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Why did Queiroz walk out on Iran?


Queiroz resigns again as Iran coach


Carlos Queiroz

Latest Team: Iran
Previous Squads:


2014 FIFA World Cup

  • 3GP
  • 0Won
  • 1Draw
  • 2Lost


Previous Clubs/Countries: Portugal U20, Portugal (twice), Sporting, NY/NJ MetroStars, Nagoya Grampus Eight, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Manchester United (assistant), Real Madrid, Portugal

Honours: FIFA World Youth Championship, 1989, 1991; European Under-16 Championship, 1989; Taça de Portugal, 1995; Supercopa de Espana, 2003

There will not be many head coaches in Brazil with the extensive and varied experience that Carlos Queiroz has. He has worked in Europe, Japan, the United States, Spain, England and now is in Iran. Whatever the World Cup throws at him, there is a good chance that the 60 year-old will have first-hand knowledge of at least one of his opponents.

Born in Mozambique, he made his name in style, leading Portugal's U20 team to successive World Youth Championships titlesin 1989 and 1991, working with the golden generation and the likes of Luis Figo, Rui Costa et al. It seemed natural that he would be given the senior job and the call came in 1991 though he failed to take the team to Euro '92 (at a time when only eight nations qualified) and couldn't make it to USA 94 either. Still, he was handed a move to Sporting, to replace Bobby Robson.

Two years in Lisbon ended in dismissal and Queiroz decided it was time to do a little wandering. Then came short spells in the MLS with NY/NJ MetroStars and in Japan with the club that Arsene Wenger had recently left, Nagoya Grampus. In 1999, he headed to the Middle East to become another of those European coaches to take the reins of the UAE national team before taking the South Africa job in 2000, qualifying the team for the 2002 World Cup but falling out with his bosses before heading to South Korea.

He was rewarded however by a call from Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson. Queiroz was at Old Trafford from 2002 to 2008 with time off in between as the irresistible call came from Real Madrid. As Ferguson's number two, the Portuguese was credited for making the English team more European and intelligent when in action on the continent. No more were the Red Devils the kind of team to focus on scoring more than the opposition, with Queiroz in tow, they became more sophisticated and harder to beat. Basically, he took an English team and made it European.

In 2003, he left to take over Real Madrid. The team of Zinedine Zidane and Figo started well but ended in fourth in the league and nowhere in Europe and in May 2004, he was sacked and back in Manchester. After the club won the Champions League in Moscow in 2008, he left to, once again, take over his native Portugal. He took the team to the World Cup and to the second round and a 1-0 defeat at the hands of eventual champions Spain, though it was a very close-run thing.

Less than a year later, he agreed to take on his biggest challenge yet. Iran had failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup and were desperate to ensure that they didn't miss out once again.

In the end, Team Melli topped their group in the final round of qualification thanks to a final day 1-0 win in South Korea, made all the sweeter by the war of words between Queiroz and his opposite number Choi Kang-Hee and the fact that 2010 qualification had come to an end in Seoul. There was the occasional hiccup along the way, such as a first-ever defeat to Lebanon, but when the pressure was on, Iran came through.

Strengths: Tactically sound and able to organise a team very well. Players know their roles and positions in detail. Has more extensive and varied experience than the vast majority and is used to pressure.

Weaknesses: Questions marks over motivational and man-management skills - unquestionably a great No. 2, but does he have what it takes to be the main man?

Career high: Delivering Portuguese success at youth level and playing a major role in Manchester United's dominance.

Career low: Being sacked by Real Madrid at the end of his first season

Tactics: In Iran, the team has become solid in defence and quick on the counter. The players are comfortable in 4-2-3-1 with two experienced holding midfielders and pace in attack and on the wings.

Quote: "My shoulders are heavy with the hopes of 75 million Iranians. It is not an easy responsibility and every day I think about that. There is only one thing on my mind and that is to succeed." Carlos Queiroz reveals the pressure on his shoulders to ESPN in 2013.

Trivia: Many think that the influence of Queiroz at Old Trafford was the reason that Roy Keane eventually left the club.

Words: John Duerden