Iranian national team

Iran on Tuesday became the first country to arrive in Russia for the 2018 Fifa World Cup, nine days to the commencement of the competition.

They touched down at 20:26 local time at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport.

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The Asian country, ranked 36th in the world by Fifa, are featuring at the tournament for the fifth time.

“Being in Russia is a dream come true for Iranian football,” coach of the side Carlos Queiroz said.

”We have achieved this dream through lots of hard work and sacrifices, which only heightens how honoured and privileged we feel to be here. The Iranian national team will relish rubbing shoulders with the best teams in the world and being part of this fantastic World Cup family. We arrive raring to keep this dream going for as long as possible and we look forward to playing our part in making this the best World Cup ever.”

Their first game would be against Group B rivals Morocco on 15 June in Nizhny Novgorod.

The global football fiesta would kick off in Moscow’s historic Luzhniki Stadium on 14 June, with Russia confronting Saudi Arabia in the opening game.