A stoic and sombre Carlos Queiroz said ‘sayonara’ to Iran after his side were swept away 3-0 by Japan in the Asian Cup semi-finals.
The former Portugal and Real Madrid manager quoted Frank Sinatra in his post-match press conference as he revealed “the end is here” following Yuya Osako’s brace and a third in stoppage time from Genki Haraguchi.
The veteran Portuguese has reigned over Team Melli for the last eight years – during which he has led them at both the 2014 and 2018 World Cups and seen them become the No1 ranked team in Asia.
Iran are ranked joint 29th by FIFA alongside Serbia, 12 places above the next Asian team in deposed continental champions Australia. But Queiroz was unable to deliver success at the Asian Cup as his side exited at the quarter-finals four years ago Down Under, while they were dumped out in Al Ain on Monday night at the hands of the record four-time winners.
Iran have won the Asian Cup three times themselves – successively from 1968-76 – but have failed to reach another final in 11 subsequent attempts.
And the 65-year-old Portuguese described it as “a joy” to have coached the nation, who he took charge of in April 2011.
“The most important thing for me is I am so proud of this adventure, this journey with my players,” said the former Manchester United assistant, who was afforded a standing ovation after exiting his press conference at Al Ain’s Hazza bin Zayed Stadium.
“They’ve been fantastic, they deserve to be in the final for everything they have given. The most simple thing to say is copying the famous song ‘And now the end is near’ (the opening line from Sinatra’s My Way).
“I’m very happy and very proud because I did it my way. It’s just time to show my gratitude to the Iranian fans. It’s been a joy to coach this team for eight years. I wish them the best of success, they deserve it.
“I hope you know now the end is here. The important thing was I did it my way as a coach and I’m very happy.”
Know more about Sport360 Application