Iran U-23 has quality but we want the trophy: Lee Dong-Gyeong

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Tasnim – SEOUL, Lee Dong-gyeong believes that Iran is one of the good teams in the AFC U-23 Championship Thailand 2020 but the competition provides the perfect opportunity for Korea Republic to prove it is the best team on the Continent.

The East Asian has been one of the strongest teams in the competition over the years, finishing runner-up in 2016 and reaching the semi-finals in 2014 and 2018 but, despite always finishing in the top four sides, it has yet to lift the title.

Korea Republic will again begin the tournament as one of the favorites to be crowned champion and Ulsan Hyundai midfielder Lee is desperate for his country to claim a trophy that has so far eluded them.

“It’s a huge opportunity for me and my teammates, and it gives me a special feeling to represent my country at international tournaments,” said Lee.

“We have put in a lot of work to prepare and it is one of the main tournaments Korean fans are looking forward to next year. All the teams from around Asia will showcase their talents (at the AFC U-23 Championship), so it gives us the chance to prove we are the best team in Asia,” he added.

“We definitely want to win the trophy and we will do whatever we can to achieve that. We are all looking forward to it and I’ll try my best to make the Korean fans proud,” Lee said.

Korea has been paired in Group C in Thailand alongside China PR as well as the Islamic Republic of Iran and the defending champion Uzbekistan, who eliminated them in 2018.

“We will not underestimate any of our opponents but I would rather focus on what we can do rather than the teams we’re up against,” said Lee.

“China, Iran and Uzbekistan all have qualities, but if we work on our own strengths and weaknesses, I believe we can prove we are the better team, so my priority is to focus on us.

“I was able to finish top scorer in qualifying because of my teammates, who always give 100 percent and, with a little bit of luck too, I achieved something special. If we can maintain the same level of concentration and dedication that we did in the qualifiers, I’m sure we can make something special happen,” Lee concluded.

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