Iran's Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz answers a question during a press conference at the Baixada Arena in Curitiba on June 15, 2014, on the eve of their Group F 2014 FIFA World Cup football match against Nigeria
Iran's Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz answers a question during a press conference at the Baixada Arena in Curitiba on June 15, 2014, on the eve of their Group F 2014 FIFA World Cup football match against Nigeria © Jewel Samad - AFP
Iran's Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz answers a question during a press conference at the Baixada  Arena in Curitiba on June 15, 2014, on the eve of their Group F 2014 FIFA World Cup football match against Nigeria
AFP
Last updated: June 15, 2014

Football coach backs sanctioned Iran to play with pride

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz backed his World Cup team to overcome financial strife as well as crippling sanctions and prove the country is not an international bogey man.

Iran begin their campaign on Monday against Nigeria in a Group F which also includes mighty Argentina and debutants Bosnia-Hercegovina.

But they have already faced challenges on the road to Brazil, notably Queiroz's battle to get the country's cash-strapped authorities to finance training camps in South Africa and Austria.

"Iran has faced difficulties off the pitch but we want to make our point on the pitch," said the 61-year-old Portuguese coach who has been at the helm since 2011 and cut his teeth as Alex Ferguson's right-hand man at Manchester United.

"The economic and political situation is a complete disadvantage for the team but the players are very determined. They succeeded in qualifying for the finals and they will want to walk away from Brazil with respect and pride.

"We also want people to have an understanding of Iran and we want to bring joy to the Iran fans."

Triple Asian champions Iran are taking part in their fourth World Cup finals after 1978, 1998 and 2006 but have never got out of the group stage.

Queiroz expects a tough opener against African champions Nigeria.

"Their national team is made up of many stars, big players and they have a big advantage in terms of experience," he said.

"It's a very difficult match for us but we can draw on the spirit in the squad. They are favourites but nobody is strong enough to win every match and nobody is weak enough to lose them all."

"This is my squad. Iran play for passion, it's amazing to have this loyalty and affection."

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