Japan Has No Stars, Plays as a Team: Iran’s Khakpour
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran coach Mohammad Khakpour said Japan plays together as a team in the 2016 AFC U-23 Championship.
Iran is scheduled to face Japan in Doha’s Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium in the competition’s quarters on Friday.
“The hard thing about playing the Japan team is they don’t have a star, they have a team. They play together as a team and that’s the great thing about them,” Khakpour said in the pre-match news conference.
“We have to watch them all because they don’t have one player to mark who can change the game. They are really hard workers and I believe it’s going to be a very tough game tomorrow.
“The games are so close to each other, the teams have to use whatever players they have to manage their energy, but what I see of the Japan team there are 23 players very close to each other.
“They follow the rules and play the same way, so there’s not much difference between them. Whoever will play will do the role they’re given to them and that’s the good thing for Japan.”
Iran is aiming to qualify for the Olympic Games for the first time since 1976 and has lost just once in the tournament so far, slipping to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Qataris, which came between wins over Syria and China.