April 13, 2024
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TT – TEHRAN,  Iran national football team head coach Amir Ghalenoei says that what is important now is to beat Qatar and reach the final of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.

The semifinal match will be held at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha on Wednesday.

“We know that tomorrow’s match is very important. All that we did until now is to reach the final match,” said Ghalehnoei. “I told the players to forget the Japan match, what is important now is to beat Qatar and reach the final. We know they are a good team, the defending champions and have spent a lot to improve the team.

“Sometimes you have bad performances, sometimes you have good performances but we’ve only had good performances so far. Even against Japan, we didn’t concede a lot of chances.

“We may make changes for the game but the level of the team is almost the same, so the quality of the starting XI will not be affected. Tactics that we make in every match, 70%-80% are related to the strength of our team and the balance related to the opponent,” he added.

Iran hold an impeccable recent record against Qatar, winning all six matches in all competitions dating back to 2013 but the 60-year-old tactician doesn’t want complacency setting into his team.

In fact, Ghalehnoei is demanding that his players do more than they did when they knocked Japan out as Iran look to reach their first AFC Asian Cup final since 1976.

“Qatar reaching this stage means they are high quality. We cannot keep looking at the Japan result and think that will take us through.

“We have to be more concentrated, show more quality and cover more distance. With all that, I hope that we can reach the final for the first time in a long time.