Sports

Queiroz has given Iran some real belief

IRAN

Iran make the trip to Brazil for what will be their fourth World Cup Finals and their brief is clear – beat what they have done before.

On those previous occasions, progression beyond the group stage did not materialise but, this time, after an excellent qualifying campaign, hopes are somewhat higher.

Iran finished top of their Asian qualifying group, winning five of their eight games and conceding just two goals along the way.

Those numbers are a credit to coach Carlos Queiroz who has given Iran a real sense of belonging on the international stage.  

Queiroz has coached at two of the world’s leading clubs in Manchester United and Real Madrid and has certainly made his mark with Iran, as the 100,000 fans who bore witness to their vital 1-0 qualifying win over South Korea would testify to.  

Queiroz scouted the then-Standard Liege striker Reza Ghoochannejhad (above) and asked him to lead his attack, which he did so to devastating effect, scoring the vital goals as Iran booked their passage to South America.

Much will rest on his shoulders, though he has scored just once since joining English Championship side Charlton Athletic in January.

There is plenty of excitement in Iran, with the sense of euphoria so high that 40,000 people turned out at Teheran airport to herald their World Cup heroes after they secured qualification.