Sunday, June 15, 2014

2014 World Cup: Iran coach Quieroz says they will surprise Nigeria

Iran coach Carlos Quieroz has said his side will not be under pressure when they take on Nigeria in their opening game of the World Cup in Curitiba on Monday.

The Portuguese tactician, who was born in Mozambique, paid tribute to late Nigeria striker Rashidi Yekini and former captain Nwankwo Kanu, who he said were two of the greatest ever African players, during his meeting with the media.

With lesser known players compared to the African champions, Quieroz said: “We have several surprises for them.

“It'll be a very tough game for both teams. We know that the Nigerian team is full of stars, great players in Europe and an experienced coach in Stephen Keshi.

“Since they made their appearance in 1994, the football world is expecting something from Nigeria. They have huge responsibilities,” he said.

The 61-year-old who admitted that his side is the less fancied of the two, praised the resolve of Team Melli that saw them qualify for the tournament despite economic sanctions and management problems.

“We have a very good thing which is our team spirit. We are here because we have a group of players with strong belief and strong determination,” he said.

Iran will be without starting left back Hashem Beikzadeh but will depend on star man Fulham’s Ashkan Dejagah to lead from midfield.

Built largely to defend, the Persians have been known to score little with their preferred 4-2-3-1 and 5-3-2 formation, something that Quieroz has made no apologies about.

"If Nigeria want to attack us wide, we'll punish them," he said.

The former Manchester United assistant coach said that his hope is for his players to have a good tournament and make their country proud.

“I want my players to express themselves, to be themselves. We will try to play our best cards against the weaknesses of Nigeria,” he said.

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