Carlos Queiroz, head coach of the Iranian national football team, spoke to reporters after his return on Thursday, telling them: “When the family call you home, you show up.”
The Portuguese coach was reinstated last week in line with the wishes of Mehdi Taj, newly re-elected president of the Football Federation, as well as some of the players, in the run-up to the World Cup.
“I don’t think this is a reward from the past, or a simple thing that came to me,” he said. “I look at it as a big responsibility on my shoulders.”
He paid tribute Dragan Skočić, the outgoing coach, who had seen Iran through one of its best qualifying seasons on record only to have his contract severed. “I would like to thank Mr. Skočić and his team,” Qureiroz said. “I commend the achievement.
“Today our duty is to change the situation, improve, and keep moving forward… I thank God that we are going to play England. I like to play against the best teams in the world.”
Iran is due to travel to Austria shortly to train for the World Cup and play two friendlies with Senegal and Uruguay. Queiroz hinted that Team Melli might have a third match while there.
Earlier, Iranian media reported the Federation was in talks with its Russian counterparts about a possible game. The Russian national team is banned by FIFA from participating in any official contests due to the invasion of Ukraine.