MNA – Iranian legendary football player Ali Daei believes that Iran and Japan are the most likely contenders to reach the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 final.
“I think Japan are the favorites to become champions but I also think our team is at a good level and ready to perform well and I hope we can reach the final,” said Daei, the official website of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) reported on Sunday.
“Japan showed at the World Cup that they can play great football and they have improved a lot. So, I think Iran and Japan, if they don’t happen to face each other in earlier stages, have the highest chance to play the final against each other.”
“Our side has really progressed in the past two or three years. The players have been together for a long time so there is a good understanding between them.”
Daei also praised the attacking talents of Team Melli, noting that Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Saman Ghoddos, Mehdi Taremi, and Sardar Azmoun can be among key players of Iran in the event.
The Iranian legend is the tournament’s record goalscorer, having found the back of the net 14 times over three editions, yet the former striker never lifted the trophy for his country, whose wait for the title stretches back to 1976.
Team Melli will depart for Doha to hold a training camp and play three friendly matches against Palestine, Lebanon, and Qatar.
Iran is one of the most successful teams at the AFC Asian Cup, with three titles to their name, but it has now been for than 40 years since they were last crowned champions, after winning three successive tournaments between 1968 and 1976.