Carlos Queiroz steps down as Iran boss after Asian Cup semi-final defeat by Japan

Carlos Queiroz steps down as Iran boss after Asian Cup semi-final defeat by Japan
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    Carlos Queiroz stood down after nearly eight years as Iran coach on Monday following his team's 3-0 loss to Japan in the semi-finals of the Asian Cup
    The former Real Madrid coach 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
    'I think the simplest thing to do is to copy the old song: 'and now, the end is here',' the 65-year-old Portuguese said, misquoting the song Frank Sinatra made famous
    'I'm happy and proud to say I did it my way.' Queiroz's Iran had been the form team of the tournament but their dreams of a ending a 43-year wait for a fourth continental title were left in tatters by the clinical Japanese
    Roared on by a noisy majority of the crowd, the Iranians had enjoyed the better of a competitive, if goalless, first half but were completely deflated by Osako's twin strikes and never looked like fighting their way back into the match
    While they might have had a case that Morteza Pouraliganji's arm blocked Takumi Minamino's cross accidentally for the penalty, the opening goal was down to the sort of lapse of concentration that Queiroz has warned his team against
    Minamino had made a break down the left and crumpled to the floor on the edge of the area looking for a free kick or penalty
    None was forthcoming but while defender Ehsan Hajsafi was asking the referee to book the striker for a dive, Minamino raced to retrieve the ball and crossed it from the corner flag for Osako to head home unchallenged
    It was the first goal Iran had conceded in six games at the tournament but winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh came close to equalising five minutes later with a free kick that forced a good save out of Shuichi Gonda
    The second blow landed soon afterwards when the referee pointed to the spot after the ball had struck Pouraliganji on the arm, confirming his decision following a look at the TV pictures on the sideline
    Osako sent goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand the wrong way from the spot and a fifth final in the last eight versions of the continental championship look assured, Haraguchi helping to wrap up their first win by a margin of more than one goal at the tournament
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