Former German soccer star Jürgen Klinsmann riled Iran over the weekend with critical comments he made about the national team.
Klinsmann, who played for Germany and coached the US men’s team before joining FIFA’s technical study group, was an analyst for Iran’s Group B match against Wales. He said on Friday that it is the “culture” of Iranian players to play dirty and use tricks to turn the referee in his favor.
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“That’s his way of doing it. And that’s why (Iran coach) Carlos Queiroz fits very well (with) the Iranian team,” Klinsmann told the BBC. “I worked for the US for six years. They went to Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica. This fits their culture.
“This is not by chance, this is all [done] by the way. This is just part of their culture, this is how they play. They work the referee, you saw the bench always jumping, always working the linesman, constantly in their ears, constantly in your face.
“This is their culture. They make you lose focus, they make you lose focus and what’s really important to you.”
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Queiroz and the Iranian soccer federation responded to Klinsmann, calling on FIFA to provide “immediate clarification” on the matter.
“These comments about the culture of Iran, the Iran national team and my players are a shame for football,” Queiroz tweeted.
He invited Klinsmann to visit Iran’s national team camp to see for himself how much its players “love and respect” soccer, but first called on the German to resign from the FIFA group because of his outrageous comments.
As part of FIFA’s technical study group, Klinsmann is supposed to “provide cutting-edge analysis” of all matches in the tournament “while increasing and developing understanding of the game around the world,” according to the organization.
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“Being German, it is promised that Mr. Klinsmann will not be tried for the most shameful episode in World Cup history, the ‘Gijon Disgrace’ 82, when West Germany and Austria fixed a result,” the soccer federation said. from Iran. “As a former player, he won’t be judged by his famous dramatic dives.”
Associated Press contributed to this report.