April 16, 2024

Iran and Japan are main favorites to win title: Philippe Troussier

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TehranTimes – TEHRAN, Philippe Troussier, head coach of Vietnam football national team, says that Japan and Iran are the main favorites to win the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.

Known as a great coach in the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, he achieved championship glory in 2000 with Japan and is considered a significant figure in the country’s football history. With nearly five years in Vietnamese football, starting with the U19 team, then the U23 team, and now the senior national team, he is building a new philosophy in this country’s football.

In their first game against Japan, despite a heroic display, his team ultimately suffered a 4-2 loss due to the inexperience of his players.

During the press conference before the match against Indonesia, Troussier spoke about the teams he considers contenders for the championship now that the first round of the group stage of the Asian Cup has ended.

“I’ll answer your question by saying that the first games of teams in any tournament are always challenging, as we have seen in the World Cup and many other tournaments,” he said.

“You may remember that in the 2000 AFC Asian Cup, when I was head coach of Japan national team, we defeated Saudi Arabia 4-1 in the opening game but faced them again in the final!

“So, I prefer not to give my opinion based on the first game of teams in this tournament. Instead, I look at the results teams achieved in competitions like the World Cup qualifiers or their friendly matches in the past year. In that case, teams like Japan, Iran, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia are undoubtedly among the top four teams and the main favorites of the tournament.

“Iran and Japan have a strong presence in the tournament, with exceptional players. They are undoubtedly the main powers. Also, there are teams that can create big surprises, like Uzbekistan,” the Frenchman added.

“But if I have to choose one, considering that I have worked in Japan, I prefer to say that Japan have the biggest chance for the championship. I say this due to the performance they have had in the last four or five years, especially since Hajime Moriyasu came to the team as the head coach,” the 68-year-old manager said.

“He has been good in the Olympics and performed well in the World Cup, but at the end of the day, they haven’t won any tournaments. I think Mr. Moriyasu deserves to win a cup to confirm his excellent performance. That’s why I say Japan is the main contender for the championship,” Troussier concluded.