Carlos Queiroz bids farewell after Iran sent home sans a win

Gary Meenaghan talks with Carlos Queiroz after their World Cup exit, his last match as Iran coach, with the Portuguese saying 'thank you' for his time with the team.

Carlos Queiroz is shown prior to Iran's match against Bosnia on Wednesday night at the 2014 World Cup. The match, a 3-1 loss, sent Iran out of the World Cup and was Queiroz's last in charge of the team. Javier Soriano / AFP / June 25, 2014
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SALVADOR // Carlos Queiroz, the popular and pragmatic Iran coach, reluctantly resigned on Wednesday night after failing to receive a concrete offer from the Iranian football association.

The Portuguese journeyman watched his side’s lingering hopes of progressing to the knockout stages of the World Cup fizzle out during a 3-1 defeat to Bosnia-Herzegovina, yet he and his team were heralded on social media.

The Middle East’s sole representatives were drawn in a tough group yet started their final Group F encounter knowing a win could see them into the round of 16 for the first time.

Bosnia’s Edin Dzeko, however, made the task all the harder when he opened the scoring midway through the first half. Miralem Pjanic added a second 14 minutes after the break, and when Iran scored their first goal of the finals through Reza Ghoochannejad, late in the game, Avdija Vrsajevic restored the two-goal lead a minute later.

The Iranians depart Brazil with their heads held high after solid, disciplined displays against Nigeria and Argentina, and Queiroz remains a well-liked figure among the country’s football supporters. He said, however, that he decided to leave after failing to receive backing from the country’s decision-makers.

“Over the past 11 months, I showed my availability and commitment to keep going with this project, but I never received a single concrete objective proposal,” Queiroz said.

“I will always keep the country, fans and players in my heart because I fell in love with them – they gave me everything – but you cannot have a marriage when only one side wants to be married and, unfortunately, it is not the people on Facebook who make the decisions. I waited and there was a moment that I was forced to make a decision, so now I say ‘thank you’.”

Against Bosnia, Queiroz’s side had shown caution in attack and Safet Susic, the opposition manager, said he was surprised that a team that needed to win would play so defensively. “Iran needed a win, but they were still calculating,” he said.

“Maybe this is what backfired for them. I got the feeling they were playing for a draw. Maybe that is just their style and it is difficult to break the habit, but I was surprised.”

Queiroz took exception to Safic’s remarks, replying: “Next time, I will give him the luxury of training Iran and I will train Bosnia and we will see what he can do. When you have players from Roma, Man City, Milan, it’s easy to give some opinions after the game.”

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae

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