The Iranian football federation and national team coach Carlos Queiroz have angrily hit back at former Germany great Jurgen Klinsmann for saying that Iran's World Cup players use dirty tactics because it's in their “culture."
Both the federation and Queiroz on Sunday called for Klinsmann to resign from FIFA’s technical study group, while the Iranian federation said it demands an apology from the former Germany and United States national team coach. The federation asked FIFA for “immediate clarification” on the matter.
Klinsmann, who coached the United States from 2011-16 and led Germany to a third-place finish at the 2006 World Cup, said Friday it's the Iranian players’ “culture” to play dirty and use tricks to turn the referee in their favor as he was commentating on Iran’s win over Wales for British broadcaster BBC.
Iran plays the United States in a decisive Group B match on Tuesday.
“That’s their way of doing it. And that’s why Carlos Queiroz, he fits really well (with) the Iranian national team,” said Klinsmann, who also disparaged players from Central America. “I worked for the US for six years. They went to Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica. This fits their culture.”
Queiroz, who is from Portugal, responded on Sunday, when he accused the former Germany forward of having "a typical prejudiced judgment of superiority.”
“Those remarks about Iran Culture, Iran National Team and my Players are a disgrace to Football,” Queiroz wrote on Twitter.
As a member of FIFA’s technical study group, Klinsmann is supposed to “provide cutting-edge analysis” of all the matches at the tournament “while increasing and developing understanding of the game across the world,” according to the governing body.
Klinsmann tried to row back on his comments on Sunday, telling BBC Breakfast they had been “taken out of context.”
“I have never criticized Carlos or his bench,” said Klinsmann, who had criticized Queiroz for failing to qualify for the World Cup with both Colombia and Egypt before he returned for his second stint as Iran coach.
"All I described was basically their emotional way of doing things which is actually admirable in a certain way."
Queiroz invited Klinsmann to visit Iran’s national team camp to see for himself how much the players “love and respect” soccer, but called on the German to resign from FIFA’s group because of his “outrageous remarks” first.
Klinsmann was invited by the Iranian federation, too.
“Being a German, it is promised that Mr. Klinsmann will not be judged for the most shameful episode of the World Cup History, the ‘Disgrace of Gijon’ 82, when West Germany and Austria fixed a result,” the federation said. “As a former player, he will not be judged by his famous dramatic dives.”