Australia in talks over Iran friendly as Carlos Queiroz enters body for …

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The Socceroos could be set to face former rivals Iran for the first time in more than 20 years, with discussions taking place aimed at staging a high-profile friendly in Australia before the 2018 World Cup. 

Fairfax Media can reveal Football Federation Australia are deep in negotiations with their Iranian counterparts to play a senior international between the two nations for the first time since the infamous 1997 World Cup qualifier at the MCG. (Australia were 2-0 up and looked like they were headed to France until serial pest Peter Hore ran onto the field, cut up Iran’s goal net and halted all their momentum late in the second half. In the first leg, Australia had scored an impressive 1-1 draw in front of more than 128,000  at the Azadi Stadium.)

About Australia
Australia (/əˈstreɪliə/, /ɒ-/, /-ljə/), officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the world’s sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. Australia’s capital is Canberra, and its largest urban area is Sydney.
For about 50,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century, Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians, who spoke languages classifiable into roughly 250 groups. After the European discovery of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, Australia’s eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788. The population grew steadily in subsequent decades, and by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established. On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy comprising six states and several territories. The population of 24 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard.
Australia has the world’s 13th-largest economy and ninth-highest per capita income (IMF). With the second-highest human development index globally, the country ranks highly in quality of life, health, education, economic freedom, and civil liberties and political rights. Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the Pacific Islands Forum.

Australia in talks over Iran friendly as Carlos Queiroz enters frame for …

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Australia in talks over Iran friendly as Carlos Queiroz enters frame for …

A deal is yet to be done but it’s understood talks are at an advanced stage. The friendly would be held in the March international window  in what both federations hope will be a key part of their preparations for Russia 2018. 

FFA chief executive David Gallop confirmed that negotiations were taking place. 

“We are talking to a number of excellent football nations from Asia and other confederations. Iran is one of them,” Gallop said. “The anniversary of that heartbreaking night at the MCG is a point to highlight. Many people, including me, remember it as one of the most devastating moments in Australian sport. It would be great to play a strong team in preparation for Russia but talks are at an early stage.”

Team Melli proved one of the biggest drawcards for fans at the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia, boasting the second highest average attendance for a visiting team, second only to Japan. Despite moving to the Asian Football Confederation in 2006, Iran is one of the only major nations in the region Australia has not played in a senior international. 

Several previous attempts have been made to hold a match between the two nations, with logistical issues having proved too difficult to overcome.

Should the FFA be successful in luring the three-time Asian champions to Australia,  it would provide the FFA with a close-up look at a prime candidate to replace Ange Postecoglou as Socceroos coach.

Fairfax Media understands Iran coach Carlos Queiroz is interested in moving to Australia to take charge of the national team after the 2018 World Cup, following confirmation that Postecoglou will not renew his contract and will pursue coaching opportunities abroad. 

FFA would not comment on their efforts to identify a successor to Postecoglou, but sources suggest the former Real Madrid coach and Manchester United assistant would be a a strong candidate.

Queiroz is set be a free agent as of July next year, with sources suggesting he will likely leave Iran after the 2018 World Cup campaign. Queiroz’s seven-year tenure with Team Melli has been successful on the field yet frustrating off it, with allegations of infighting, political disputes, poor planning and funding issues having taken their toll on the 64-year-old. Queiroz has resigned from his post on numerous occasions, only to be convinced to return each time. 

Despite his issues with the Iranian federation, the Portuguese coach has been a revelation with Iran, taking them from 66th to 30th in the world rankings, ahead of the likes of  the Netherlands and  Sweden, to become the top-ranked nation in Asia. Under his guidance, Iran became the first nation from the AFC to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and just the second in the world alongside Brazil, having gone eight games without conceding a goal.

Queiroz led South Africa and Portugal to World Cup appearances in 2002 and 2010 respectively and was the long-term assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. He spent one season as the head coach of Real Madrid.