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Morocco coach Herve Renard remains hopeful despite World Cup defeat to Iran

18 June, 2018, 06:03 | Author: Candice Daniels
  • Carlos Queiroz

A late own goal handed Iran their second win in World Cup history as they defeated Morocco 1-0 at the Krestovsky Stadium on Friday evening.

While Iran celebrated, Morocco faced up to the daunting reality of going into their remaining Group B games against Spain and Portugal with no points on the board.

Bouhaddouz put the ball into his own net with a diving header at the near post in the 95th minute as Morocco defended a left-wing free-kick.

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Queiroz, himself a former Real Madrid coach, deflected questions on the issue at his pre-match press conference, saying: "It would be disrespectful to Morocco if I shifted my words to Spain". Using the width strongly, Morocco moved forward with Ayoub El Kaabi, Amine Harit and Hakim Ziyach combining well.

Iran had not tasted a win at a World Cup since France 98 but secured a 1-0 success in St Petersburg courtesy of Bouhaddouz's mistake.

Apparently he once went to Amsterdam to persuade one of his players, who was having second thoughts about turning his back on worldwide football, to carry on playing for the national team.

Morocco in particular have been in excellent form, winning four and drawing one of the five games they've played since reaching the tournament.

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The onslaught finally eased after half an hour and by the interval Iran had not only survived but finished the stronger, Sardar Azmoun, the "Iranian Messi", spurning a one-on-one after a scintillating break.

There was an explosion of joy among the Iranian squad, with coaching staff and substitutes sprinting onto the field and jumping.

"In a competition you have three matches to play and we still have two matches left".

Hervé Renard is in charge of his fourth African team but this will be his first experience of the World Cup.

The goal came so late that even the Portuguese seemed to have considered accepting a draw.

Both sides had plenty of clean sheets behind them in recent games, with Iran having gone 1,021 minutes without conceding during Asian qualifying (they allowed only 5 goals in 18 games).

Who will come out on top in the battle of the managers Hervé Renard or Carlos Queiroz?

- Aziz Bouhaddouz is just the third player to score an own-goal as a substitute in a World Cup match, after Laszlo Dajka (1986 for Hungary against USSR) and Petit (2006 for Portugal against Germany).

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