Carlos Queiroz

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Queiroz: Anyone but Ronaldo (or Messi) shown red for elbow


Carlos Queiroz, who’s Portuguese but just so happened to be the manager of Iran, believes his team was cheated after Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t shown a red card during the two nations’ dramatic Group B finale at the 2018 World Cup on Monday.

[ SCENARIOS: Who needs what, to finish where, in final round of group games ]

Ronaldo, who was already suffering through a pretty poor performance (by his lofty standards, as he entered his third game of the tournament with four goals following a hat trick against Spain and a single tally against Morocco) after missing a second-half penalty kick, when he appeared to throw, and connect with, an elbow at Morteza Pouraliganji in the 83rd minute. Referee Enrique Caceres initiated a video review of the incident, and decided it was only yellow card-worthy.

Queiroz, understandably and predictably, was left fuming at the decision following the full-time whistle. In his mind, any other player in the world (sans perhaps Lionel Messi) would be sent off for what is, pretty clearly, violent conduct.

Feel free to point to the fault in Queiroz’s logic, but I wish you the very best of luck in doing so. Queiroz and Ronaldo, of course, were quite close once upon a time — Queiroz played a role in Ronaldo’s move to Manchester United, where he became his assistant coach and something of a father figure, then again when Queiroz became Portugal’s manager for the 2010 World Cup.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

If he made contact with the player, it’s a red card; if he attempts to elbow him and misses, it’s still violent conduct and a red card; if he deems it wasn’t intentional, it’s no card at all. At no point in the series of questions and answers does a yellow card come into play.

In the end, Portugal have advanced to the round of 16 by the narrowest of margins — at Iran’s expense — thus Ronaldo’s impossible dream of winning the Champions League, followed by the European Championships, followed by the Champions League twice more, capped off by the World Cup — all in succession — remains alive.

Queiroz: Iran has one ‘match point’ left in World Cup group stage

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Iran manager Carlos Queiroz isn’t going to let his tournament be defined by one win or one loss, especially with a massive moment on the horizon.

Iran fell 1-0 to Spain on Wednesday, days after defeating Morocco in its World Cup opener. Team Melli was denied its equalizer despite VAR review thanks to an offside, and failed in several other bids to level the score.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Now Queiroz and his men need a win over Portugal to qualify for the first knockout stage in its five World Cup history.

“We showed that we were ready to suffer and ready to compete. I felt we deserved a better result. There’s no doubt Spain play wonderful, stylish football but I thought we deserved more for the way we played.

“But congratulations to Fernando Hierro and Spain. We will learn a lot from this game. If you think of it like tennis, we had one match point today and we will have another against Portugal. Everything is still open. We are still alive and still dreaming.”

What chance do you give Iran of getting over on Portugal, who only topped a dominant Morocco side via a terrific designed play executed to perfection by Cristiano Ronaldo?

The odds are in Portugal’s favor, if only for its experience in tight games on massive stages. Well, perhaps the better “if only” would be to say if only for Ronaldo. Either way…

Iran boss Queiroz thrilled with “courageous” win over Morocco

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Carlos Queiroz is ecstatic with the effort from his Iran side after a stunning late win over favored Morocco in both teams’ World Cup openers on Friday.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Iran ]

Iran found the net through a late Morocco own goal, but had the African side under pressure for much of the second half.

The 65-year-old former Real Madrid boss and Manchester United assistant was bullish on his men. From the BBC:

“In the first half we started to jump out and the most open opportunities belonged to Iran and we were able to create panic in their defence and then the game changed.

“From then on the Morocco players knew we could win the game. You need a bit of luck, Morocco are a great team, great players, but I’m sure they did not expect a tough, courageous team from Iran.”

Iran gets Spain next, a Wednesday tilt.

Iran and Honduras coaches quit after failing to advance in 2014 World Cup


Carlos Queiroz and Luis Fernando Suarez, the 2014 World Cup coaches of Iran and Honduras, respectively, quit their jobs on Wednesday following their side’s failure to advance out of the group stage.

Queiroz (pictured) made the announcement shortly after his side’s 3-1 defeat at the hands of Group F opponent Bosnia-Herzegovina saying he was leaving due to the failure to agree to financial terms with Iranian soccer authorities.

“I showed my commitment and credibility, but I did not see any commitment to extend the contract,” Queiroz said. “I fell in love with Iran, but you can’t have a marriage in which only one side wants to marry.”

Despite a 0-0 draw in the opener with Nigeria and a 0-1 loss to Argentina in stoppage time, Queiroz was criticized by some for overly defensive tactics, a style the 61-year-old Portuguese manager claims he adopted due to his players’ lack of offensive experience. No word has come down regarding the status of Queiroz’ assistant coaches, including goalkeeping coach, American Dan Gaspar.

Suarez announced his time with Honduras had come to an end due to his expiring contract and desire to see someone else take control. “It’s not a resignation. It’s not an issue with the contract,” Suarez said. “I unilaterally take the decision of not continuing.”

“I’m leaving with a good conscience. I don’t think this is a defeat,” he added. “I leave with a clean soul and conscience thinking I gave my best.”

The Hondurans failed to earn a single point in Group E, losing all three matches they played. After opening the tournament with a 3-0 loss to France, they then lost 2-1 to Ecuador and 3-0 to Switzerland, a string of defeats that Suarez, at least in part, felt responsible for.

“I’m sorry I didn’t manage more,” said Suarez, who has been Honduras coach since March 2011. “I’m sad because I had a dream about this World Cup.”

The resignations of Queiroz and Suarez come one day after Cesare Prandelli quit his post as Italy manager following the 0-1 loss to Uruguay.

Game on: Lineups and a brief look at Argentina vs. Iran

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Argentina’s free flowing attack should be on full display against an Iran side intent on defending. Catch the action at 12 noon ET.

[ MORE: Bosnia show fight against Argentina | Nigeria, Iran give us first draw of tournament ]
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Argentina: Romero; Zabaleta, Garay; Fede Fernández, Rojo; Gago, Mascherano, Di María; Messi, Higuaín, Agüero

Iran: Haghighi, Hosseini, Sadeghi, Montazeri, Pooladi, Shojaei, Nekounam, Teymourian, Dejagah, Ghoochannejhad, Hajsafi

Talking points

Will reverting back to the Fantastic Foursome make Argentina fun again?
In their first group game against Bosnia, Alejandro Sabella sent his side out in a 3-5-2 formation, featuring five defenders rather than the much-hyped four-prong attack. A Bosnia own-goal put Argentina in front, but it was the Dragons that controlled most of the play during the first half. Argentina were noticeably better in the second half, after Gonzalo Higuaín came on to join Ángel di María, Sergio Agüero, and, of course, Lionel Messi. It’s the lineup Sabella is going for from the start this time around, so let’s hope it provides plenty of entertainment.

Will Iran’s defense hold out?
Coached by Carlos Queiroz, a man well known for favoring a defensive mindset, Iran was always going to be one of the – dare we say it? – duller sides to watch at this World Cup. Sure enough, they held Nigeria to a goalless draw in their first game. But Argentina’s got a little more bang up top than Nigeria, so Iran will need to be careful not to put a toe out of place. If they can master Bosnia’s art of triple-teaming Messi, they may come away with a point. Or they may simply come away thankful that they kept Argentina to two goals. Or, who knows, they may be yet another surprise in a tournament already packed with them.

Iran do their best to hold firm and keep out Argentina’s potent offense, but Sabella’s tactical shift should mean there’s no way of stopping his fantastic foursome. Expect goals!

One blogger’s prediction
That this one will be much closer to what we expected from Argentina from the start. It should be a comfortable win for Messi & Co.