Iran fury over Klinsmann's World Cup criticism
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Iran and coach Carlos Queiroz on Sunday urged Jurgen Klinsmann to resign from a FIFA expert panel after the former Germany striker accused the Iranians of playing wit in their World Cup win against Wales.
Klinsmann, a member of FIFA's seven-strong technical study group analyzing the World Cup in Qatar, aimed at Iran's antics after Friday's 2-0 Group B win over Wales.
The former US coach said a series of nagging fouls and the behavior of the Iranian coaching staff during the game were part of a deliberate strategy to make the opposition "lose focus".
"It's no coincidence. It's all on purpose. It's part of their culture, that's how they play it," Klinsmann said while working as a studio analyst for the BBC.
“You work with the umpire – you saw the bench always come off and work the linesman and the fourth umpire on the touchline.
"Constantly in their ears, constantly in your face on the field... that's their culture.
"They make you lose your focus, your focus and what's really important to you."
Klinsmann's comments drew strong reactions from the Iranian Football Association and Queiroz, who branded the German world champion's comments as a "shame on football".
"Even if you don't know me personally, you question my character with a typical biased judgment of superiority," Queiroz wrote in a series of posts on Twitter.
"No matter how much I respect what you did on the pitch, these comments about Iranian culture, the Iranian national team and my players are a disgrace to football."
"Obviously nobody can violate our integrity if it's not at our level," added the veteran former Portugal coach.
Queiroz invited Klinsmann to visit the Iran camp at the World Cup to "hear how much they love and respect football" despite the "outrageous" criticism.
However, he said Klinsmann would only be welcome if he steps down from his FIFA role.
"We just want to follow closely what FIFA's decision will be regarding your position as a member of the Qatar 2022 Technical Study Group," he wrote.
"Because of course we expect you to resign before you visit our camp."
The Iranian FA, meanwhile, drew attention to Klinsmann's reputation for "famously dramatic leaps" throughout his career, as well as Germany's involvement in the infamous 1982 World Cup match with Austria, known as the "Shame of Gijon" when the two sides converged on a mutual settlement to some seemed a favorable outcome that eliminated Algeria.
"The Football Federation of Iran has already asked FIFA for immediate clarification on this matter and has asked for Mr. Klinsmann's apologies (sic) and resignation from his position as a member of FIFA's Technical Study Group," the Football Federation of Iran said.
Speaking to the BBC on Sunday, Klinsmann said he planned to contact Queiroz to "calm things down" and denied having criticized the manager or his staff.
"All I described was her emotional way of going about things, which in a way is admirable," Klinsmann said.
"The whole bank lives the game. They jump up and down and Carlos is a very emotional coach, he's always on the touchline trying to give his players all his energy and direction."
Iran meet the United States in their final Group B game on Tuesday, where a win would see them through to the Round of 16.
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