Carlos Queiroz steps down as Iran head coach after Japan defeat
By Dan Sansom
Last Updated: 28/01/19 6:34pm
Carlos Queiroz has stepped down as Iran head coach following his side's 3-0 defeat to Japan in the Asian Cup.
The Portuguese coach had been in charge of Iran since 2011, helping them qualify for two World Cup finals and reach the No 1 spot in the Asian rankings.
He had been hoping to deliver Iran's first continental title since 1976 in the United Arab Emirates, but Japan scored three second-half goals to send them crashing out of the tournament at the semi-final stage.
His contract with Iran was due to end after the Asian Cup anyway, but Queiroz confirmed after the defeat that he would not be renewing it.
In a statement on Instagram, Queiroz said: "There are no words to express my gratitude to this players, for everything they have done all over these years, for their effort, support and commitment.
"It was an honour to be side by side with these great men, in this eight-year journey, facing all the adversities, always and always with great character, the top character for which I believe they deserved to play the final.
"Congratulations to Japan, the best team tonight, but honour to Team Melli, for what they built for their people, for the football they show to the World, and for the legacy they take to the future.
"This was one of the best football families of my career and I wish all these players the best! Now the end is here. I did it my way, giving the very best of me, with the support of my staff - thank you guys! And gratitude you to all the Iranian fans."
The semi-final defeat was Queiroz's 100th match in charge of Iran and he leaves having become the country's longest-serving coach.
The former Manchester United assistant led the national side to only their second ever win in World Cup history when they beat Morocco in Russia last summer, but they narrowly missed out on qualification from the group stage, finishing a single point behind Spain and Portugal.
Queiroz recently suggested he was "honoured" to be considered for the Colombia job after previous coach Jose Pekerman left the position in September.