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Queiroz ready for 'Universe Cup final' against Spain

17 June, 2018, 13:40 | Author: Candice Daniels
  • Courtesy Morocco Coach Herve Renard

With the score tied 0-0 and the match looking like a sure draw several minutes into stoppage time, Morocco's Aziz Bouhaddouz tried to safely head the ball out of bounds on an Iran corner kick.

An own goal in the 95th minute saw Iran beat Morocco 1-0 on Friday in Group B play at the 2018 World Cup.

Iran started with Sardar Azmoun in place of injured striker Mehdi Taremi for the opening Group B match against Morocco in St Petersburg.

Morocco nearly turned that initial pressure into a goal in the 19th minute when following a scramble in the area, Medhi Benatias shot was well saved by Iran keeper Alireza Beiranvand.

In a profile for GQ magazine this week, Quieroz said: "Iran loves soccer, and people know we have problems and now look at Iran differently, more respectfully because they know the challenges we have".

Sportswear giant Nike has been branded a "disgrace" with angry fans calling for a boycott of the company because of its treatment of Iran's World Cup squad.

The Iranians, who had not won a World Cup game since their victory over the United States in 1998, celebrated as if they had won the tournament.

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Yet when I was in St. Petersburg preparing to cheer inside the stadium, Iranian activists tweeted that authorities canceled announced plans to finally let women into Azadi stadium to (virtually) watch the Iran-Morocco match, yet again dashing the hope of dozens of Iranian women who wanted to cheer with their families.

Renard said his team "fell into the trap" set by Iran, which sat back and relied on the defensive strength that carried the team through Asian qualifying by conceding only two goals in 10 games.

"It has been a source of inspiration for us", Queiroz told Sky Sports. The World Cup will run from June 14 to July 15. It revived memories of the vuvuzelas that were the soundtrack of the World Cup in South Africa.

Morocco were well and truly on top in the first half, registering eight shots to two and maintaining 70 percent of possession inside the first half hour of play.

Yet, even before a ball had been kicked, there was a palpable air of excitement and anticipation as hordes of the Iranian faithful descended on the magnificent Saint-Petersburg Stadium, which only opened its doors previous year.

At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Sajedeh Norouzi waved a small Iranian flag during an Olympic volleyball match - her first time in a sports stadium. Then, in the second half, the banner moved up the field near the other goal.

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