Iran will start the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ as rank outsiders, but their players have vowed to make life tough for their fancied opponents.
"No game is going to be easy for us," midfielder Andranik Teymourian said at a training camp in eastern Austria. "But playing against Iran is not going to be easy for any of our opponents.
Iran start their fourth World Cup against Argentina, Nigeria and Bosnia-Herzegovina in Group F. They have never made it past the first round and are widely predicted to struggle this time.
Iran won just one point at their last appearance - thanks to a draw against Angola - at Germany 2006. Their previous tournaments were in 1978 and 1998. They have a record of one win, two draws and six defeats from nine World Cup matches.
They head to Brazil, however, having topped their Asian qualifying group ahead of Korea Republic - a fact the players will not let anyone forget.
"This shows the enormous fighting spirit shown by the players, proven in the qualifiers, and the fact that we could qualify is an absolutely tremendous achievement for our team and I personally hope that we can be one of the favourites also," said Teymourian.
NEC player Alireza Jahanbakhsh said: "That's like a window for all the world, all the countries can see it, so we're going to be our best and get a result in the World Cup."
The first test will be against Nigeria on 16 June.
"I think it's going to be a tough battle," said defender Steven Beitashour, a 2012 MLS All-Star player, now with the Vancouver Whitecaps. "If you can start off the World Cup right and get the win, I think you have a good chance of getting to the next round."