SARANSK, Russia (Reuters) - Iran play Portugal in their final World Cup Group B match on Monday:
Where: Mordovia Arena, Saransk
When: Monday June 25, 2100 local (1800 GMT/2 PM ET)
Referee: To be announced
- Spain, who take on already ousted Morocco, and Portugal are on four points and need a draw from their respective matches. But Iran are a point behind with three and must beat Portugal to progress.
- The European sides will not only aim for victory but will also try to outscore each other with the top spot in the group set to be decided on goal difference.
- Iran benefited from a late own goal by Morocco to get their World Cup off to a winning start in St Petersburg but lost 1-0 to Spain in a hard-fought match in Kazan.
- Iran’s Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz was in charge of Spanish giants Real Madrid for the 2003-04 season. He also managed Portugal for more than two years from 2008, including the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
- Team Melli striker Sardar Azmoun has played his club football in Russia since 2013 and last year rejoined Rubin Kazan for a second spell.
- Portugal have lost twice out of 26 competitive internationals since Fernando Santos took over as coach in September 2014, with one of those being a penalty shootout defeat by Chile in the 2017 Confederations Cup.
- Cristiano Ronaldo has scored all of Portugal’s goals in this tournament including a hat-trick in the 3-3 draw against Spain. His goal against Morocco made him Europe’s all-time leading scorer in international matches. Former Iran striker Ali Daei is the only one ahead in the world with 109 strikes.
Previous meetings: The two sides have met twice, with Portugal winning both. The most recent fixture was in the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany where Deco and Ronaldo scored for Portugal.
Compiled by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Christian Radnedge