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Euro 2020

Dragan Skocic new national coach in Iran – Euro 2020

by: Adam Smith

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It is still almost three years until the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar due to the climatic conditions on site. And yet the tournament is already casting its shadows. Less so in Europe, where the focus is currently clearly on the 2020 European Championship, but in the other continental federations, qualification for the 2022 World Cup starts in a timely manner or has even begun.

The latter is the case, for example, in Asia, where four direct World Cup participants and a qualifier fighting for another starting place in international play-offs are determined in a total of four rounds.

After six small nations have already been eliminated in the first round in the knockout system, the third round is currently underway in eight groups of five, with the eight group winners as well as the four best group runners-up progressing. Subsequently, two groups of six will be played, at the end of which the two first-placed players will go to the World Cup and the group thirds will make up the qualifiers in back-to-back matches.

Defeats against Iraq and Bahrain

In Group C, iran is currently competing, but they are currently even worried about progressing to the third round. Behind Iraq (elf points) and Bahrain (nine), Iran is only third with only six points.

Although the Persians have played one game less than their two rivals, two victories in Hong Kong (2-0) and against Cambodia (14-0) have lost the important games in Bahrain (0:1) and against Iraq (1:2). Assuming that the two opponents will not leave great feathers for the progress against Hong Kong and Cambodia, victories in the return matches in June are practically obligatory.

Skocic initially only with contract until June

In order to be well equipped, the Iranian federation has decided to go into the second half of this group stage with a new coach. In December, Belgian Marc Wilmots had to leave after only seven months in office.

And now it is also clear who will be on the bench for the next match on 26 March against Hong Kong, which will be followed five days later by the guest appearance in Cambodia. Iran announced the signing of Croatian Dragan Skocic, who had recently coached Iranian first division side Sanat Naft Abadan.

Initially, Skocic, who is already the fifth Croatian national coach of Iran after Stanko Poklepovic, Tomislav Ivic, Miroslav Blazevic and Branko Ivankovic, received only one contract until June. If progress is then made to the next round, a longer cooperation is likely.

Before that, however, it is necessary to make up for the weak start in order not to have to write off the sixth World Cup participation after 1978, 1998, 2006, 2014 and 2018 early, which would be a bitter disappointment.

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