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Bosnia clash is Iran’s ‘World Cup final’

SALVADOR (AFP) – Iran coach Carlos Queiroz says Wednesday’s clash with Bosnia-Hercegovina is effectively their World Cup final as they try to keep alive hopes of reaching the last 16.

Iran must beat Bosnia and hope Nigeria fail to pick up a point against Argentina in the other Group F match, though the Iranians progress to the knock-out stages could come down to goal difference.

Nevertheless, Queiroz said his side is just focused on a good performance in their final group game.

“This is our World Cup final, it’s as simple as that,” said the 61-year-old Portuguese.

“We didn’t come here to win the trophy, nobody expected that from Iran, but we raised our expectations and we raised our dreams.

“We want to play the match with one goal in mind — to fulfil our dream of reaching the last 16.”

Having failed to score in their goalless draw with Nigeria and heart-breaking 1-0 defeat to Argentina, settled by a late Lionel Messi strike, Queiroz’s side must score in Salvador.

The ex-Real Madrid coach was in bullish mood criticising both the Arena Fonte Nova pitch, which has seen 17 goals in three games, and the standard of refereeing at the finals.

But he said he will be keeping one eye on Nigeria-Argentina in Porto Alegre, which also kicks off at 1300 local time (1600GMT), hoping the Africans do not pull off an upset.

“I have nothing against the Nigerians, I’m African myself, but with all due respect, Argentina’s victory would put us in a better position,” said Mozambique-born Queiroz.

“I have spoken to my players and we have to focus on our job, all the rest is in the hands of God.”


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