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Queiroz returns ‘home’ to take up Iran post

Carlos Queiroz said he feels “at home” after he returned to Tehran on Wednesday to take charge of Iran for a third successive World Cup finals campaign.

The 69-year-old Portuguese coach was appointed to the post last Wednesday having previously been in charge of Iran for eight years, the longest stint in the national team’s history.

That included appearances at the 2014 and 2018 World Cup finals where Iran exited in the group stage, although in the latter they beat Morocco for only their second win in football’s global showpiece.

“As I said yesterday I feel (at) home, that’s the best feeling that you can have,” he said on arriving at the airport where he was surrounded by media and Iran supporters.

“I just hope that our work together can drive the dreams of Iran in the near future.”

The appointment of the former Real Madrid coach followed a campaign pledge by the new head of Iran’s football federation, Mehdi Taj.

Taj was elected president of the Iranian football federation last week, after previously occupying the role from 2016 to 2019.

Queiroz — who is perhaps best known for being assistant coach to Alex Ferguson at Manchester United on two occasions — replaced Dragan Skocic.

Skocic was sacked in July only to be reinstated days later.

Iran will be appearing at their sixth World Cup finals in Qatar.

They begin their campaign against England on November 21 and will also play Wales and round it off with the high-octane clash against the United States in Group B.

A previous meeting in a World Cup finals saw Iran beat the USA 2-1 in a 1998 group match.  

Queiroz was last in charge of Egypt, quitting in April after failing to agree terms on a new contract.

The former South Africa, Portugal and Colombia national coach’s first task will be two warm-up matches in September, against Uruguay and African champions Senegal in Austria on September 23 and 27 respectively.   

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