Iran qualifies for 2018 World Cup after beating Uzbekistan

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Iran became the second team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup by beating Uzbekistan 2-0 on Monday.

It is the first time Iran has qualified for consecutive World Cups, and will be its fifth appearance in total.

Sardar Azmoun scored in the 23rd minute and Mehdi Taremi in the 88th at Azadi Stadium in Tehran.

Iran, managed by former Real Madrid and Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz since 2011, tops Group A of Asian qualifying. The team is eight points clear of third-placed Uzbekistan with two qualifying games left out of 10, so cannot be denied a top-two finish.

South Korea is in second place, a point ahead of Uzbekistan with a game in hand. Iran will finish top of the group.

Iran has yet to concede a goal in qualifying.

Brazil was the first team to qualify for next year's World Cup in Russia.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.