Iranian soccer coach Carlos Queiroz says he believes his players have been brought closer together by Nike's decision not to supply the team with athletic shoes or a World Cup kit because of looming U.S. sanctions against Iran.
"It has been a source of inspiration for us," Queiroz told Sky Sports on June 13.
Nike explained its decision to stop supplying Iran's soccer team in a statement last week, saying "U.S. sanctions mean that, as a U.S. company, Nike cannot supply shoes to players in the Iranian national team at this time."
Nike's move reportedly forced some Iranian players to buy their own footwear from shops in Russia, which is hosting the World Cup, or even ask club teammates for help.
Queiroz expressed frustration when Nike announced its decision.
"Players get used to their sports equipment, and it's not right to change them a week before such important matches," ESPN quoted Queiroz as saying.
On June 13, Queiroz called on Nike to apologize to his team.
"They should come out and apologize, because this arrogant conduct against 23 boys is absolutely ridiculous and unnecessary," he told Sky Sports.
Queiroz also took issue with Nike's statement about the move, saying it was "unnecessary" as "everybody is aware about the sanctions."