Iran's Steven Beitashour Feels Second Place in Group F is 'Up For Grabs'
Vancouver Whitecaps' Iranian defender Steven Beitashour may be over in Brazil right now at his first ever World Cup, but he's not one to let the occasion get to him and is firmly focused on the job in hand, helping Iran out of a difficult Group F.
"To be honest, I can tell you what the hotel is like and I can tell you what the field is like. That's all we really do," Beitashour told reporters in a conference call on Thursday.
"Most people think we're on vacation but when I come to play soccer anywhere, even in MLS, I'm there to work."
That work comes in a tough group containing many people's favorites to win the trophy this time around, Argentina, along with Bosnia and Herzegovina, who only lost one match on their way to winning their European qualifying group, and the always dangerous Nigeria.
It's a tough ask for Iran to get any points from the group, never mind make a concerted push for one of the two qualifying spots, but it's a task Beitashour feels his Iran side is more than capable of achieving.
"I definitely think Argentina is the favorite. They do deserve it," Beitashour admitted. "They've been a great team and they've not been hyped for nothing. I think everyone expects that out of them, but I think the second spot of our group is up for grabs. We've got three hungry teams that are trying to win it, so that's why it's so important for that first game to start off on the right foot."
That first game comes on Monday against Nigeria and anything but three points will make it a near impossible task for Iran to qualify for the last 16.
A win though sets them up nicely for a push for second and on the world stage, anything can happen.
Whilst Beitashour admits his Iranian team may not be full of household names, he feels that is a benefit to his side, as is the team unity and bonding that he feels is very evident in the camp.
"I think we're real organised defensively," Beitashour said. "You look at other teams and you look at the individual players and they definitely have superstars. I don't necessarily know if we have superstars, but we definitely have a team and any time you have that I think a team can beat individuals.
"Our camaraderie is really building and I think if we can take that to the first game and build on that momentum, I have pretty good faith in ourselves."