|Monday, 14 May 2012 09:39
|Dubai: Iran coach Akbar Mohammadi Argi has said that Japan are the formidable opponents in Group A but other teams are also capable to give them a good fight in the AFC U-19 Championship to be held later this year.
Speaking to www.the-afc.com after the draw held on Sunday, Argi highlighted the qualities of all 16 participating nations.
If you look at the profiles, Japan appear to be a tough nut to crack but so are the other opponents in Group A as well as all the other participating nations. You cannot say or predict anything since they qualified to the tournament proper and specially in an age-group competition any one can be the favourites, said Argi.
Our main goal is to qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup finals in Turkey and since we will play countries like Japan, UAE in the group stages and may face Korea Republic or Thailand in the quarters, we will play countries from East to West and they will give us invaluable exposures and experiences.
Iran are pitted in a difficult Group A against Japan, Kuwait and 2008 champions and hosts UAE. As usual we will prepare our best and we are already working on it. We had a good visit to Russia with this squad and also played a friendly match with the UAE which we won 8-2. But friendlies are a different ball game than the real competitions, he said.
Iran will open their campaign with the heavyweight encounter against Japan on November 3 followed by another big game against the hosts two days later. They wrap up their group campaign on November 7 against Kuwait.
The top-four team of the AFC U-19 Championship will qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup to be held in 2013 in Turkey.
|Monday, 14 May 2012 16:42
|Dubai: Japan coach Yasushi Yoshida has made it clear that to win the AFC U-19 Championship, Japan have to perform well because of the footballing growth of the Asian nations in the previous couple of years.
Japan will be facing 2008 champions and hosts UAE alongside powerhouse Iran and Kuwait in the championship - a passage for the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2013 in Turkey. The top four teams of the AFC U-19 Championship will qualify for the World Cup directly.
It wont be easy. Over the past few years Asian football has seen a sea-change in terms of quality and especially in age-group football its anybodys game, Yoshida told the-afc.com.
You cannot put a tag of strong to any 16 teams featuring in the competition as all have the capability to win matches against any other opponent, he added.
We always have the same principles when we go for the competitions: prepare well, perform well and get good results.
Japan begin their campaign with a clash against heavyweight Iran on November 3 and two days later face Kuwait before wrapping up their group campaign against hosts UAE on November 7.