January 28 – Carlos Queiroz has stepped down as coach of Iran after his team crashed out of the Asian Cup 3-0 against Japan. In recent weeks the Portuguese has been linked to the Colombia national team vacancy.
The Iranians had been favourites against the four-time Asian Cup champions in the semi-finals, but were, in the end comprehensively beaten by Hajime Moriyasu’s team.
“The innocent mistakes from my players that resulted in a goal caused an emotional breakdown in my players…The best team won… Thank you to my players for their efforts over all these years they’ll be in my heart for the rest of my life,” said Queiroz.
Shortly after he added: “You have to understand that this is the end. I am happy because as a coach I did things my way.”
In 2011 Queiroz took the Iran role and coached Team Melli to two World Cup finals and the top spot in Asia. The Portuguese wanted to lead his team to a first continental victory in 43 years. The Iranians have failed to progress from each of their last six semi-finals at the Asian Cup since beating China 2-1 in 1976.
Queiroz’s contract with Iran was to run out at the end of the tournament, but he confirmed that he won’t renew it. In a statement on social media platforms Queiroz wrote: “There are no words to express my gratitude to these players, for everything they have done all over these years, for their effort, support and commitment.”
“It was an honour to be side by side with these great men, in this eight-year journey, facing all the adversities, always and always with great character, the top character for which I believe they deserved to play the final.
“Congratulations to Japan, the best team tonight, but honour to Team Melli, for what they built for their people, for the football they show to the World, and for the legacy they take to the future.
“This was one of the best football families of my career and I wish all these players the best! Now the end is here. I did it my way, giving the very best of me, with the support of my staff – thank you guys! And gratitude you to all the Iranian fans.”
During the Asian Cup, Queiroz has been increasingly linked with the Colombia vacancy. The Portuguese batted off the speculation repeatedly, but admitted he was flattered by Colombia’s interest. If Queiroz were to become Colombia’s coach he will face Japan in a friendly in March.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1618712170labto1618712170ofdlr1618712170owedi1618712170sni@o1618712170fni1618712170