Iran coach Carlos Queiroz will have to watch next year’s World Cup in Brazil on television, his South Korean counterpart Choi Kang-hee said on the eve of the teams’ decisive qualifier.
The two coaches have traded verbal volleys in the lead-up to Tuesday’s Asia Group A clash in Ulsan as they bid to secure automatic qualifying spots for the 2014 showpiece event.
Table toppers South Korea, on 14 points, could still take one of the group’s two automatic berths even if they lose to Iran, who have 13 points, while third-placed Uzbekistan have 11 and host Qatar in their last round of qualifiers.
After defeating Uzbekistan last week, Choi said he wanted revenge for October’s 1-0 defeat in Tehran where he believed his team were “badly treated.” Queiroz responded by saying the South Korean should apologize to the Iranian people.
“It looks like Iran is nervous. When feeling burdened or chased after, you talk a lot and engage in unnecessary provocation,” Choi told reporters in a fresh salvo.
“I will defeat Iran no matter what. Coach Queiroz will be watching the Brazil World Cup on TV.”
Despite the tensions, a draw in Ulsan should be enough to secure automatic qualification for both teams as Iran have a superior goal difference to the Uzbeks.
The two third-place finishers in the two advanced Asian qualifying groups will face off over two legs with the winners taking on a South American side in two matches for a berth in Brazil.
The Uzbeks’ best chance of snatching an automatic berth will be to beat Qatar and hope Korea defeat Iran.
Iran coach Queiroz was unhappy that the Koreans did not push on for a bigger victory in the latter stages of their match with Uzbekistan last week and promised to buy and present Choi an Uzbek uniform.
“I was going to but didn’t (bring an Uzbek jersey). I was going to exchange jerseys and shake hands with Choi after the match tomorrow (Tuesday),” the Portuguese said.
“I would like to congratulate each other on going to the World Cup together. I am willing to give an Iran uniform to Choi.”
South Korea’s Germany-based forward Son Heung-min said he will make Iran shed “blood tears,” which received a philosophical response from the former Real Madrid coach.
“I have been a coach for thirty years and have never experienced a soccer match of blood and revenge. I think we have to stop here,” Queiroz said. “We will respond with soccer to the revenge and with sweat to the blood.”