Russia 2018 will be the second straight year that some iteration of the Spanish and Iranian national teams will meet in some sort of World Cup betting environment. The two squads collided in the quarterfinals of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup on October 22nd in India. Spain took the day 3-1, and added insult to injury when, as ESPN.com reported it, “with all of Spain’s outfield players camped near the Iran box, goalkeeper Alvaro Fernandez took the opportunity to stroll up the pitch and set base at the halfway line, stretching his arms and legs while he savoured the game from the best seat in the house.”
20 June 2018 21:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Iran vs. Spain
Kazan Arena, Kazan
That may have been a bad idea. As people betting on the World Cup may or may not know, in 1989 Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, proclaimed a fatwā on British-Indian novelist and essayist Salman Rushdie, which is still in effect. All of which is to say that the Iranians never forgive nor forget. That’s something that Iran head coach Carlos Queiroz might want to keep in mind. The Portuguese manager has been very vocal about the Princes of Persia’s preparations – or lack thereof – for the World Cup betting event known as Russia 2018.
“I’m here to say Iran needs special local preparations,” Queiroz said in a video posted on his Facebook page. “I don’t care about the threats and what they have been trying to do to stop me talking. The Iranian fans deserve special World Cup preparations. We need to implement special preparations to bring honour and pride. They can fire me, I don’t care, but it’s time to express my opinion because the Iranian fans deserve that and the players deserve full support to be ready for this competition.”
Little known fact; in Iran, when they lay you off, they literally fire you out of a cannon. Then again, Salman Rushdie is still alive and kicking and going toe to toe with Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm, so perhaps those are indeed idle threats. Additionally, Queiroz has achieved hero status among the people after qualifying the national team to back-to-back World Cups for the first time in the history of the country.
All things considered, Queiroz expects Iran to improve upon their 2014 showing. “As we all know in soccer nothing is impossible. There are times when the mouse escapes from the cat. Iranian national team will defend their honor and aim to make the whole Iranian people feel proud,” he said. “To play against Spain, Portugal and Morocco will be a great opportunity for our players to show why they are here and especially to show that they deserve to be here. I’m sure we are going to do well. We are going to be competitive as always and no matter what happens in each game, I’m sure our fans will be proud and happy with their team.” did we say “expects”? Let’s amend that to “hopes.” And Iran’s World Cup betting odds do hang on a wing and a prayer.