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Ayoub El Kaabi

We are not Supermen but we created a super result - Queiroz lauds Iran's heroes

22:27 GMT+3 15/06/2018
CarlosQueiroz - cropped
A defiant and vindicated Carlos Queiroz lapped up Iran's World Cup heist against Morocco in St Petersburg on Friday.

Carlos Queiroz hailed his humble Iran players for becoming footballing superheroes in their smash-and-grab World Cup Group B win against Morocco.

The opening 20 minutes were an ordeal for Queiroz's men as Morocco's vibrant creative trio of Amine Harit, Hakim Ziyech and Younes Belhanda pulled them back and forth across the St Petersburg turf.

A host of chances came and went for Herve Renard's side amid some desperate Iranian defending and a more fractious second period had a sting in the tail when Morocco substitute Aziz Bouhaddouz put Ehsan Haji Safi's free-kick through his own goal deep into stoppage time.

"A lesson I learned in my life that Superman is only in the cartoons. Nobody is a Superman," Queiroz told a room full of people at the Krestovsky Stadium doing Clark Kent's day job.

"What can happen, once in a while, is a group of people, when they work together, can create super stories and super things. That is exactly what happened today.

"There are no Supermen here, I am not a Superman, but we worked together to create a super result.

"If we need to defend for 89 minutes, what's wrong with that? If we have one minute and they concede an opportunity for us we have one thing in mind - try to win the game."

Iran's triumph – only their second at the finals after they famously dispatched the United States 2-1 back at France 98 – came after their preparations were thrown into a familiar state of chaos.

Greece and then Kosovo pulled out of a friendly engagement and Queiroz's grapples with basic training facilities was compounded by Nike refusing to supply boots to his squad due to international trade sanctions.

"We came here without World Cup preparations because a couple of teams don’t want to play against us," Queiroz said.

"We don't have camps and we have problems. As I said before the game, to make these difficulties a source of motivation to [the players] is really something very special.

"We train and we play under minor conditions – there are no pitches, no camps, no friendly games.

"It is my duty, in front of all of you guys to say – let our boys play football, they are just football players. Let them enjoy football like all the other nations in the world.

"They are not against anybody, they are against nothing. They just want to express themselves.

"The main value of FIFA is to put politics apart from football but this is not happening. The boys just want to play football and they showed today they deserve to be treated like all the other players in the world."

Queiroz was unconcerned by Iran's struggles early on, reckoning on a mental disintegration in the Moroccan ranks that duly arrived.

"They always start with full speed, full determination and a great attacking spirit. But our strategy from the first minute was to create a mental collapse in the Moroccan players," he explained.

"We tried to do that through creating frustration and blocking all the playmakers who can create something.

"The most open opportunities in the first half belonged to Iran and when we created panic in the defensive line of Morocco the game changed. The Morocco players knew we could win the game. That changed everything in the last minutes of the game.

"I think it was the first time in months a team played the game eyes against eyes versus the Morocco team and they were surprised with that."