AFC Asian Cup 2019: Iran confident of finishing well, assures Queiroz
At the AFC Asian Cup 2019, no team can be considered a pushover. While the Indian team is busy sweating out on their strategy against Thailand for their opener on Sunday (January 6), the best-ranked team in the tournament — Iran — isn’t taking anyone lightly.
Speaking to Sportskeeda on the sidelines of their training in Abu Dhabi, Team Melli head coach Carlos Queiroz stressed that it would be the biggest mistake they commit if they consider any of their opponents a pushover at the Asian Cup.
“I know we are in a good position when we talk about the (FIFA) rankings. But tell me one thing, who many teams from the top 5, as per the rankings, reached the World Cup final in Russia? What counts is what you’re able to do on the day, on the pitch,” said Queiroz.
He would be overseeing Iran, ranked 29th in the world, for the one last time at the Asian Cup.
The Iranian side has been together for over three weeks now with a camp in Qatar before they headed for UAE last week. And Queiroz sounded confident of his side’s chances here.
“We are in the final phase of our preparations. We are in the taxiway and moving toward the runway. We want to ensure that everything is fresh and ready when we take off on Monday (January 7). The team is completely focusing on the first game against Yemen. Right now, that’s all that matters for us. We respect them, and we know that even they come with an ambition to qualify. We want to have a good start to the competition."
“It’s been a long journey for us. And inshallah, we will play as many games as possible here at the Asian Cup. But it’s important to have a good start, but moreover, this is not about how we start. It’s about how we finish. But every big achievement starts with a small step and that we need to be consistent going forward too. We must be ready, in our journey, to face some wonderful moments and also moments that won’t be that easy. We need to be mentally tough here.”
Ranked best in Asia and with a squad that can give the best in business a run of their money, many are already considering Asian Cup 2019 to be Iran’s title to lose. While their experienced defender Pejman Montazeri lashed out on such comments a few days back, Queiroz chose to focus on the job at hand.
“Sitting at home and making comments is an easy job. You cannot win trophies without winning games, and you cannot have a winning run of you don’t win the first game and then the second and so on. No matter what happens at the competition later, right now it’s all about the first game. And this is where we should have our minds on right now,” said the Portuguese tactician.