Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took to Twitter on Tuesday to praise his country’s 0-0 draw with Nigeria, after a lacklustre football World Cup opener for Team Melli in Brazil.
“Proud of our boys who secured our first point — hopefully the first of many more to come,” Rouhani tweeted on his English-language account, alongside a picture of him in tracksuit bottoms and a sports shirt adorned with the national flag.
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 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.