Iran are an extremely defensive-minded side, although they also possess individual talent in the final third. But unquestionably the zone featuring most intelligence is in the centre of midfield.
Nekounam is the captain of the side and the man given licence to do as he pleases—drop deep and collect the ball from the centre-backs or sprint forward to join the attackers and offer a goalscoring threat.
His midfield partner, Andranik Teymourian, essentially plays a covering role and reacts to wherever Nekounam positions himself, doing the opposite.
With such great responsibility on his shoulders, Nekounam must deliver.