TEHRAN – Branko Ivankovic says that Iran had a chance to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup knockout stage but his players’ injury prevented it from happening.
Ivankovic was already an established name in Asian football before taking the helm of the Omani national team at the beginning of this year.
Oman are only the second national team he coaches after Iran.
Ivankovic has also coached Iranian football giants Persepolis and helped the Reds win seven domestic titles.
“When I coached Iran, we had a strong group of players who got us to Germany 2006, but we had a lot of problems before the start of the tournament when Ali Karimi, Mehdi Mahdavikia,Vahid Hashemian and Ferydoon Zandi got injured. They joined us a few days before the finals but they weren’t fully match fit,” Ivankovis said in an interview with FIFA.com.
“We played well against Mexico, Portugal and Angola, but that wasn’t sufficient to help us progress to the knockout stage, although it was a great experience.
“My experience with Croatia at France 1998 helped me with Iran. At the 2004 Asian Cup in China, we put in a great performance and came third. We beat a Korea Republic team who came fourth at the 2002 World Cup. After that, the Iranian national team continued to make progress,” he added.
Original News : https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/452533/Iranian-players-not-match-fit-in-2006-World-Cup-Ivankovic