Iran vs Nigeria World Cup 2014: 'This our World Cup final,' says Iran coach Carlos Queiroz
The teams meet in Group F today with qualification at stake
Wednesday 25 June 2014
It may lack the glamour of some World Cup games but Carlos Queiroz, the Iran coach, has no doubt about the significance of his side’s Group F fixture against eliminated Bosnia today, describing it as “our World Cup final”.
Iran go into the contest in Salvador knowing that a victory could lift them into second place in the group so long as Nigeria lose to Argentina and there is a goal difference swing of three between the sides. The Iranians have never been beyond the first round of a World Cup but Queiroz has not given up hope of making history after two encouraging performances from his team, who drew 0-0 with Nigeria before losing to an injury-time Lionel Messi goal against Argentina.
“For us to play against Bosnia tomorrow is our World Cup final, simple as that,” said Queiroz. “We didn’t come to win the trophy, but we raised our ambition by trying to qualify for the next round, contrary to the belief of most people. When people were talking about our group they didn’t mention Iran. Our dream is to qualify for the second round. Most people believe it is unrealistic, but let us dream.”
Sir Alex Ferguson has described Queiroz as his best-ever No2 at Manchester United and there was a touch of the Fergies about the way he railed against the “serious mistakes” from referees so far in Group F. Iran’s Ashkan Dejagah had a strong penalty appeal turned down against Argentina, while Bosnia saw a legitimate Edin Dzeko goal ruled out against Nigeria. “We could have now four points,” Queiroz complained. “I hope tomorrow […] the refereeing is at the level of a World Cup.”
Queiroz has instilled defensive organisation in Iran according to Fulham midfielder Dejagah, who is hopeful his team can have some success at the other end of the pitch. “He's [Queiroz] spent a lot of time on the training field making sure that we have that we're compact and ready to take on the best teams in the world. Hopefully this third match will bring another step up. We'll definitely be going for goals and we still have a chance to go through, I'm sure of that.”
Long after his career in English football has ended, Emile Heskey's impotency in front of goal remains an object of ridicule.
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