The pressure will be on Sardar Azmoun this summer as Iran try to silence their critics at the 2018 World Cup.

The striker burst onto the scene in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup and has since made a name for himself, attracting attention from some of the bigger clubs around Europe.

He is known for his silky skills and he has continued to impress for Russian giants Rubin Kazan.

Azmoun originally left the club to join Rostov in 2016 but he has returned and will be hoping to end the season on a high before the World Cup.

His performances in the Champions League in recent years have caught the eye of scouts from Marseille, Liverpool, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund.

Iran have never qualified from the group stages in their four World Cup appearances and they finished with just one point – in a 0-0 draw with Nigeria – in 2014.

Azmoun was left out of that squad as a 19-year-old by coach Carlos Queiroz but he has since shown his quality on the international stage.

He scored a hat-trick in June 2016 to establish himself as the No.1 striker in Iran before scoring the winning goal in the 1-0 victory over Uzbekistan which helped his country quality for Russia.

Iran are 26.00 to win Group B and many consider them outsiders for the tournament as they prepare to take on Morocco, Spain and Portugal.

They will warm up for the tournament by playing Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Uzbekistan and Turkey in friendlies before playing their first game on June 15.

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