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Iran's Queiroz relishes facing England at World Cup
Returning head coach Carlos Queiroz said on Thursday he is relishing the chance to face England when he leads Iran into the World Cup finals campaign.
Team Melli begin their Qatar 2022 campaign against The Three Lions on November 21 and will also play Wales and round off their Group B games with the high-octane clash against the United States.
"Thanks God we are playing against England. We like to play against the best teams in the world. England is one of the best teams in Europe. Iran is one of the best teams in Asia, and so that's why we are here," he told reporters on the sidelines of a training session of the national team in Tehran.
"Premier League it is all about progress and quality every single year. Of course we are going to play against some of the best players in the world, but we are going to be ready for that," the former Real Madrid coach added.
The 69-year-old Queiroz -- who was an assistant coach to Alex Ferguson at Manchester United on two occasions -- was officially appointed last Wednesday.
He had previously been in charge of Iran for eight years (2011-2019), the longest stint in the team's history.
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That included appearances at the 2014 and 2018 World Cup finals where Iran exited in the group stage, although in the latter they beat Morocco for only their second win in football's global showpiece.
The appointment of Queiroz followed a campaign pledge by the new head of Iran's football federation, Mehdi Taj.
Taj was elected president of the Iranian football federation last week, after previously occupying the role from 2016 to 2019.
Queiroz replaced Dragan Skocic who was sacked in July only to be reinstated days later.
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Iran will be appearing at their sixth World Cup finals in Qatar.
Queiroz was last in charge of Egypt, quitting in April after failing to agree terms on a new contract.
The former South Africa, Portugal and Colombia national coach's first task will be two warm-up matches in September, against Uruguay and African champions Senegal in Austria on September 23 and 27 respectively.
"This is only our first step in preparation for our short-term goal which is the World Cup, just the first step," Queiroz said, adding that "we are trying to put everything in place, in all departments, inside the pitch, outside the pitch."
The Portuguese is due to announce his squad for the upcoming friendlies on Friday, two days after the start of a training camp for local players.