Iran, UAE look to avoid Japan

Tehran, Jan 19, IRNA – Three-time AFC Asian Cup winners Iran will go for a win against surprise package United Arab Emirates on Monday as they try to avoid a likely quarter-final against holders Japan.
  A draw would be good enough for the UAE to top Group C, owing to their goal difference, but Team Melli need all the points to move up from second spot.

While Iran are favorites in Brisbane, UAE’s attack inspired by star playmaker Omar Abdulrahman has netted six goals in two games and attracted admiring glances, FIFA reported.

‘In my opinion we will be playing the best team in West Asia,’ said Iran’s coach Carlos Queiroz, formerly of Real Madrid, Portugal and Manchester United. ‘They have played together for many years, been together since 17 (years old). They are a beautiful team to see,’ he added.

Whichever team finishes second is likely to play either Jordan or Iraq in the quarter-finals.

‘It’s good to finish first (top) because it gives motivation to the players for the second round,’ said UAE coach Mahdi Ali. ‘(But) it doesn’t matter which team we have to play. ‘We have no problem with Japan.’

The statistics aren’t in UAE’s favor – in 15 full internationals, the Emiratis have beaten the Iranians just once and there have been three draws.

In Sydney, Qatar and Bahrain are playing only for pride and their world ranking, with both teams already out after two defeats.

On January 11, the Iranian men’s national football team has earned a hard-fought victory in the opening match at the 16th edition of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup in Australia, defeating Bahrain 2-0 on its first leg of the 16th edition of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup in Australia.

Meanwhile, on the second leg of the AFC Cup, the Iranian squad defeated Qatar 1-0 on January 15.

The Iranian men’s national football will face the UAE team on Jan 19.

The hosts have Oman, Kuwait and South Korea for company in Group A, while China was drawn in Group B with North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan.

The Islamic Republic of Iran, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE are together in Group C.

Iraq, Japan, Jordan and Palestine form Group D.

The 2015 AFC Asian Cup, known as the 16th edition of the tournament, opened in Australia on January 9, and will conclude on January 31.

The winner of the sports event will earn the right to participate in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, which is to be hosted by Russia.



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