Queiroz’s performances and counter-performances at the World Cup in Qatar


Queiroz managed the “performance” of losing the Qatar World Cup “duel” with three national teams: Colombia, Egypt and Iran. He also became the only coach with four World Cup appearances on four different continents.

Iran was eliminated from the World Cup in Qatar after two defeats (2-6 to England and 0-1 to USA) and one win (2-0 to Wales), but “earned the respect of the whole world”, according to Persian coach Carlos Queiroz.

“I’ve said this before in 2018, that I’ve coached many clubs and national teams in the past, but I’ve never seen in my career players who give everything and get nothing in return like the Iranians,” Queiroz said after the loss to the US that sent Iran home.

“Sometimes football is not fair and we will come back stronger and we have managed to earn the respect of the whole world,” the Portuguese coach added.

The 69-year-old coach made history after this World Cup, his fourth as a coach on the fourth continent, after WC 2010 (with Portugal), WC 2014, WC 2018 and WC 2022 (with Iran). He is the only coach to achieve this feat, with final tournament appearances in Africa, South America, Europe and Asia.

Looking at Carlos Queiroz’s actual numbers, he is the coach with the most matches (236) and the most wins (134, with 60 draws and 42 defeats) in the world of senior national teams. In addition, in his 40-year career, he has qualified for four World Cups, as mentioned.

For his part, with the Iranian national team he recently surpassed 100 official matches (106), winning 63, drawing 28 and losing only 15.

With his 4 World Cup appearances, Queiroz is second only to Bora Miltunovic (5 World Cups) and Carlos Alberto Pareira (6 World Cups).

The Mozambican-born coach from Nampula has become a globe-trotter who has coached in the United States, United Arab Emirates, Japan, South Africa, England, Spain and, of course, Portugal. In his homeland he was fortunate enough to work with the generation led first by a young Luis Figo and then by Cristiano Ronaldo at the 2010 World Cup. He had no great successes to his name, except at United in the shadow of Sir Alex Ferguson. He rose to worldwide fame in 2003 when he was appointed coach of Real Madrid, replacing Vicente del Bosque. Florentino Perez’s reasoning at the time was that the Portuguese “looks better”, with a sleeker and more attractive look than bon vivant grandfather Del Bosque. He failed to live up to expectations and sadly holds the sad record of five consecutive defeats to a team used to winning and that cost him the title.

From Real Madrid he returned to Manchester United as ‘second in command’, where he stayed for four more years before taking over as Portugal’s head coach in 2008. He narrowly qualified for the World Cup in South Africa after a play-off against Bosnia-Herzegovina, but the final tournament ended in the last 16, where they lost 1-0 to Spain.

Sacked by Portugal, Queiroz ended up a year later in charge of Iran, where he would stay for eight years. The Persians became his fourth national team after Portugal, United Arab Emirates and South Africa.

Carlos Queiroz spent almost eight years on the Iran bench – the longest tenure of any coach in the job – leading the Persian team to two World Cup finals, in 2014 and 2018.

In 2019 he parted ways with Iran, first taking charge of the Colombia national team, where he was sacked after a 0-3 home defeat to Uruguay in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. In 2021, he joined the Egypt national team, which he led to the final of the African Cup of Nations, but lost on penalties to Senegal.

Queiroz’s Egypt also lost to Senegal and also on penalties in the Qatar World Cup qualifying play-off, which led to the Portuguese coach being sacked again. Finally, he didn’t stay unemployed for long as Iran re-hired him to lead ‘Team Melli’ to his third World Cup as coach of the Persians.

That’s how Queiroz managed to fail to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar with two national teams, Colombia and Egypt, and with the third, Iran, to fail to qualify from the group. Not many coaches can boast of such a “performance”.

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