Iran captain and ex-Brighton winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh: England were the last team I wanted to draw at the World Cup

Iran captain and former Brighton & Hove Albion winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh admitted England were the last team he wanted his nation to come up up against at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Jahanbakhsh's Iran and the Three Lions have been drawn in Group B alongside the United States and the winner of the delayed European play-off involving Scotland, Ukraine and Wales.

Team Melli and England meet on the opening day of the tournament. Iran and Gareth Southgate's charges will kick off Group B on Monday, November 21 at the Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan at 1pm.

Jahanbakhsh, who scored twice in 50 Premier League appearances for the Seagulls before moving to Dutch club Feyenoord in July, said it will be 'very difficult' for Team Melli to progress to the knockout stages.

Iran captain and former Brighton & Hove Albion winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh admitted England were the last team he wanted his nation to come up up against at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Picture by Alex Davidson/Getty Images

But the 28-year-old was confident that he and his teammates will make Iran proud in Qatar this winter.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, he said: "England was the last team I would have picked, but it happened!

"England could easily have three top teams in the World Cup right now, they're really well organised with the manager. They've worked together for a long time now and they know their strategy.

"Obviously the US are a strong side, they have a good generation now and most of their players are playing in Europe.

"And we still have to wait for the third team but we need to respect Scotland, Wales and Ukraine a lot. I don't know a lot about Ukraine but the other two teams have made a lot of steps.

"It's going to be very difficult to be honest but we're going to be ready for it, prepared for it and we're going to make our nation proud."

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