matches we go 100 per cent,” Jahanbakhsh is quoted as saying by the AFC website.
“We have a really young team and after the next two games we’re going to try and build the team spirit even more because we know the World Cup will be a big difference from qualification.
“Next year everyone has one more year of experience. We’re going to do our best and the goal will be to make it to the second round of the World Cup.
— Team Melli IRAN (@TeamMelliIran) June 12, 2017
“[Brazil] was a great experience, but I joined the team after they had qualified.
“But this time I’ve been here since the beginning and it’s a great feeling to win a lot of games without conceding, so I think it was the best qualification ever for our country.
“In 2014 it was a great experience, at the age of 19 I was playing at the World Cup and it was unbelievable, and now it’s the second time so hopefully it’ll be even better for us.”
Iran finish their qualifying campaign with a trip to South Korea and a home clash with Syria.
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