Let the gods de­cide, says Iran’s Queiroz

Afro Voice (Western Cape) - - Sport -

CAN­CELLED friendlies, world-class op­po­si­tion and even a short­age of boots will not dent Iran’s World Cup dreams, says coach Car­los Queiroz, whose side have be­come ac­cus­tomed to up­set­ting the odds.

Iran open their fifth World Cup cam­paign to­day against Morocco in what Queiroz de­scribed as a “must-win” match in St Peters­burg with the might of Spain and Por­tu­gal to come in Group B.

Queiroz’s men romped through the Asian qual­i­fy­ing rounds with­out tast­ing de­feat in 18 games.

But their prepa­ra­tions for Rus­sia were dis­rupted as warm-up friendlies against Greece and then Kosovo were can­celled.

Ear­lier this week, Nike an­nounced it had stopped sup­ply­ing boots to the Ira­nian team due to US sanc­tions against the coun­try.

“We are not ever us­ing apolo­gies or jus­ti­fi­ca­tions, we are us­ing the dif­fi­cul­ties as a source of in­spi­ra­tion for our mo­ti­va­tions to be strength­ened dur­ing the games,” Queiroz said.

The for­mer Real Madrid coach dodged ques­tions on whether the sen­sa­tional sack­ing of Madrid-bound Julen Lopetegui as Spain boss two days be­fore their open­ing game against Por­tu­gal raised his ex­pec­ta­tions of progress to the last 16.

For now, Iran re­main the rank out­siders in the group but Queiroz is happy to play the role of un­der­dogs.

“We ad­mit that the favourites are Morocco, Spain and Por­tu­gal due to his­tory, World Cup prepa­ra­tion, ma­tu­rity and play­ers in the best teams in Eu­rope,” he added.

“We con­cede that favouritism, but we don’t tol­er­ate that we are not ca­pa­ble to win. No­body can un­der­mine our ex­pec­ta­tions and hopes.

“We are here to com­pete with the favourites and we hope the gods of foot­ball speak higher and they make de­ci­sions.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.