Iran coach Carlos Queiroz lambasted German soccer icon Juergen Klinsmann for criticising his team’s World Cup conduct, calling his remarks a “disgrace to football” and urging him to quit his FIFA post, as Iran’s soccer federation demanded an apology.
In comments as an analyst with broadcaster BBC, Germany’s 1990 World Cup winner Klinsmann accused Iran of systematic gamesmanship during their stunning 2-0 stoppage-time win over Wales on Friday and said Queiroz’s record with other national teams made him the right match for Iran.
“That’s their culture and that’s their way of doing it and that’s why Carlos Queiroz, he fits really well in the Iranian national team,” Klinsmann said during an analysis of Friday’s match.
“This is not by coincidence, this is all purposely. This is just part of their culture, that’s how they play it and they work the referee… constantly in their ears, they’re constantly in your face on the field.”
Iran play the United States in a decisive Group B match on Tuesday and have a chance to reach the last 16 for the first time.
Queiroz, 69, who has been a coach with Real Madrid, Portugal and Manchester United and is in his second stint as Iran boss, said no-one could hurt the integrity of his team.
“You question my character with a typical prejudiced judgment of superiority,” he said in an open message to Klinsmann, in remarks shared by the Iran team.
“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.”
Klinsmann, speaking to the BBC on Sunday, said his comments had been taken out of context and he would talk to Queiroz and “calm things down”.
“I have never criticised Carlos or the Iranian bench,” he said.
“All I described was their emotional way of doing things, which is actually admirable in a certain way. The whole bench lives the game.
“They’re jumping up and down and Carlos is a very emotional coach, he’s constantly on the sidelines trying to give his players all his energy and direction.”
‘FAMOUS DRAMATIC DIVES’
Iran’s football federation said it had sought clarity from world soccer governing body FIFA and demanded Klinsmann apologise and resign from the FIFA Technical Study Group.
It also invited Klinsmann to visit the Iran team’s World Cup camp “for a lecture on the millennial Persian culture and the values of football and sport”.
“As a former player, he will not be judged by his famous dramatic dives. And for sure, as a football professional, he will not be judged for any other political or historical matters related to his country,” it said in a message to reporters.
Queiroz, in his earlier remarks, said Klinsmann should socialise with his team and learn how much his players loved and respected football.
“Despite your outrageous remarks on BBC trying to undermine our efforts, sacrifices and skills, we promise you that we will not produce any judgements regarding your culture, roots and background and that you will always be welcome to our family,” Queiroz said.
“Obviously, we expect you to resign before you visit our camp.”