Asian Cup Will Start for Team Melli from Next Game: Carlos Queiroz
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran national football team head coach Carlos Queiroz says the 2019 AFC Asian Cup will start for Team Melli from now on.
The three-time champion sealed top spot in Group D following a 0-0 draw with Iraq on Wednesday, edging the West Asian on goal difference after both team finished on seven points.
Team Melli now awaits its Round of 16 opponents, the best third-placed team from either Group B, E or F, and Queiroz said he has to get his players ready for the business end of the competition.
“From now on, it’s a game which is everything for the winner and nothing to the loser. All the profile of the games have changed, so we can say that the Asian Cup starts for us in the next game," Queiroz.
“Now we need to rest. After these three games, it’s important to have a good rest, and start to be mentally fresh for the (next) games."
After having defeated Yemen and Vietnam with relative ease, Iran faced more formidable opponent in Iraq and Queiroz commended the 2007 champion.
"The game was intense, enthusiastic, and it was played in good spirit,” Queiroz said. “There was a lot of excitement on the pitch which was good for both teams, as well as for the fans of Iran and Iraq. I think the first half we played good football, we controlled the game and created two clear chances to score, unfortunately we didn’t."
“In the second half, we changed our strategic approach. We knew that we had to give the initiative to Iraq and counter-attack. But at the end of the day, for the commitment, the efforts and the spirit of the game, I believe the draw was a fair result," he noted.
“We expressed ourselves, created opportunities, we played good football against a very difficult team of Iraq,” the Portuguese concluded.