Beiranvand wants Queiroz to stay
Saransk: Goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand has called for Carlos Queiroz to stay on as coach after Islamic Republic of Iran were knocked out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia despite drawing 1-1 with European champions Portugal on Monday.
Beiranvand saved a second half penalty from Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo after Ricardo Queresma had put the Portuguese in front and Karim Ansarifard’s penalty ensured the Iranians took a share of the spoils.
But while the result ensured Iran finished the World Cup with their best-ever haul of four points from three games, it was not enough to earn the country a spot in the knockout phase for the first time.
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“We could have written history,” said Beiranvand. “We are sorry we failed in front of the Iranian people, but the players gave their all. We came to the World Cup to write history, to do big things. Iran should be proud of this team. We 'died' for each other on the pitch.
“Ronaldo is one of the world's best players. I'm happy to have saved his penalty and helped my team come back to the game. After the penalty we controlled the game.
“We fought hard and I kiss the hands of the players and the hand of Carlos Queiroz. I hope he'll continue for many years. His dream is to take the team to the second round and I know he can do it.”
Queiroz announced his intention to stand down as Iran coach prior to the start of the tournament, having twice led the nation to the World Cup during his seven-year stay in the country.
Iran’s stint in Russia could have been extended for at least one more game had Mehdi Taremi’s chance to win gone inside Rui Patricio’s post rather than into the side netting in the dying minutes.
A goal then would have won the tie for Iran and also been enough to ensure a top two finish for Team Melli, who are still chasing their first-ever appearance in the Round of 16.
Instead Iran finish the group round in third place in Group B, just one point behind qualifiers Spain and Portugal. Morocco were bottom with one point.
“We are all behind Taremi,” said Ansarifard. “He is one of the best players in Iran history. If Taremi missed that chance, then we all missed it.
“It’s such a pity. We will regret this day for a long time to come. We fought with the best teams in the world and we deserved to advance.
“The people hoped we would qualify, but sadly it didn't happen. I'm happy that I scored and rewarded the work of my teammates. But it would have been much more beautiful had we qualified.
“I hope we can keep this team because we have the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 coming up. And I hope next time we can advance from our group in the World Cup.”
Photos: FIFA via Getty Images
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