How Carlos Queiroz turned Iran into Asia’s best World Cup hope

The Guardian | : The only one of the dozen names on Fifa’s shortlist for 2017 men’s coach of the year not working in Europe was Tite, who ensured Brazil were the first qualifier for the 2018 World Cup. Iran were second but that was not enough for Carlos Queiroz, who has now led three different national teams to four World Cups. He may have to wait for success at the World Cup to turn eurocentric heads.

That means finishing above two of Portugal, Spain and Morocco in Russia to progress to the knockout stage at the fifth time of asking. If there is any Asian team that can manage that then it is Iran. For four years Team Melli have been the highest-ranked national side on the continent, for just a little less time they have been the best on the pitch, too.

In Brazil four years ago Queiroz, whose six years as number two at Manchester United in the previous decade was split by a season in charge of Real Madrid, had the team well-organised in a tough group containing Nigeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Argentina. A last-minute piece of Messi magic ended Iranian dreams of a first second-round appearance at the fourth attempt but Team Melli picked themselves off the floor. Now they are just as tight at the back but have more options going forward, younger overall but with more international experience.

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