Iran are “back to football” after the win over Wales boosted their hopes of reaching a first World Cup knockout stage, coach Carlos Queiroz has said.
They had remained silent on Monday in an apparent expression of support for anti-government protests in Iran.
“People will understand that these boys love playing football,” Queiroz said.
“It was a wonderful day for us. We are back to football. I have no words to thank the players. They were brilliant, they deserve all the attention and respect.”
Friday’s result means Iran achieve victory over United States Tuesday will see them qualify for the first time from the group stage.
“It’s only the beginning, but we have to finish the job,” added Queiroz.
When asked to deliver a message to the Iranian public after the victory, the Portuguese said: “Our players deserve to be supported. We did it for them, we did it for them. That’s the only reason we’re here is to play for the fans.”
In preparation for the match against WalesIranian striker Mehdi Taremi says the players are ‘under no pressure’ after refusing to sing the anthem ahead of the 6-2 loss to England, but he did not ask about the situation in his country.
Mass protests in Iran in recent months have been met with fierce repression.
They were prompted by the death in custody in September of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was detained by vice squad for allegedly breaking strict headgear rules.
A woman in the crowd against Wales had dark red tears painted under her eyes and held a football shirt with ‘Mahsa Amini – 22’ printed on it, while a man standing next to her had the slogan ‘ women, life, freedom” on her Top.
Human rights activists said more than 400 protesters were killed and 16,800 others arrested in a crackdown by Iranian security forces.
Iranian leaders say the protests are “riots” orchestrated by the country’s foreign enemies.