Preview: Iran v Angola

Angola will attempt to create one of the biggest upsets ever at the World Cup Finals and qualify for the elimination rounds when they face Iran in Leipzig on Wednesday.

    Surely a man at home in the wet: Akwa

    Few thought that Angola would even be competitive at their first ever finals, but their performances in their first two games has suggested that bigger things might just be around the corner.

    If they are to qualify the Africans need to defeat the already eliminated Iran by three clear goals and then hope that former colonial master Portugal can do them a favour and defeat Mexico.

    It calls for decisive action, it calls for Love.

    With the equation clear, Angolan coach Luis Oliveira Goncalves is set to bring in Love as a strike partner for star forward Akwa.

    "It is clear that we have to play in a more attacking way than before," said the man dubbed "The Professor".

    He will also need to find a substitute for midfielder Andre after he was sent off against Mexico, and is hence suspended for the Iran match.

    For a country still rebuilding after only emerging from civil war in 2002, the tournament has been a wonderful distraction and the team can already look forward to a heroes welcome back home.

    Goalkeeper Joao Ricardo, who is currently without a club was already proud of his team’s achievements.

    "Our country has been through a difficult period," said the 36 year old.

    Looking to add a World Cup victory
    to his CV: Joao Ricardo

    "This success will give millions of people great joy."

    Many players treat the World Cup as something of a shop window, but he was direct when quizzed about a possible career move.

    "What is my future? My future is winning against Iran."

    In contrast, Iran are playing for pride and the possibility of a more enjoyable return trip to Tehran.

    Already facing a huge amount of domestic criticism the team know the only way to salvage something from the tournament is with a victory.

    "This match is a question of honour. We want to leave Germany with our heads held high," said midfielder Ferydoon Zandi who plays for German club Kaiserslautern.

    The match also signals the end of an era for Iranian football with the game likely to be the last World Cup appearance for prolific striker Ali Daei.

    Named on the bench, he will be looking for a fitting way to end an international career which has spanned 148 matches and produced 109 goals.

    With Angola knowing their only hope lies in plenty of goals, this should be an entertaining fixture.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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