Croatian football manager Dragan Skocic (file photo)

Croatian football manager Dragan Skocic

Iran’s National Team Loses Boss With Only Four Months To World Cup


Croatian football (soccer) manager Dragan Skocic has been dismissed as Iran’s head coach with little more than four months to the World Cup finals in Qatar. 

Iran's state news agency IRNA reported on Monday that Iran's football federation had decided to dismiss the 53-year-old, adding that "there are unconfirmed reports that several Iranian candidates have a good chance to replace Skocic."

Skocic, who took over from Marc Wilmots as coach in February 2020, secured the Iranians a spot at the World Cup by topping their qualification group ahead of South Korea. He won 15 of his 18 games in charge but has lost two of his last three matches, including a 2-1 friendly defeat by Algeria in Qatar last month.

Earlier in the day, Iranian media reported that Team Melli’s star striker Ali Daei rejected the post, leaving the fate of the national squad in limbo as there are oppositions to all of the reported candidates for the job. The former Bayern Munich forward was the world's top international goalscorer with 109 goals, until his record was broken by Cristiano Ronaldo in 2021. 

Current Oman boss Branko Ivankovic, who led Iran to the World Cup finals in Germany in 2006, and ex-Osasuna midfielder Javad Nekounam, as well as former Iran’s Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz, who served as the manager of his native Portugal's national team, and many others, are among the other possible names for the job. Queiroz secured Iran’s berth for the FIFA World Cup 2014 and 2018. 

Team Melli has been drawn in Group B of Qatar FIFA World Cup along with the United States, England and Wales.

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