Soccer  

Carlos Queiroz undeterred by Iran loss ahead of FIFA World Cup opener against England

Iran’s final warm-up match before they begin their 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign against England saw them lose 2-0 to Tunisia in a behind-closed doors friendly on Wednesday.

Nonetheless, Team Melli coach Carlos Queiroz was undeterred by the result even if it was not ideal and instead insisted that it was a huge positive just having all his players take to the field together again ahead of Monday’s tie against the Three Lions.

Following a goalless first half, Tunisia opened the scoring through a Naim Sliti spot-kick after Abolfazl Jalali was penalised for handball inside the area — which also led to the Iran defender’s sending off.

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With the numerical advantage, Tunisia would go on to seal the win with a second goal from Ali Abdi.

“It was a good working day — a good ‘training session’ against Tunisia,” said Queiroz after the match.

“We used all the (available) players — 45 minutes (each). It was an opportunity to see the players from Europe and also from (elsewhere) abroad, and make them (play) together after so long.

“After so many weeks without training and playing together, it was a great opportunity.”

Queiroz and Iran would certainly have benefitted from Europe-based stars like Mehdi Taremi and Alireza Jahanbakhsh reuniting with those based in the domestic Persian Gulf Pro League, who were part of a extended training camp in the build-up to the World Cup until being recently joined by those abroad.

“Of course, (the) result is not good,” Queiroz explained. “We don’t like to concede goals, we don’t like to lose but (these are things) we need to correct.

“We had the best opportunities in the game before the penalty (and) missed a few chances to score but, anyway, the most important is the conclusions that we need to make in order to prepare for England.

“That was the most important thing in the game.”

Queiroz also had kind words for their opponents, who did not hesitate to agree to a mutually-beneficial scratch match ahead of their own World Cup opener against against Denmark on Tuesday.

“We also want to express our gratitude to the Tunisia national team (and) the availability they showed to support our preparation,” he added.

“(The game) was also good for them, of course, but they made themselves available to help us knowing we have a game on Monday, and they accepted the conditions we propose.

“We wish them the best of success for this World Cup.”

After their opener against England, Team Melli are next in action against Wales on Nov. 25 before finishing their Group B campaign against United States four days later.