Tag: Carlos Querioz

Team Melli fans prefer a foreign coach.

The Iranian news agency ISNA conducted two polls online which showed that the majority of Team Melli fans prefer a foreign coach to lead Team Melli after the departure of  Carlos Queiroz.

Under the guidance of the Portuguese head coach, Iran finished third in the group at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 with one win, two losses, and 3 points and failed to qualify for the knockout stage. The credit for qualification to the 2022 World Cup finals is given to Croat Dragan Skocic who was dismissed shortly after the arrival of Mehdi Taj.

Now the national team is without a head coach, and in less than a year, the AFC Asian Cup 2023 will be played in Qatar. Meanwhile, the football federation is still debating the appointment of a coach while its head, Mehdi Taj has implied that the future Team Melli coach will be an Iranian from the domestic league.

Currently, there are some local football experts who consider the appointment of an Iranian coach to be the most suitable, while others disagree and believe that none of the Iranian coaches currently operating in Iran is capable of leading Team Melli. Based on this, the Iranian Students News Agency ISNA conducted two polls on its website and Telegram channel and asked its audience this question, “Which option do you agree with to lead the national football team, Iranian or foreign coach? “

The results of these two polls show that a majority of ISNA’s audience prefers that the helm of the Iranian national football team be entrusted to a foreign coach in the future. 59% of the participants in the Isna site poll voted for the foreign option and 41% agreed with the Iranian option.

Former Team Melli coach on his way to Qatar.

Carlos Queiroz, who was the head coach of the Iranian national team at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, is on the verge of becoming the new coach of Qatar, DN, a Portuguese news website, reported on Tuesday.

According to DN, the Portuguese coach is on his way to Doha to sign a contract and will soon be announced as the new coach of the Qatar national team.
The 69-year-old Queiroz is one of the seven Portuguese coaches handling foreign teams.

The list includes Fernando Santos (Poland), Rui Vitória (Egypt), Pedro Gonçalves (Angola), Paulo Duarte (Togo), Hélio Sousa (Bahrain), and José Peseiro (Nigeria).

Meanwhile in Tehran, the local media reported that the Iran football federation has negotiated with the 67-year-old Argentine coach Cuper.

Cuper was sacked by DR Congo after a poor start to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying in June 2022. The coach has had spells in charge of Valencia, Inter Milan, and Egypt.

“I’ve recently seen the rumors on social media but the federation has not negotiated with the coach,” Mehdi Taj said. The federation didn’t renew the Carlos Queiroz coach’s contract after a dismal run in the 2022 FIFA World Cup .

Taj also said the head coach of the Iran U23 football team will be named as soon as possible.

Queiroz tells Klinsmann to resign and visit Iran camp after BBC comments

  • German said fouls and confronting officials was ‘in their culture’

Carlos Queiroz has demanded Jürgen Klinsmann resign from his role on Fifa’s technical study group after calling his comments about the Iran team “a disgrace to football”.

After Friday’s 2-0 win over Wales, the BBC presenter Gabby Logan talked about Iran’s “gamesmanship” and said they just stayed on the right side of the law before handing over to Klinsmann. “Yes, that’s their culture,” he said. “Their way of doing it, and that is why Carlos Queiroz fits really well [with] the Iranian national team.”

Queiroz demands that former striker resigns from Fifa role

The former Germany international added: “[Queiroz] struggled in South America, he failed to qualify with Colombia, and then he failed with Egypt to qualify, and then he went back and guided Iran, who he worked already with for a long, long time. So this is not by coincidence, this is done on purpose.

“This is just part of their culture and how they play, then they work the referee, you saw the bench always jumping up, working the fourth official and the linesman, constantly in their ears, constantly in your face. Kieffer Moore will probably tell you more after the game about little incidents that we didn’t see.”

On Saturday evening Queiroz was moved to respond to Klinsmann in a series of tweets in which it was clear the Iran manager was furious. “No matter how much I can respect what you did inside the pitch, those remarks about Iran Culture, Iran National Team, and my Players are a disgrace to football,” he said.

“Nobody can hurt our integrity if it is not at our level, of course. Even saying so, we would like to invite you as our guest, to come to our national team camp, socialize with Iran players and learn from them about the country, the people of Iran, the poets and art, the algebra, and all the millennial Persian culture. And also listen from our players how much they love and respect football.”

“Because, obviously, we expect you to resign before you visit our camp.”

The Technical Study Group is led by former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who is FIFA’s chief of global football development, and provides analysis on the World Cup action to identify styles and trends which develop.

It is not Queiroz’s first outburst at the tournament.

He criticized Iran fans for not supporting the team in their opening defeat to England, and then confronted a journalist at a press conference on the eve of the Wales match, wanting to know why England manager Gareth Southgate does not face the same level of questioning on political matters as him.

Iran’s Ehsan Hajsafi: ‘The conditions in our country are not right’

The Guardian
Monday 21 November 2022

In a significant, politically freighted intervention, Iran’s captain Ehsan Hajsafi has said he would be happy for his team to serve as a force for change in a country where protests against the regime in Tehran continue to escalate.

As Iran’s government faces its most critical moment since the Islamic revolution in 1979, Hajsafi, a left-back at AEK Athens, on Sunday night addressed a press conference before his team’s opening World Cup group game against England in Doha on Monday.

“We have to accept the conditions in our country are not right and our people are not happy,” he said. “We are here but it does not mean we should not be their voice or we must not respect them. “Whatever we have is from them. We have to fight. We have to perform and score some goals to present the brave people of Iran with a result. I hope conditions change as to the expectations of the people.”

A popular uprising has been gaining momentum since September after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22‑year‑old detained by the country’s morality police for allegedly not covering her head properly.

Since then protests against the rules forcing women to wear the hijab have expanded into widespread discontent with the country’s strict theocracy, with more than 380 people said to have been killed by security forces.

As a byproduct, Carlos Queiroz’s team has been placed in the unenviable position of being required to represent the Islamic republic while being under intense pressure to support millions of protesting compatriots. “The situation in Iran is very difficult,” said Hajsafi, who is aware human rights groups have called for Iran’s expulsion from the World Cup.

Tellingly, before taking questions he opened by offering support for those who had lost loved ones during the recent turmoil. “I would like to express my condolences to all the bereaved families,” he said. “They should know we are with them, we support them and we sympathize with them.”

A key moment will arrive shortly before kick-off when members of a squad thought to be still slightly divided as to how to respond must take individual decisions as to whether to sing a national anthem, all about glorifying the 1979 revolution.

It all dictated that, at the end of a day in which light winds whipped through Doha, creating piles of dust at almost every turn, Queiroz found himself at the eye of a diplomatic sandstorm he opted to ignore on Sunday.

Iran’s Portuguese coach, and former assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, preferred to concentrate on a different type of whirlwind. “England have a storm of talent,” the 69-year-old said as he smothered Gareth Southgate with flattery. “England are one of the top teams in the world. They are a contender to be the world champion. They have fantastic, strong talent and a great coach.”

It will be the first time Queiroz has faced England and he claimed not to have sought any advice from Ferguson. “I did not receive any help from Scotland,” he said. “Of course, we talk frequently as friends. But you can relax!”

He then launched into an ode to English players, claiming they were superior to the team of recent predecessors dominated by David Beckham, Rio Ferdinand, and Paul Scholes. “This new generation of players Southgate is bringing for the national team in my opinion is probably the most competitive English team since 1966 that I have the opportunity to see – and I remember that team very well. But this team is very functional, very practical, very realistic.

“I worked with the generation of Rio, of Paul Scholes. Fantastic players, David Beckham and all those guys. But this national team is really different. They make a realistic approach to every single game which makes them very, very dangerous.”

Although Queiroz said Iran believed they could reach the knockout stage he confessed Monday would contain a surreal quality. “For many of our players to play against England is like magic, it’s a gift,” he said. “Since watching football as kids, it’s been a lifelong dream for my players to play in this game. We will enjoy it.”

The Mind Game in the FIFA World Cup.

There have been many mutterings about Team Melli qualifying from Group B of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 for the first time in six attempts. Although these expectations have cooled recently, it is natural that fans look upon Team Melli to send several messages in these black days of the Iranian nation.

Political unrest and the daily news of deaths, injuries, arrests, riots, and disturbances across Iran in the aftermath of the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the notorious Morality Police have confused and dampened the interest of many Iranians including those who are living abroad. There is a clear and definite split of opinions on the status of the Team representing Iran in the World Cup. While many believe that this team is a representative of a brutal regime and is being used as a propaganda tool for the Islamic republic leading many to demand from FIFA to kick the Team out of the World Cup, others still firmly believe that this team represents the people and its honors equated to national honors that make people happy and pride in a country where many people do not have a sense of happiness and experiencing extreme hardship under a tyrannical and authoritarian regime.

The mood of the players and their psychological status means a world of difference in whether the team makes it to the next round.

Carlos Queiroz’s arrival from the backdoor was the first shock to Team Melli. The majority of the players religiously believed in their fired ex-boss Dragan Skocic. The Croat and beyond any shadow of a doubt, performed a miracle by qualifying for the world cup while they were on the brink of being eliminated in the second round under Marc Wilmots. Skočić, was treated cruelly, not much dissimilar from the way that the regime treats its own people. As a result of his dismissal and the arrival of Queiroz, the splits and differences grew within the players themselves. Although the official media talks about the harmony and unity of the team. it is far from true with players still suffering the bitter split between the groups.

Then come the post-Mahsa Amini events and the uprising of the people. Another split in the team has grown as many Team Melli players publicly supported the uprising and spoke against the regime publicly or through social media. Those who did not dare to speak out chose the road of muted celebrations which became quite common with many sporting teams in Iran.  Some player lost their chance of being in the squad because of these expressions of support. There are also pro-regime players in Team Melli and all the coaches are well aware that these are untouchables. This minority of players remain to keep a low profile

It remains to be seen how the differences, stress, and low morale will affect the overall performance of Team Melli in Doha.

On the pitch, since Queiroz’s arrival, Team Melli is not exactly shining either. A very good result against Uruguay and a draw against Senegal two high-ranked teams mistakingly led many to believe in the Queiroz Magical touch effect and high expectations. Then Iran played against a lowly Nicaragua and managed a slim shy 1-0 victory, while in the next game Team Melli was beaten 2-0 by Tunisia a powerful African team playing in the World Cup. A reality check.

The other concern is that Queiroz is known to have a blind belief in Legionnaires. He hardly has any interest in the domestic league players. Considering that Queiroz will for sure give the Legionnaires priority, the worry lies in these players’ recent performances and forms. Apart from Porto’s Mehdi Taremi, the rest have done miserably badly in the European Leagues. Sardar Azmoun has been injured for a long period and is still recovering as we speak, but even before his unfortunate injury, he was not exactly shining for Bayer Leverkusen.  Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Saman Ghoddos are nearly permanent bench players. None of them scored a goal in the league competition. Beiranvand despite changing two clubs in Europe could not make the grade there and returned back after two seasons. Ansarifard, Hajsafi, and Mohammadi were fringe players in their Greek club, the former was unceremonially pushed out of AEK Athena to the Cyprus league. Saeid Ezzatollahi who is called the Marco Polo of Iranian football has traveled across many countries and clubs, never settled down anywhere and now he is in the World Cup playing for a second-division Danish Club !!!

Gholizadeh is not faring well either, while Allahyar Sayyedmanish has missed the World Cup altogether through injury.

So, it is clear that the players Queiroz depends on are not at top form with many lacking proper game times. It is doubtful that these few days they are together will turn the team into a fighting force.

 There is no argument that England is by far a superior team to Iran and the first match on November 21st will be the toughest test for Team Melli. If circumstances were different, we would have most probably put a few dollars on Iran drawing or even defeating England as the Brits are not at their best form either. A series of defeats, relegation from the European Nations League, and a reputation for failure at critical moments are all stacked against the English Team.

The weather in Qatar is still not ideal either. Temperature and Humidity are major factors, in the discomfort of Europeans in general despite the stadium air conditioning system.

The preparatory matches against Nicaragua and Tunisia, will not have any positive effect from a technical point of view and can only improve the team’s mental state. On the positive side, Queiroz excels in the mental preparation of his players. He knows his opponents well and his successful reading of the England team is the most important step in Iran’s dream of qualification. Of course, a positive result against England is not the end of the road, as two well-prepared and capable opponents are waiting to defeat Iran. a team that all others group members think is beatable.

There will be a mind game played between Iran and England so that will be the case against the USA. Western propaganda will not leave politics alone and will intimidate the players anytime they feel like it. That is their game. Anything to lower the morale of the players and remind them that they are playing for a regime that kills and tortures its own people.  At this stage apart from the fact that England is the favorite and its fans will continue singing ” It is Coming Home”. the rest is difficult to call. If Iran stands a chance, it has to be based on its mental strength and the physical attributes of its defenders. When it comes to tactics and game plans, there is admittedly a gap, but football is notorious for unpredictable results.

Latest call ups to Team Melli

Team Melli’s second technical evaluation camp was held this evening while 17 players were called up to the camp by Carlos Queiroz. In addition to the previous 16 players, the Portuguese coach called up Tractor goalkeeper Mohammad Reza Akhbari to join the squad.

The amended list of the camp is as follows:

Alireza Beiranvand (Persepolis), Seyed Hossein Hosseini (Esteghlal), Payam Niazmand (Sepahan), Mohammad Reza Akhbari (Tractor),

Ramin Rezaian (Sepahan), Omid Nourafken ( Sepahan), Morteza Pouraliganji (Persepolis), Saman Fallah (Peykan), Abolfazl Jalali (Esteghlal), Armin Sohrabian (Gol gohar)

Mehdi Mahdipour (Esteghlal), Rozbe Cheshmi (Esteghlal), Milad Sarlak (Persepolis), Vahid Amiri ( Persepolis), Mohammad Khodabandelou (Gol gohar)

Mohammad Mohebi (Esteghlal), Mehdi Torabi (Persepolis)

The Iranian national football players introduced themselves to Carlos Queiroz and the management staff of the team at noon today to participate in three training sessions this week.  Today’s list of selected players in the domestic Premier League means that some of the former players such as Mehdi Ghayedi, Danial Esmailifar, Soroush Rafiei, and Shahriar Mughanlou, hopes of taking part in the world Cup have ended.

Iran’s national football team will face England, Wales, and the USA in Group B of the 2022 World Cup.

Quiroz names Team Melli list for Austria camp.

Queiroz announced his final list of players who will be forming the squad for the Training Camp in Austria including two international friendlies versus Uruguay and Senegal.

Alireza Beiranvand, Amir Abedzadeh, Hossein Hosseini, Payam Niazmand

Ramin Rezaeian, Sadegh Moharammi, Saleh Hardani, Hossein Kanaanizadegan, Majid Hosseini, Morteza Pouraliganji, Shojaa Khalilzadeh, Abolfazl Jalali, Milad Mohammadi, Omid Noorafkan

Omid Ebrahimi , Saeed Ezzatollahi, Milad Sarlak, Saman Ghoddos, Ahmad Noorollahi, Ehsan Haj Safi, Vahid Amiri.

Ali Gholizadeh, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Mehdi Torabi, Mehdi Taremi, Karim Ansarifard, Sardar Azmoun.

As expected, Queiroz who was away from Iranian football since early 2019, elected to pick his old guards to take to Qatar. Players like Ansarifard, whose total playing time in the last few months did not exceed 90 minutes are included as are Ghoddos and Ezzarotlahi both fringe players in their teams. Vahid Amiri, a long-time senior player who has been on the injury list was also picked although it is reported that he is not quite ready and short of match practice. Amiri has been given special recovery training.

Queiroz not surprisingly picked another of his old guards, Rezaeian for the right back position. There was a surprise in naming Abolfazl Jalali a player who is not familiar to him, but the biggest surprise was his inclusion of Shojaá Khalilzadeh.

Team Melli’s central defense in the qualifiers, consisting of Khalilzadeh and Kananizadeh was formidable and had a large role to play in the qualification. However, Queiroz and Khalilzadeh have not been on good terms. Some observers were predicting that Shojaá will be ignored by the Portuguese. Perhaps, Queiroz’s peers advised him against excluding Khalikzadeh.

Bad news all over for Iran’s football.

If you are a die-hard fan of Iranian football, the bad news coming out of Iran is enough to send one into depression.

It seems that since Carlos Queiroz left the country to seek his fortunes in Latin America with the Colombian National team, hardly anything has gone right for Team Melli and Iran’s football in general. It all started with the recruitment of Marc Wilmots, a coach who has been sacked in his last two jobs with the latest appointment lasting only six months with the Ivory Coast. For the first time in decades, Team Melli suffered two consecutive defeats and that was in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

There have been a lot of secret talks and behind the scene negotiation to find a competent and true replacement for the legendary Queiroz. The odds on that were quite low for a lot of reasons. Not only the leading and the renowned coaches were already active coaching teams and thus not available, the second tiers looking for a job, did not put Iran’s Team Melli coaching on the top of their priority. Any potential foreign coach fancied the job but examined Queiroz’s experience in Iran or heard about the pandemonium in the football federation management with several layers of governance making decisions, would have thought twice before indulging in such an adventure.

Not surprisingly there were no quality takers for the job. Is this a Queiroz curse ?!

 Then came the real shock. While the masses were waiting for an Amir Ghalenoei or an Ali Daei to take over the helm, there comes an outsider and takes over the chair. To the utter shock of many, Dragan Skocic, a Croat who was coaching Sanat Naft was announced as Head Coach of Team Melli and assumed responsibility without much fanfare.

While the Croat enthusiastically started his mission by building rapport in preparing for the two upcoming matches, the coronavirus struck and chances of the fans seeing Skocic in action is delayed for at least 3 or 4 months.

Team Melli at least has a leader in Skocis, the football federations do not. The leadership struggles, political interference, influences, and the circus, continues in the head-less FFIRI. Mehdi Taj was forced to resign citing ill-health while the government is looking for an obedient regime stooge to install him as President of the Federation in the upcoming election!

FIFA got hold of these games and finally put its foot down hard on the authorities and the FFIRI itself declaring any elections under the current conditions and rules will not be recognized by FIFA unless the FFIRI amends its statute and rules in compliance with the international football law governance.

Away from Team Melli, Iranian clubs in the AFC Champions league displayed their worst performances and results ever with one solitary win in 8 matches. It was not only the results that were disappointing but the manner of defeats and the amateurish attitudes of the Iranian players with a lack of character and professionalism that hurt the most.

The so-called professional football league devoid of proper competition is full of drama, however, yet nothing like what Sepahan club did when they refused to turn up for the match against Persepolis in their home ground Naghsh Jehan stadium in Esfahan for. These things belong to the fifties and in Europe, such acts may result in relegation to lower divisions, but the FFIRI disciplinary committee like the rest of the federation is as incompetent as the rest of the federation. When it comes to applying strict discipline and punitive measures.

And then there are players who receive a cheque from one club to turn up playing for another club in a league match!

The initial enthusiasm of Iranian legionnaires in Europe all but evaporated with one player after another struggling to make the starting line-up. Even Sardar Azmoun was benched in Zenit last match with Jahanbakhsh remaining a solid benchwarmer in Brighton, Ezattolahi making a rare cameo appearance in a lowly Belgian league club and Taremi losing that initial goalscoring brilliant run of his in the Portuguese league.

Very little good news to report from Iran’s football. Perhaps it needs a real shake-up and severe jolt for it to recover again.

Marc Wilmots to arrive in Tehran on Wednesday

TEHRAN – An unnamed source in the Iranian football federation FFIRI has mentioned that ex-Belgium coach Marc Wilmots will arrive in Tehran on Wednesday to finalize his deal.

FFIRI will reportedly pay the 50-year-old coach and his two Belgian assistants $1,500,000 per year.

The Iranian federation also wants former Team Melli captain Javad Nekounam to be a member of the coaching staff.

Parliament Member Mohammad Reza Tabesh has also said Wilmots will most likely pen a contract with the Iranian federation. His source of information is unverified.

The Belgian led his homeland to the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016, but was sacked after that tournament in France.

Wilmots, who is also on the Scotland’s list of candidates, is set to replace Carlos Querioz in Team Melli.

He has been without a team after leaving the Ivory Coast coaching position in November 2017.

Wilmots will start his work as Iran coach in two friendly matches against Syria and South Korea, scheduled for June 6 and 11.