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Carlos Queiroz: Warm-up Drought could be Fatal for Iran

Carlos Queiroz: Warm-up Drought could be Fatal for Iran

Under the mentorship of Carlos Queiroz—who was appointed on April 2011—Iran had landslide successes in the qualifiers leading up to the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil. He began the campaign with the side by successfully beating Maldives 4–0. In the next round of the qualifiers, where they were seeded alongside Indonesia, Qatar, and Bahrain, Team Melli appeared to be the heavy favorites following massive victories against Bahrain 6-0 and Indonesia 1-4. Queiroz signed Ashkan Dejagah somewhere in this stage of the competition. The Fulham midfielder scored a brace in their battle against Qatar.

Their success in the third round earned them a place in the final stage of qualifications where Queiroz hired another set of foreign players, which included Reza Ghoochannejhad. Throughout the tilt, the side displayed show-stopping stunts which ultimately helped them emerge as their group’s champions. This resulted in their qualification to the Brazil World Cup, where they will fight against fellow top seeds Argentina, Nigeria, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

While it has been a triumphant journey for Iran in the qualifiers, Queiroz is anxious of how his men will perform in the finals. The team have never had any warm-up match since June 2013 and the vast period of stagnation will make his players’ skills rusty and inefficient. They may have brawled against Thailand and Lebanon for the 2015 Asian Cup qualifiers, but these are not the kind of challenges Team Melli should be tackling.

The political turmoil in Iran, the cancellation of a training camp in Portugal, the unavailability of MVPs, and the general lack of funds are all contributing factors to Iran’s scarcity of high-quality friendlies. These, among other things, have inevitably annoyed the 61-year old coach who is now faced with the difficult challenge of improving his side’s World Cup odds. In fact, he even called other managers to seek help.

“Over the past 32 months that I’ve been here as Iran football coach, I always tried to do my best and keep the team fully prepared,” explained Queiroz. “I have to call my friends [Sir Alex] Ferguson, [José] Mourinho, and [Fabio] Capello to get their advice for better decisions because I am not magician to do without financial support.”

 

Image source: The Guardian

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