Preview – Group B: Portugal vs IR Iran

Islamic Republic of Iran are on the brink of creating history and European champions Portugal can expect a highly charged Team Melli when the two sides clash in a 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Group B match at the Mordovia Arena on Monday.

Both sides go into their final group game hoping that it will not be their last appearance at Russia 2018.

The difference is that a draw would be enough for Portugal to progress, while IR Iran need a win to secure qualification and break new ground in the process as they have never advanced past the group stage in their previous appearances.

The Iranians showed themselves to be formidable opponents in their first two matches, particularly impressing in defence. Their resilience was rewarded with a clean sheet against Morocco, while one mistake cost them against Spain.

On the other hand, they were far more threatening going forward against Spain, creating a number of clear-cut chances.

Had they had a bit more luck, they could have scored more than the solitary goal they managed against Morocco.

It is no secret that this Portugal side revolves around Cristiano Ronaldo, to whom they are indebted for their four points to date.

Having bagged a hat-trick to earn the European champions a share of the spoils against Spain, he hit the winner against Morocco to take his country a step closer to qualification.

However, having exited at the group stage in Brazil 2014, Ronaldo’s teammates will also have to deliver lest their talismanic captain have an off day in front of goal.

Did you know?

The two teams have faced each other at the FIFA World Cup once before. That was in the Germany 2006 group stage, with Portugal running out 2-0 winners and a certain youngster by the name of Cristiano Ronaldo getting the second goal.