Iran manager Carlos Queiroz has lambasted protesting fans after his side's defeat against England in their opening 2022 FIFA World Cup fixture. The Portuguese coach hit out at fans for being critical of his players.
England ran riot at the Khalifa International Stadium as the Three Lions scored six goals in a thrilling encounter. Iran were handed a brutal 6-2 defeat by the Englishmen.
Before the game started, Iranian players refused to sing along during the national anthem in support of the ongoing anti-government protests in their home country. Many Iranian supporters booed and jeered in protest against the national anthem as well. However, some fans also criticized the players for not singing their national anthem.
This did not sit well with Queiroz, who insisted that fans who were unwilling to support the team in the FIFA World Cup should go home. Iran's head coach said (via The Mirror):
“You don’t even imagine, or know, what these kids have been living through in the past few days - and just because they want to play football. Whatever they do, whatever they say, they want to kill them. Can you imagine in one stage of your life, whatever you do, say, or think, you are killed? They only have one hope, to play for the people and the country."
"I am very proud of what the players did, but of course in 2014 and 2018 we had full support of the fans. Now you saw what happened today, the fans who aren't ready to support the team should stay home."
Iran boss claims players were distracted in 6-2 defeat against England in FIFA World Cup clash
Queiroz then claimed that his players were distracted during their FIFA World Cup clash against England. The Portuguese coach stated that his players are not in the best environment at the moment, given the ongoing political issues in their home country.
He said (via the aforementioned outlet's report):
"My point is about distractions. Everybody knows the present circumstances of the environment of my players is not the best in terms of concentration because they are affected by those issues. They are human beings, they are kids. They only have one dream to play for the people.
"I am very proud of them, they way they stand up and keep fighting. I’m very proud of what they did.”
Iran are in Group H along with England, Wales and the USA. They are currently at the bottom of their group's table and will next face Wales in the FIFA World Cup on 25 November.
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