Argentina not just Messi - Queiroz

The Iran coach says his players need to be one step ahead of their rivals in Saturday's Group F game, but claims they won't focus solely on the Barcelona forward
By Ben Hayward in Belo Horizonte

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz says he has no specific plan to stop Lionel Messi in Saturday's Group F clash in Belo Horizonte - because Argentina also have a host of other top players in their team.

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Queiroz arrived 15 minutes late to his pre-match press conference at the Mineirao in Belo Horizonte on Friday after his team were instructed to train across town at the city's Estadio Independencia.

Nevertheless, the Portuguese was given a round of applause by Iranian journalists as he took his seat in the press room, having led the Asian side to a 0-0 draw with Nigeria in their World Cup opener in Curitiba on Monday.

Iran now face a tougher test on Saturday in the form of Argentina, a game described by Queiroz as "the most important match in the history of Iranian football", and Messi.

"Argentina are a great team," said Queiroz. "We have watched them a lot and they have so much quality. It's the most important match in the history of Iranian football. We won't be the ones dictating the game, but we have come here to be ourselves - to compete and fight for 90 minutes."

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The former Real Madrid coach joked earlier this week that he would ask Fifa for permission to field 14 players against Argentina and added on Friday that the Albiceleste are much more than just Messi.

"We will try to stop them," he said. "We need discipline and we need to be one step ahead of Argentina. We need to focus on the next ball, the next move, the next play.

"But we can't think about playing against Messi. We will play against Argentina, against space and against time, because those are the things we can control.

"We can't focus only on Messi because Argentina also have [Angel] Di Maria, [Gonzalo] Higuain, [Sergio] Aguero and many more great players."