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24 Jun 2018

Iran vs Portugal: 5 things to look forward to

Iran vs Portugal: 5 things to look forward to

The final match in Group B is essentially a play-off to make the Round of 16. A draw is enough for Portugal, while Iran will probably need a win.

REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

As one of the surprise packages of the tournament, Iran go into their final group stage match against Portugal with a chance of qualifying for the knockout rounds for the first time in their history.

Previously, they exited at the group stage in each of their four World Cup appearances and will have memories of coming up against Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. in their 2006 campaign. 

In that encounter, Ronaldo scored a penalty - his only goal in Germany - to secure a 2-0 win and send Iran out after just two games. 

There was some expectation on that team but this one will be better equipped to defeat Portugal. 

Carlos Queiroz has made them even more defensively resolute than they were in 2014 when they impressively held Argentina until a moment of Lionel Messi genius finally broke them in the final seconds. Not only did they defend well against Spain, but they showed another dimension to attack and get back into the game after conceding.

It's unlikely either manager will deviate a great deal from their teams so far but Fernando Santos may look to change after the concerning lack of control Portugal showed against Morocco. 

Here are five things to look forward to: