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Former Manchester United assistant coach leads Iran to qualify for World Cup

Former Manchester United assistant Carlos Queiroz is heading to Brazil.

Iran booked their place at the 2014 World Cup today with a hard fought victory over South Korea.

Led by former Manchester United and Real Madrid employee Carlos Queiroz, the Middle Eastern country celebrated deliriously after qualifying.

They missed the cut in 2010 and 2002, but participated in 2006, going out at the group stages in the finals in Germany.

It is fair to say Queiroz is celebrating as much as anybody else, for the qualification was a much-needed success story on his personal CV.

He received acclaim for his helping hand as assistant boss at Manchester United in 2002/03, where they wrestled back the title from Arsenal's double-winning side of the season earlier.

So much so that Real Madrid came calling, offering to make him a manager in his own right and it was an offer too good for him to refuse.

Predictably he was shoved aside after just one season by the Spanish giants, winning just the Spanish Super Cup, and returned to Old Trafford.

He spent three seasons back with United, but failed to enjoy the same adulation as his first spell under Sir Alex Ferguson did initially, but ended it on a high note departing in 2008 after the club had won the Champions League and regained their grip on the Premier League title.

He took over as Portugal boss, but produced a particularly uninspiring effort as the country struggled to qualify for the World Cup in 2010 and when there, one hefty win over North Korea aside, they failed to impress - beaten by Spain in the second round.

A year later he was employed by Iran, which brings us back to today's momentous victory - one not without controversy.

There was particularly 'bad blood' between Iran and South Korea before the game due to comments from both sides in the media beforehand, and after Iran's 1-0 victory Queiroz produced a 'fist pump' and appeared to shout profanities in the direction of the Korean bench.

The incident saw several water bottles thrown from the angry home crowd, with the manager unrepentant after the game.

South Korea also qualified, despite Uzbekistan winning 5-1 over Qatar elsewhere in their group, so the loss was not as painful as it might have been.

It will be tough for Queiroz to make an impact at the World Cup with an Iran side which will look to become the first in the nation's history to get past the opening round.

If he can, then that may just be his greatest achievement as an individual coach to date. The fact he was barely a contender for the Manchester United job last month, after being tipped by Sir Alex Ferguson several times in the past won't be lost on him - next summer will be his chance to show the world he is still relevant.

image: © parmida

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