Iran have monopolised futsal in Asia since its introduction, winning nine of the past ten continental tournaments, their only loss coming when Japan dethroned them in 2006.
Iran's qualification for this year's FIFA Futsal World Cup was a rather straightforward one. They made light work of the group stage, scoring 34 times in only three games while conceding just once in the process. A 9-1 quarter-final triumph over Lebanon sealed their progression to Brazil 2008, before they beat Japan by a solitary goal to reach the Asian final.
There, Iran cruised to a 4-0 win over hosts Thailand to lift the trophy for a record ninth time.
After conquering Asia time and time again under coach Hossein Shams, Iran have set their sights on transferring their continental dominance onto the global stage. To improve on their semi-final performance at Hong Kong 1992, coach Shams is embarking on building a more competent side. With youngsters Ali Asghar Hassan Zade and Mostafa Taiebi complementing veterans such as Mohammad Reza Heidarian, Vahid Shamsaei and Kazem Mohammadi, Shams puts faith into the players' individual talents to break new ground at Brazil 2008. "The team have made very good progress and the players' personal technique is helping out," he said. "We have some very special talents in futsal to count on."
Facts and figures
Vahid Shamsaee, Majid Latifi
Iran fired an incredible 48 goals in all six matches en route to the continental title, an average of eight goals per match.
The numbers game
9 - The number of times Iran have won the AFC Futsal Championship.