TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Bahrain will take on longtime rival Iran next week in a World Cup qualifier that is both a key game in the fight to reach the 2014 tournament and one that will be played amid rising tensions between the two neighbors.
FIFA has appointed a security expert to help prepare for a ''high risk'' match. Political and religious tension between the two countries has heightened this year. Iranian protesters chanting ''Death To Saudi'' clashed with police earlier this year when Iran's Piroozi hosted Saudi club Al-Ittihad. Saudi Arabia is a key ally of Bahrain.
The match is the first of two in the next month between the two teams who both expect to advance from Group E to the next stage of qualifiers.