Quieroz hails ‘beautiful’ win for Iran

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Carlos Quieroz labelled Iran’s first World Cup win in 20 years as “beautiful” after a last-gasp Group B victory over Morocco.

A stoppage time own goal from Aziz Bouhaddouz sparked wild scenes of celebrations among both the Iranian fans and players in St Petersburg, as Quieroz’s side gave themselves hope of reaching the knockout rounds.

Morocco enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and looked the more threatening of the two sides as the game wore on, but Bouhaddouz’s header past his own goalkeeper leaves Iran with a platform to build on ahead of the daunting group games with Spain and Portugal.

“After so many years in this business, the first game of a World Cup is always difficult and tough and this was no different – but it was also beautiful,” said boss Quieroz.

“We started very carefully and I’m sure they studied the Iranian team. We knew they have a very strong and powerful start to the game – always with full speed and a great attacking spirit.

“Our strategy was, from the first minute, to create a mental collapse in the Moroccan players, we try to do that by creating frustration and block all the playmakers and the players who can create something.

“Since we were able to create panic in their defensive line the game changed. The players for Morocco knew we could win the game and that changed everything in the last minutes.”