Few Hours after Nigeria’s Super Eagles played out 0-0 draw against Iran at the ongoing 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took to Twitter on Tuesday to praise his players.
Many football analysts have described the Nigeria versus Iran’s match as a lacklustre performance as all matches played prior to the encounter had produced at least a goal.
However, President Rouhani tweeted on his English-language account, alongside a picture of him in tracksuit bottoms and a sports shirt adorned with the national flag: “Proud of our boys who secured our first point — hopefully the first of many more to come.”
It was a rare casual image of the president, who is normally seen in a formal robe and white turban, sitting alone on a sofa watching the match on television with a glass of tea and some pistachios.
Rouhani’s optimistic take on the match was at odds with supporters in Curitba, who booed Iran off the pitch after a defensive performance.
However coach Carlos Queiroz said the crowd had to be realistic about what his side could achieve.
“The spectators maybe didn’t see it this way, but in football when you play with attitude, soul, emotions, tension it can also be an attractive game and that is what happened,” said the former Real Madrid boss.
* Iranian President Rouhani
Iranian media also circulated pictures of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his nuclear negotiating team watching the match in Vienna, where the Islamic republic is in talks with world powers.
Speaking after the match, coach Stephen Keshi of Nigeria blamed the Iranians defensive tactics for his team’s inability to score goals during the tie.
Both Nigeria and Iran would hope to secure full three points when they take on Bosnia-Herzegovina and Argentina respectively in their next matches.
Argentina currently sits atop group F after they defeated Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-1 in their first match on Sunday night. Iran is in second place followed by Nigeria while the only European team in the group is placed last.