Iran's Carlos Queiroz to Spain: We didn't fake injuries -- ask Sergio Ramos
Iran coach Carlos Queiroz has denied his players faked getting hurt during their defeat to Spain on Wednesday and seemingly criticised the conduct of Sergio Ramos for his Champions League final tussle that injured Mohamed Salah.
Spain players complained throughout the game, which they won 1-0, about Iran's perceived time-wasting tactics. On one occasion, in the 39th minute, Diego Costa objected after Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand began jumping in pain, insisting to the referee that Costa had stamped on his foot.
"I deny my players wasted time," Queiroz told Onda Cero radio after the game. "My players suffered strong challenges and needed assistance. We lost two or three players because of the harshness of the game. We had four counter-attacks that Spain stopped with fouls and the referee didn't do anything, not even a yellow card. Two players are out [injured] for our next game. That's the reality."
Dani Carvajal told AS after the game that while he has no problem with defending deeply and committing fouls, "Iran's time-wasting, pretending to be injured or hurt -- to me, that's not football, it's disloyal."
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And Queiroz responded to Carvajal's claim by invoking the shoulder injury to Salah, who missed Egypt's opening game against Uruguay, and insinuating that Ramos hurt him purposely.
"I recommend that Carvajal put his eyes on his club teammate and friend, who threw the Egyptian player out of the World Cup," Queiroz said. "If he criticises Iran players, it would be good for him to also look at his teammates."
Still, Queiroz said he believes Spain "are candidates to win the World Cup" after their performance on Wednesday.
"They have sensational players," Queiroz said. "We thank Spain for all that we have learned. This was a unique opportunity for my players to learn about international football.
"The aim of Iran was to improve and Spain have allowed us to do that."
Spain will play their final Group B game against Morocco, and Iran will wrap up the stage against Portugal, on Monday.
Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.