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The Iran boss was furious with the man in black after his side's narrow loss, but also had words of praise for the Barcelona star as he scored a late winner

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz has hit out at referee Milorad Mazic in the wake of his side's 1-0 World Cup loss against Argentina in Belo Horizonte on Saturday.

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Queiroz's men somewhat surprisingly held Nigeria to a scoreless draw in their Group F opening game and appeared to be on their way to an identical result against Argentina.

That was until Lionel Messi decided the game with a wonderful goal from the edge of the box in the closing minutes of the match.

The Iran coach stressed that the Barcelona man was not the only one to make the difference, however, as he feels the referee cost his side a valuable draw - and perhaps even more - after refusing to award them a penalty following a challenge from Pablo Zabaleta on Ashkan Dejagah.

"At the end, two individuals made the difference in the game. The first was the referee and the second was Lionel Messi," Queiroz told reporters.

"We needed a fair decision there. The ref was standing from metres away from it, noticed that it was a foul, but did not do anything.

"The worst thing was the referee's level and his poor decision. I am proud of my players, though."

However, Queiroz reserved words of praise for Messi following his decisive strike toward the end of the encounter.

"In order to be the best player in the world, you will have to be a great human being as well.

"Today, we saw what a player with Messi's qualities can do. He rose to the occasion when it mattered most."

Iran currently sit third in Group F with one point from two games.

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