02 August 2022

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022: Iran's Striker Jahanbakhsh Says His Side 'Determined to Reach the Knockout Phase'

International and Arabic

Tehran, August 02 (QNA) - Iranian striker Ali Reza Jahanbakhsh said Tuesday that Iranian national team players' aim was to qualify for the round 16 of the upcoming World Cup Qatar 2022 Championship that is set to kick off Nov. 21 and wraps up Dec. 18.
In an interview released on the FIFA website, Jahanbakhsh said "We have never made it to the Round of 16, so that is our biggest aim, but we play in one of the toughest groups with England, the US and Wales. But if I want to say my dream, it would be to do our best first, then to make it to the second round. Thats whats on our minds." "Ehsan Hajsafi and Karim Ansarifard were also with me in 2014 and 2018. Its not something I expected, but it is something I worked hard for. It was always one of my biggest dreams whenever I wore the national team jersey," he commented on his third participation in World Cup competitions.
"The excitement of World Cup doesnt change and no matter how often you experience it, it is always the same. I still think and feel the same and look forward to it as I did at the age of 19 back in 2014. Im looking forward to it and hopefully I can represent my country in the best way possible and make our nation proud," Jahanbakhsh added.
Speaking about their match against England in World Cup Championship Qatar 2022, he said, "I played against many of this England team during my time there," he said. "Plenty of quality players! They can easily field three different World Cup teams. They have three to four world-class players in every position, so they are one of the favourites to win the World Cup and that says enough about this team and the quality they have as a team and individually. We are going to do our best and thats the most important thing. Its the same situation with USA and Wales they have a lot of good players who will come to do their best at the World Cup." "Last World Cup we were quite close," he said. "Portugal and Spain went through with five points and we just missed out with four. Nobody expected us to do this well, but we were united as a team. I think we did quite a good job in all three games and were unlucky not to make it to the next round from such a difficult group. We have the same ambition now, to work hard for our nation as a team. We know millions of Iranians back home and around the world are looking forward to seeing us performing and making them proud".
"It is quite a big thing for our country to play in the World Cup, but in this game, we think of nothing beyond that," he said. "I think the biggest difference compared to 1998 is the generations. Now we have one of the best generations in the history of Iranian football, and for the US its the same thing, theyve got a lot of quality players individually playing in top European leagues and performing well. So I think the level of USMNT now is very different than 24 years ago, and so are we," he concluded. (QNA)


Sports, International, World Cup
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