Iran sack Skocic with just four months to go to World Cup

July 12 – Iran have fired head coach Dragan Skocic just four months before the World Cup.

The Croatian has only been in the job since February 2020 after he took over from Marc Wilmots and secured top spot in Iran’s World Cup qualifying group with eight wins from 10 games.

In all, Skocic won 15 of his 18 games in charge and no team recorded more points in Asian World Cup qualifying. But the country has lost two of their last three, including a 2-1 friendly defeat by Algeria in Qatar last month.

Current Oman boss Branko Ivankovic, who led Iran to the World Cup finals in Germany in 2006, has been linked with the role as has former Bayern Munich striker Ali Daei and ex-Osasuna midfielder Javad Nekounam.

Iran, Asia’s top-ranked side, will be appearing at the World Cup for the sixth time in the country’s history and for the third consecutive time.

The country had a planned June friendly in Vancouver against Canada cancelled due to political tensions and the timing of Skocic’s sacking is bizarre in the extreme given his record. With the domestic league season beginning August 11, any new manager would only have the September international window and the lead-up to the World Cup to impose his own style.

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