Iran prepare for 'World Cup final' in Salvador

MARK GLEESON
Last updated 09:47 25/06/2014
Carlos Queiroz
Getty Images
OUTSPOKEN: Iran coach Carlos Queiroz has criticised the standard of refereeing at the World Cup.

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Iran coach Carlos Queiroz believes the Group F match against Bosnia-Herzegovina tomorrow will be their own ''World Cup final'' as they seek a victory that could put them into the second round.

''It's as simple as that,'' said Queiroz. ''The day we left Tehran everybody knew we weren't coming here to win the trophy, nobody expects that of us, no-one demands that from Iran.

''But we are allowed to dream of qualifying [for the knockout round]. Our first goal was to put Iran on the map of this World Cup in Brazil. We've achieved that and we've won respect.

''Now our dream is to qualify for the second round. Let us dream of that goal, it's free to dream,'' he added at the end of a lengthy discourse at the pre-match match news conference at the Fonte Nova arena.

He also criticised referees, the standard of the pitch, FIFA officialdom and called for technology to be used to arbitrate key decisions in the game.

Iran must beat Bosnia-Herzegovina and hope Nigeria lose to Argentina in the other Group F match in Porto Alegre to have any chance of advancing on goal difference.

But Queiroz suggested there would not be much change in the approach of an Iran side who aim to be tight at the back first and then catch their opponents on the counter-attack.

ULTRA-DEFENSIVE

Their ultra-defensive approach got them a point against Nigeria in their first game and almost another against Argentina until Lionel Messi scored in the dying minutes.

''I don't think we should change anything. The most important thing is not to lose our sense of reality,'' said Queiroz.

''We must understand where we are, who we are and against whom we are playing. Bosnia is a side full of players with lots of international experience. We should be ourselves and try our best against a great team.''

Queiroz continued his criticism of the refereeing he felt cost his team dear against Argentina and had a go at the standard of the pitch at the Fonte Nova arena.

He had elected to take his squad to the Barrado stadium, home of local club Vitoria Bahia, for a final eve-of-match training session today.

''Maybe some day technical aspects of the game will have precedence over logistical ones,'' he said in a veiled criticism of World Cup rules allocating training times at the match venue.

Queiroz also said not embracing more video technology to help with key calls at World Cup games left football out of step with ''human evolution''.

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- Reuters

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