Carlos Queiroz hails Iran's opening World Cup win over Morocco as 'beautiful'


Wasteful finishing looked to have consigned this compelling contest at the Saint Petersburg Stadium to a goalless draw but Bouhaddouz's mistake in injury-time means Iran emerge as the early challengers to Spain and Portugal in Group B. We did not win this game by magic.

Back home, the people of Iran took to the streets in a rare show of celebration.

The refusal by Nike to provide sports equipment to the players annoyed manager Carlos Queiroz, who accused the USA company of "mixing sport with politics" and called their decision a "crime against football".

Iran head into the match against Morocco in Group B on the back of a hard build-up to the tournament overall, after friendly matches against Greece and Kosovo were also cancelled.

Iran had not tasted a win at a World Cup since France 98 but secured a 1-0 success in St Petersburg courtesy of Bouhaddouz's mistake.

The state in Iran has banned women in the country from attending male-only sports events since 1979.

Interestingly, Iran snatched victory, not against never blocked Morocco over the entire second half.

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"We are not ever using apologies or justifications, we are using the difficulties as a source of inspiration for our motivations to be strengthened during the games", said Queiroz. The change in policy came about after British Iranian student Ghoncheh Ghavami spent more than three months in prison, much of it in solitary confinement, because she tried to get into a volleyball match.

Iran has had a tough build-up to the competition, with Portuguese coach Carlos Quieroz complaining about limited resources and poor facilities for the squad, nicknamed "Team Melli". We often talk about European champions and former world champions, but against these teams the motivation will be natural because we will play against two of the biggest football nations.

But it would all end in disappointment for the Frenchman as his Atlas Lions would concede a very late own goal to hand the Iranians the match.

Some fans were keen to express themselves as they arrived at the imposing St. Petersburg Stadium.

The lesson here? In the World Cup, you simply can not afford to lose focus until the final whistle blows.

Due to U.S. sanctions, Nike are unable to provide Carlos Queiroz's Iran side with playing gear for the tournament in Russian Federation.

"When you have as much talent as the Spain national team has, it may cause a little bit of trouble but you need much more than that to destabilise Spain", Renard said.