Iran national football team’s head coach Carlos Queiroz says that they are determined to advance to the 2018 World Cup knockout stage and will not be tourists in Russia.
On June 12, Team Melli, as the national team is known, qualified for the World Cup — the first time they’ll be in back-to-back competitions — and now their sights are set on a debut appearance in the knockout stages.
Iran has appeared in four World Cups but has yet to survive the group stage.
“In order to progress, we need better infrastructure and financial support for camps and friendly games. If we don’t do that, the result will be stagnation. This is not the expectation for Iran fans and not what they deserve,” Queiroz told ESPN.
“It is time to say that the national team has been doing everything for Iranian football, now it is time for the authorities to step up. The passion is there and we need to implement a different program in order for different players to progress. In Portugal, we were producing good players 26 or 30 years ago, but in Portugal, we did not sleep and kept producing players. This is what Iran misses — a master plan with an infrastructure and individual support,” the Portuguese coach added.
“We have built a team and a squad of 26 and more players and I have more options,” he said. “I have three goalkeepers, three right-backs and so on. At the next World Cup, I can rest people and keep them fresh for the games while keeping the same standard.”
“This is due to our players being brilliant. I have never seen in my life players who made such sacrifices,” he stated.
“My goal and dream are to get to the knockout stage at the 2018 World Cup. I am fighting against this satisfaction disease. We should not be satisfied with the first round. We need to be ambitious. We need to think big. We will not go to Russia as tourists,” Queiroz concluded.