Football

We know Morocco well, but they know nothing about us: Queiroz

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz says his team can upset Morocco because the African team know little about Asia's second-ranked side.

GROUP B
 MOROCCO IRAN

The teams will meet tomorrow in their Group B opener, ahead of the heavyweight clash between the group's fancied teams Spain and Portugal.

Herve Renard's Morocco may not have the same billing of the European sides in their group, but the Atlas Lions have not lost in the past 12 months.

Not that it worries Queiroz.

The Portuguese was quoted by the Tehran Times as saying: "We have the potential to stun Morocco in our first match because we know the team very well, but they know nothing about us."

He also called on Nike to apologise to his team after the American sportswear giant said it could not supply his players with football boots for the World Cup due to sanctions.

"US sanctions mean that, as a US company, Nike cannot supply shoes to players in the Iranian national team at this time," Nike had said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Queiroz said it was an unnecessary statement and asked Fifa to help.

"It has been a source of inspiration for us," Queiroz told Sky Sports.

"This last comment of Nike was an unnecessary statement. Everybody is aware about the sanctions. They should come out and apologise because this arrogant conduct against 23 boys is absolutely ridiculous and unnecessary."

Former Real Madrid boss Queiroz called Group B the hardest group at Russia 2018, but Morocco playmaker Hakim Ziyech believes his side can make it out of the group.

The Ajax Amsterdam star told Kwese ESPN: "If we don't believe that we can progress, what is the point of going to the tournament?

"It means a lot to have qualified for the World Cup.

"It is the first time in 20 years that we've made the World Cup, and I'm proud to have been a part of the team that have achieved that...

"This is a difficult group, but if we look at it through a positive lens it can be good... good for us as players, but also good for us as a country. To play against these kinds of countries will be difficult, but it will be nice, too."

Football