Queiroz aiming to take Iran to the next level

FILE – In this Sept, 6, 2011, file photo, Iran’s head coach Carlos Queiroz gusters during a third round of Asian qualifying match against Qatar for the 2014 World Cup in Doha.(AP Photo/Osama Faisal, File)

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz already has plenty of World Cup experience, and the country’s national football team will be hoping to make the most of it in Brazil.

The former Real Madrid coach was in charge of his native Portugal in 2010, helping the team reach the round of 16. But things will likely be tougher this time with Iran in Group F alongside Argentina, Bosnia and Nigeria.

“This is our `Mission Impossible’ once, twice and three times,” the 61-year-old Queiroz said. “But that is what makes the tournament attractive.”

With spells in England, Spain, the United States, Japan, South Africa and the Middle East, Queiroz has the kind of resume that makes it clear he’s not daunted by a challenge.

After an unsuccessful 10 months at Real Madrid in 2003-04, Queiroz returned to his former assistant job at Manchester United. During his second spell, he was credited with helping transform United into a more tactically sophisticated team that won the 2008 Champions League title.

“He’d train us, prepare us for games, organize the team and decide the things we needed to work on,” Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs wrote of Queiroz in his autobiography. “Some said he had too much influence, but I don’t agree. He impressed me from the start.”

Queiroz left Old Trafford for Portugal, where he took charge of the national team in 2008. With Cristiano Ronaldo as the star, Portugal reached the second round of the 2010 World Cup before losing to eventual champion Spain 1-0.

In September of the same year, Queiroz was fired a week after being banned for six months by the Portuguese Anti-Doping Authority for allegedly disrupting a routine doping test scheduled for May 2010. The ban was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2011.

Queiroz agreed to coach Iran in April 2011 and was given the task of leading the team to a fourth World Cup.

Tactically, Queiroz focused on making Iran more difficult to beat, but for a time qualification was in doubt. Only by winning the last three qualifying games did Iran secure a place in Brazil.

“We have come a long way since I arrived here and we have worked hard to improve,” Queiroz said. “At the World Cup, we will get a chance to see how we compare with the best in the world.”

By The Associated Press


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