May 23 – Marc Wilmots will succeed Carlos Queiroz as coach of Iran in a four-year deal 50-year-old signed with the Iranian Football Federation on Wednesday.
Last week Wilmots had travelled to Tehran, but talks broke down over the difficulties of international bank transfers for Iran’s football federation, a result of the US-led economic blockade of the country.
Wilmots left Iran without signing a deal, but on Wednesday he put pen to paper at the residence of Iran’s ambassador in Brussels. The president of Iran’s football federation Mehdi Taj had flown to the Belgian capital to hammer out the final details.
Wilmots will earn more than a million euros a year in a deal that runs until the end of the 2022 World Cup finals. The Belgian won 70 caps for his county and led the Red Devils as coach between 2012 and 2016, but his reign was punctuated by disappointing campaigns at the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016. In 2017 he also had a brief spell with Ivory Coast, but was fired after the West Africans failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations.
A former Schalke 04 player, he replaces Queiroz who left Iran for Colombia after January’s Asian Cup when Iran failed to reach the final. In the last four Team Melli were comprehensively beaten by Japan as their dream of continental glory came crashing down. The defeat left a sour note to Queiroz’s eight-year reign in which Iran participated in two consecutive World Cups. In the aftermath of Querioz’s exist the Portuguese coach has accused Iranian FA of owing him money.
Wilmots will be expected to lead Iran to the World Cup in Qatar. In June his tenure will get under way with friendlies against Syria and South Korea.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1601539487labto1601539487ofdlr1601539487owedi1601539487sni@o1601539487fni1601539487