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No boots, no problem as Queiroz plays up Iran unity ahead of Morocco clash

AFP  |  Saint Petersburg 

believes his players have been brought closer together by Nike's decision to cut their supply of kit to the team but the acid test will come against tomorrow.

announced they have been forbidden from providing boots to Iran's squad during the tournament, on account of sanctions imposed against the country by the

The late decision has disrupted Iran's preparations, with some players reportedly having to buy their own footwear from Russian shops or even ask club team-mates for help.

"It has been a source of inspiration for us," Queiroz told "This last comment of was, in my personal view, an unnecessary statement. Everybody is aware about the sanctions.

"They should come out and apologise because this arrogant conduct against 23 boys is absolutely ridiculous and unnecessary."

head into the match against in Group B on the back of a difficult build-up to the tournament overall, after friendly matches against and were also cancelled.

It remains to be seen whether Queiroz's defiant verdict bears fruit, given any loser of Friday's crunch fixture in Saint Petersburg would be left needing to beat either or to reach the last 16.

"We have the potential to surprise in our first match," Queiroz said. "We know their team very well but I suspect they know very little about us."


Queiroz's mood may seem bullish but, despite upheaval off the pitch, his team have been in excellent form on it.

In four years ago, they were sunk by a late strike in the group stage against but there was enough in Iran's performances to persuade Queiroz to stay on.

The former Real Madrid and Manchester United assistant had already overseen them climbing from seventh to top of the Asian rankings and since the last World Cup, they have not lost a competitive game.

That run includes 22 matches and even saw as the first team to qualify for

But, if they are to upset the expected duopoly of and Spain, Iran will surely need to beat Morocco, who managed not to concede a single goal during their own stellar qualifying campaign.

French has instilled a relentless work ethic and defensive discipline in his team but this will be the country's first outing at a since 1998 and organisation will take the Atlas Lions only so far.

After sacked their coach on Wednesday, two days before their opening match, both Morocco and Iran will hope the likelihood of a surprise run has been boosted.

"We have a tough draw," Renard said. "It will be a matter of making the most of any chances we get.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, June 14 2018. 09:55 IST
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