Things could get heated on the field between the United States and Iran as the two teams prepare to battle it out on Tuesday to move on to the knockout stage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. What we may not have expected was for former US manager Jurgen Klinsmann to get caught in the fray.
Klinsmann coached the United States from 2011 to 2016, but now the German is a FIFA official. Iran’s head coach Carlos Queiroz is calling for him to resign for comments he made while on air with the BBC.
He said that Queiroz’s Iranian squad was prone to behavior meant to intimidate officials.
He also said that it was part of their culture, and that’s when people got mad.
“This is not by coincidence, this is all [done] purposely,” he said, “This is just part of their culture, that’s how they play. They work the referee, you saw the bench always jumping up, always working the linesman, constantly in their ears, they’re constantly in your face.
“This is their culture. They kind of make you lose your focus, make you lose your concentration and what’s really important to you,” Klinsmann continued.
It’s hard to tell if Klinsmann was referring to Iranian culture or the team’s culture. There’s a pretty significant difference there, but as per usual, it was taken as the former.
Klinsmann’s Comments Drew Anger From Queiroz
Queiroz shot back at him on social media.
“No matter how much I can respect what you did inside the pitch, those remarks about Iran Culture, Iran National Team and my players are a disgrace to football,” the Portuguese-born Iran manager said. He also invited Klinsmann to visit the team’s camp and to talk to his players.
However, he had a condition for that visit: Klinsmann’s resignation.
Klinsmann tried to smooth things over after it got heated.
“I have never criticized Carlos or the Iranian bench. Some even thought I was criticizing the referee because he didn’t do anything about the way they were behaving on the bench,” he said.
“All I described was their emotional way of doing things, which is actually admirable in a certain way. The whole bench lives the game. They’re jumping up and down and Carlos is a very emotional coach, he’s constantly on the sidelines trying to give his players all his energy and direction.”
If Klinsmann got the Iranians distracted ahead of Tuesday’s match, this plays into the United States’ hands.
That’d be quite the assist from their old bench boss.
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