AFC – TEHRAN, Islamic Republic of Iran head coach Carlos Queiroz has stressed the importance of preparing early ahead of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 in January.
Iran is in Group D alongside Iraq, Yemen and Vietnam and Queiroz said that in order to succeed in Asia’s most prestigious competition, Iran must prepare themselves to take on the best.
“We will have to play against Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and the big Asia football powers like Japan, Korea Republic and Australia in the Asian Cup. Some people think that the tournament will be easy after what we did in the FIFA World Cup, but it’s not.”
Referring to the fans’ expectations after Team Melli’s performance in Russia, Queiroz stressed the importance of paying attention to the requirements of the national team before another difficult competition.
“We will face opponents who have started their development from 30 years ago. We need the facility to prepare our team for the Asian Cup if we really want to be successful in the competition.
“Let’s talk about Japan. You will not have a good chance of beating a country which started its development 40 years ago just 15 days ahead of the competition.”
The Portuguese said Iran deserved more credit for exceeding expectations at the FIFA World Cup.
Team Melli narrowly missed reaching the Round of 16 after a 1-1 draw with Portugal in Group B left them in third place.
“I would like to thank everyone who has helped us get to this point. I want to thank everyone who’s given the ultimate sacrifice. You made the Iranian people proud and happy.”