Former Manchester United coach finding added responsibility of international role brings unexpected demands
A kit that shrinks in the wash, 11 players reporting for a training camp and matches cancelled due to a lack of funds – it was never like this for Carlos Queiroz at Manchester United or Real Madrid. He has faced all this and more in the buildup to Brazil as manager of Iran, plus other trappings of the job that were beyond him at Old Trafford and the Bernabéu – acclaim, authority and a respect bordering on reverence from players and supporters alike. Every cloud, as they say.
The widely experienced Portuguese coach has approached the World Cup with an air of defiance and exasperation since guiding Iran to the finals 12 months ago. The highest-ranked Asian team in the tournament are the third nation Queiroz has taken to a World Cup, following South Africa in 2002 and Portugal in 2010, and history suggests they have done well to keep him at the helm forMonday’s opener against Nigeria. He quit South Africa before the 2002 finals over a dispute with the country’s football association (who reportedly want Queiroz back when his contract with Iran expires this summer) but has stomached much more to fulfil his duties with the side known back home as Team Melli.
Maybe he has mellowed with age at 61. Then again, consider his reaction when Iran clinched first place in their Asia qualifying group at South Korea’s expense last June. Queiroz celebrated that crucial victory on South Korean soil with a clenched-fist, up -yours salute to his opposite number Choi Kang-hee, sparking outrage among the home crowd in Ulsan, who pelted his team with water bottles, an attempted rush on the visitors’ bench by Choi’s players and official condemnation from Korea Football Association officials. Perhaps we should discount mellowing.
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