Tasnim – ABU DHABI, Iran’s international winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh says the fans have big expectation from Team Melli at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
The three-time former champion has not triumphed since 1976 but is strongly fancied after drawing with Portugal and running Spain close in the World Cup finals group stages in Russia last summer.
“The Asian Cup is big for us. Yes we made the world Cup finals for the past two tournaments, for the first time in our history, and of course it was nice for the people and a great experience for the players to be facing Spain and Portugal, but the Asia Cup is different,” Jahanbakhsh told theargus.co.uk.
“We have been the top ranked team in Asia for the past two or three years so there is a big expectation on us – and we will have a lot of Iranian fans coming to the UAE to watch us.
“We are ranked one and we have to show it. It’s also important because we haven’t been champion of this competition for many years.
Jahanbakhsh, Albion’s £17 million record buy from AZ Alkmaar in Holland last summer, is one of Iran’s biggest stars in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in the UAE.