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Iran World Cup squad includes stars banned for Israel match

AFP  |  Tehran 

announced its squad for late Sunday, with two midfield stars making the cut despite being banned last year for playing against an Israeli team.

and were among the 35 players announced by on its website.

officials said last August that Shojaei, 33, and Haji Safi, 28, would be banned for life after appearing for their against an Israeli team.

does not recognise the Jewish state and bars its athletes from appearing against Israelis.

But there was uproar from fans and confusion reigned over the issue, with Shojaei returning to the national squad in March and Haji Safi never actually banned.

is unable to openly discuss the ban on facing Israelis because it breaches international sporting regulations.

There were no surprises in the rest of the squad, but Iranian fans will be pinning their hopes on 24-year-old and attacking Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who plays for The Netherlands' AZ Alkmaar.

This season, Jahanbakhsh became the first Asian to become top scorer in a major European league, with 21 league goals.

Iran's national team has been coached the past seven years by Portugal's Carlos Queiroz, a former one-season at Real Madrid and an assistant to at Manchester United.

Team Melli faces a tough group in the World Cup, with Spain, and

Iran had a strong run in qualifiers, becoming the first to book their place from the

Shojaei will be making a record third appearance for Iran at the He has remained vague about the ban, but said in March he was pleased to return as "a soldier" for Team Melli.

Iran squad Goalkeepers: Alireza Beiranvand (Persepolis), Seyed Hossein Hosseini (Esteghlal), (Zob Ahan), (Maritimo/POR) Defenders: (Ostende/BEL), (Esteghlal), (FC/USA), Seyed Jalal Hosseini (Persepolis), Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh (Padideh), (Alsaad/QAT), Mohammad Ansari (Persepolis), Pejman Montazeri (Esteghlal), Seyed Majid Hosseini (Esteghlal), (Akhmat Grozny/RUS), (Esteghlal), Saeid AGhaei (Sepahan), (Esteghlal) Midfielders: Saeid Ezatolahi (Amkar Perm/RUS), (AEK Athens/GRE), Ahmad Abdolahzadeh (Foolad), (Ostersunds/SWE), Mahdi Torabi (Saipa), (Notthingham Forest/ENG), (Esteghlal), (Olympiacos/GRE), Ali Karimi (Sepahan), (Al-khor/QAT), Ali Gholizadeh (Saipa), Vahid Amiri (Persepolis) Forwards: (AZ Alkmaar/NED), (Olympiacos/RE), (Al-Gharafa/QAT), (Rubin Kazan/RUS), (Heerenveen/NED), (Charleroi/BEL) .

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, May 14 2018. 15:20 IST
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