There are only 25 days to countdown to the IBSA Blind Football World Championships in Madrid, Spain.
The Iranian blind football national team were formed in 2004 and today stand out as one of the strongest nations on the world stage.
Here are some facts about the world-ranked No.5 team, and Paralympic silver medallists, ahead of the first World Championships games on 7 June.
- Iran made their international debut at the 2007 IBSA Blind Football Asian Championships in Seoul, South Korea. They secured bronze thanks to a 1-0 victory over Japan.
- Iran claimed silver at the 2011 IBSA Blind Football Asian Championships in Sendai, Japan. Three years later, they won the 2014 ASEAN Para Games for the first time and were undefeated throughout the competition.
- At the 2015 IBSA Blind Football Asian Championships in Tokyo, Japan, Iran continued their undefeated streak. Defeating China 1-0 on penalties in the final, they lifted their first Asian Championship trophy.
- Iran subsequently qualified for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, where they sprung a surprise in the semi-finals by beating Argentina 2-1 on penalties. However they lost to Brazil 1-0 in the gold medal match.
- Iran went on another undefeated streak at the 2017 IBSA Blind Football Asian Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. That was until they met China again in the final, who scored two goals to prevent them from retaining the title. But with their second place finish, Iran qualified for the IBSA Blind Football World Championships for the first time in their history.
- Team captain Behzad Zadaliasghari, who led his country to history by becoming the first Asian country to stand on the Paralympic Games podium in the sport at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, will be a key player. His goal against Morocco in Rio also made headlines around the world.
Iran will play against Argentina, France and Colombia in group B. Their opening game will be against Argentina.
The 2018 IBSA Blind Football World Championships will feature 16 of the world’s best teams. As well as the title on offer the competition is also an important step on the road to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
After the Opening Ceremony and match on 7 June, the group stages get underway in earnest on 8 June. The quarter finals and play-offs begin on 13 June with the final taking place on 17 June.
Picture Description: The starting five and guide of the Iran National Team take a team photo before their opening match at the 2017 IBSA Blind Football Asian Championships.