Football

Queiroz: Iran here to win its own World Cup

SWANSONG: Carlos Queiroz will leave his job as Iran coach after the World Cup. PHOTO: AFP

Iran's World Cup clash with Lionel Messi's Argentina in Belo Horizonte is the most "eagerly anticipated" in the country's history, coach Carlos Queiroz said this morning (Singapore time).

And the Portuguese, who has revealed he will leave the job after the World Cup, insisted his Asian minnows would not be defeated before even taking to the field against the South American heavyweights.

"It's the most eagerly-anticipated match in the history of Iranian football. We've never played against a team like this before," said the 61-year-old Queiroz.

It was a Group F match "between a team who are here to win the World Cup and another who are here to win its own World Cup, so to speak", he added.

"I think our primary mission is to go beyond our limits, to put in an outstanding performance because we're up against a team of great quality.

"We can't play against Messi, we'll play with Messi, with a lot of concentration and discipline."

Although Queiroz's admiration for the Argentinians was palpable, he stressed that it does not mean his team will be in awe of their opponents.

The last time these two sides met, in a friendly in 1977, Iran earned a 1-1 draw against a team that featured Ossie Ardiles, Leopoldo Luque and Daniel Bertoni.

STUNNING

And Queiroz also pointed to a number of stunning upsets that have lit up this competition, such as Costa Rica's 1-0 win over Italy and Chile's 2-0 defeat of holders Spain, as reason to remain hopeful.

"No match is won before being played. That's the beauty of football," added the former Real Madrid boss and assistant at Manchester United to the legendary Alex Ferguson.

"Our path up until now has been very tough. The qualification in Asia was very difficult, but we have a great opportunity to play against these fantastic players (Argentina)."

Argentina top Group F after beating Bosnia-Hercegovina in their opener. Iran held Nigeria to a goalless draw. - AFP.

World Cup