Iran coach Carlos Queiroz said he feels they are being disrespected, on the eve of their FIFA World Cup opener against Nigeria.
The top-ranked Asian Football Confederation nation in Brazil, Iran are not expected to qualify out of Group F after a disruptive lead-up to the pinnacle tournament.
Queiroz has watched on as they had a friendly against Mozambique cancelled, while further problems arose when only 11 players reported for a training camp, and assistant Majid Salih quit his role just days out from their departure to South America.
But the former Manchester United and Real Madrid boss said it was no fluke that saw Iran qualify for the World Cup.
"Our qualification was not a lottery situation," said Queiroz, who has helped three teams qualify for a World Cup after South Africa (2002) and Portugal (2010).
"We won the right to play against the best teams in the world.
"We come here for them to notice us, to feel that we have qualified.
"In each game, we must show why we are here and must do our best with honour and pride in order to bring happiness to Iranian fans."
Queiroz said the pundits have written off Iran - who open their tournament against Nigeria in Curitiba on Monday.
"If you check the experts, the commentators, the newspapers and magazines, nobody talks about Iran," he said.
"When they talk about our group, it appears there are only three teams in it."
The Portuguese boss said regardless of their standing, he only demanded his team - captained by former Osasuna midfielder Javad Nekounam - left everything out on the park.
"The purpose that we have is the same: to compete against the best teams in the world and I believe my players have made history over the past three years in terms of the hurdles we have overcome," he said.
"Now is the time to fight and play with heart and soul; with our strengths and weaknesses. It is time to be us, to be Iran, for better or worse.
"My only demand is that when the games finish, I want them back in the dressing room with their heads held high. That, for me, is what matters most."
Experienced defender Jalal Hosseini said one of Queiroz's methods of inspiration was unique, as he tasked his players to carry around a tennis ball marked with the acronym 'TESGR'.
"T is for team purpose. E for enjoyment, S is sacrifice, G is for goals and R is responsibility," Hosseini said.
"The coach says these are all things we need to remember for the good of the team.
"We must carry the ball always and have full concentration and focus on these things at all times."
|Coach: Carlos Queiroz|
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