Iran face Japan in Asian Cup semifinals

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The semi-final defeat was Queiroz's 100th match in charge of Iran and he leaves having become the country's longest-serving coach.

Japan's midfielder Genki Haraguchi (R) is congratulated for his goal during the 2019 AFC Asian Cup semi-final football match between Iran and Japan at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on January 28, 2019. "And gratitude you to all the Iranian fans", Queiroz posted on his Instagram account.

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz warned of toothy predators after reaching the Asian Cup semi-finals, but the shock exits of South Korea and Australia suddenly make Team Melli clear title favourites.

At that point the match was largely over and Genki Haraguchi added a third to seal the result in the 91st minute.

"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.

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"It's over, and I'm happy and proud to say I did it my way", said the former Real Madrid boss, "I want to express the gratitude from my heart and soul to my players, for their dedication in all these years".

But a new-look Japan side will be no pushovers as they look to extend their 10-game unbeaten run under Hajime Moriyasu.

"When we came to the tournament we knew every match would be hard", Moriyasu said in Al Ain on Sunday, as the four-time winners prepare to take on Asia's top-ranked team.

He headed in the first in the 56th minute, and converted from the penalty spot 11 minutes later after VAR confirmed Iran defender Morteza Pouraliganji's handball in the area.

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. Hossein Kanani ignored the basic rule of "play to the whistle" when he began protesting to the referee after a collision with Minamino, who took full advantage to scamper after the ball and cross to Osako to head home.

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"It was very competitive, quite balanced game, until one error by my team, a naive error".

"That moment created an emotional breakdown for my team and after that, there was only one team on the pitch".

Iran, who won the last of their three titles in 1976, have also dealt with injuries and AFC warnings over government interference as they bid to end their 43-year drought.

And the Iranians have no one but themselves to blame for conceding the goal.

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