Carlos Quieroz urges Iran to ignore the distractions ahead of World Cup clash with USA

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz has emphasised the importance of maintaining focus and mental clarity ahead of the vital World Cup Group B game against the United States.

The Iranian Football Federation has complained to FIFA about the USA removing the Islamic Republic symbol from the nation's flag in some social media posts in the build-up to Tuesday night's match at the Al Thumama Stadium.

Queiroz himself also become embroiled in a war of words with Jurgen Klinsmann after the former Germany striker spoke about how Iran had been deemed to have deployed gamesmanship and "worked the referee" during their win over Wales.

The squad has also played against a background of widespread anti-government protests in Iran, which were sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in custody in September having been detained for allegedly failing to follow the country's Islamic dress code.

Nevertheless, former Manchester United assistant manager and Real Madrid boss Queiroz insisted he and all of the players were fully focussed on their next game - and the chance to progress to the last 16.

Iran are second in Group B on three points, one point behind leaders England and one ahead of the USA, with all four nations still in contention for a top-two finish.

"I need to be with my mind preparing them to play the best football on the day," Queiroz said.

"Because if my mind falls in the trap to pay attention and destruct with all those things, I am lying to football. I will not do that to my father and I will not do that to the game."

Queiroz added: "If after 42 years in this game as coach, I still believe that I could win games with those mental games, I think I did not learn anything about the game and this is not the case.

"Those collective set of events which are surrounding this World Cup, I hope it will be a good lesson for all of us in the future and that in the next event, we will learn that our mission here is to create entertainment and at least during 90 minutes, make the people happy."

In a Twitter thread posted on Saturday night, Queiroz had called for Klinsmann to resign from his role as a member of FIFA's Technical Study Group, labelling the German's comments as "outrageous" and a "disgrace to football".

Former USA manager and 1990 World Cup winner Klinsmann has also faced wider criticism for his remarks, which were made during punditry for the BBC, and sought to smooth the waters in an subsequent interview on Sunday.

Queiroz had also been pressed during Monday's pre-match media conference for further response to Klinsmann's outburst.

However, Queiroz again looked to defuse tensions when asked if he felt Iran would continue to face criticism ahead of their final group match.

"(I have) no comment (on Klinsmann) just a reference that I always worked and I always believed in my life that a football team must be based on the work ethics and principles of what is a team," the Portuguese coach said.

"When we respect and we commit ourselves to the values and principles of being part of a team, we can only be better, more stronger.

"This is what I always believe in my life and I will always work in that direction, to create a coach code of conduct in terms of principles and values that can make the players believe that every single morning when they wake up, they only have one challenge in mind - to be better, to compete against themselves and they need to be better than the others."

"When we are a team that moves with the feeling of harmony, it is like a collective brain that thinks and acts at the same time.

"This is what in our first game (against England) was not so good, but we (went) back to the roots and in the second game we are able to implement our collective strategic thinking, feeling and acting and that is why we become more strong."

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