July 11 (Reuters) – Dragan Skocic has been dismissed as Iran head coach with little more than four months to go to the World Cup finals in Qatar, Iran‘s state news agency IRNA reported on Monday.
It said 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”.
The move comes after 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.
The Croatian 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.
Current Oman boss Branko Ivankovic, who led Iran to the World Cup finals in Germany in 2006, has been linked with the role as well as former Bayern Munich striker Ali Daei and ex-Osasuna midfielder Javad Nekounam.
Iran will be appearing at the World Cup for the sixth time in the country’s history and on a third consecutive occasion.
They have been drawn in Group B and will kick off their campaign against England on Nov. 21 before taking on Wales and the United States.
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(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong,Parisa Hafezi in DubaiEditing by Christian Radnedge)