The road to Brasil 2014 has not been paved with gold for Iran's national team. Without wishing to add to the numerous difficulties that have been shouldered by manager Carlos Queiroz, Bloomberg Sports has added a "Power Ranking" section to its prediction web page in the last 24 hours, and Iran is ranked second-last above Honduras. The final 23-man squad was finalized yesterday and, interestingly, 35-year-old striker, Ali Karimi, who has garnered 127 caps as an Iranian player, is not part of the lineup. In February 2014, the team had only managed 270 minutes of warm-up play in the preceding eight months and, to add insult to injury, the Iranian football federation, set to make US$8 million from the event, has informed the team that not enough new strips will be provided to allow for the traditional swapping of jerseys at the end of each match. It is perhaps unsurprising that Queiroz has recently made clear: "Don't expect much from Team Melli in Brasil. We will not make it to the next round.
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