Iran coach Carlos Queiroz is under no illusions as to how important their final FIFA World Cup friendly against Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday will be.
The Portuguese will lead Iran into their first World Cup since 2006 when they take on Nigeria in Group F on June 16.
The former Portugal and South Africa coach who was assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson for many years claims they are in good shape going into their opener against the Super Eagles.
“We will play Trinidad and Tobago to prepare ourselves for the Nigeria match. The Nigeria match is a final for us.”
If they have been unconvincing in their on-pitch build-up, their off-field goings-on have been chaotic with assistant coach Majid Salih leaving his post following their training camp in Austria.
Goalless draws with Belarus and Montenegro have done little to foster optimism among Iran fans of springing an upset in Brazil.
“It was a good camping exercises we’ve had and our players showed their commitment. I believe that the Iranian fans have to be proud of their players,” he told the Tasnim News Agency.
Iran’s World Cup campaign could be Quieroz’s final stint in charge of the national side with a renewal of his contract yet to be agreed.
However, he recently declined to comment on his own personal circumstances – instead preferring to keep the focus on his side’s preparations.
“I think it’s not time to talk about that,” Queiroz offered.
The Super Eagles will also on Saturday 11pm (local time in Nigeria) play their last pre -World Cup friendly game against USA. The game will be played at the Everbank Field in Jacksonville, Florida.