January 12 – Carlos Queiroz and Iran will not take Vietnam lightly as the sky-high favourites in the Asian Cup 2019 seek three points and qualification from Group D.
The Vietnamese went down to Srecko Katanec’s Iraq in their opening game, but their pace and movement had the Iraqis on the ropes for spells during the match. Naive defending let Vietnam down and they eventually fell to a 3-2 defeat, but Iran’s coach Carlos Queiroz is not underestimating Vietnam.
“This is a team that has played 13 matches since October. They won the AFF Cup and this shows how seriously Vietnam are about doing well in the Asian Cup,” explained Queiroz. “Iran will never make the mistake of underestimating them because that is not how we are built.”
“I had seen Vietnam’s matches in the buildup to the tournament and I thought they were a good side but after watching their performance against Iraq, I have to say they are a very good side.
“They faced Iraq, one of the favourites to win the AFC Asian Cup, and for 90 minutes, Vietnam gave the match their all. They led twice and, despite football not being about being fair, I must say that they deserved, at least, a draw.”
Carlos Queiroz preached the values of his team. He has been Iran’s boss since 2011 and during his tenure Iran have become Asia’s strongest team. They mercilessly crushed Yemen 5-0 and even though Vietnam won’t roll over that easily, Iran will still be expected to win comfortably.
“We are not an arrogant team and as the leader of my team, I always like to share fundamental values with my players. The foundation is always to respect teams. It doesn’t matter who the opponents are as it is always the same value of respecting them.”
The Vietnamese will be up against it, but their coach Park Hang-seo is counting on his team’s own strengths to get a result. They will play Yemen in their final group game, but need a point at least from the game against Iran to maintain a realistic chance of progress to the last sixteen.
“We will be playing the strongest team in Asia tomorrow,” said Park. “They are technically, tactically and physically better than us but having said that, we will play to our strengths to get the desired result. It will be very hard for us as Iran are a highly experienced side but my players have got strong mental strength and I believe we can overcome Iran.”
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1580196306labto1580196306ofdlr1580196306owedi1580196306sni@o1580196306fni1580196306