Bring on South Korea, say Team Melli boys
The early pre-match news out of Qatar indicated that Iran Coach Afshin Ghotbi is planning to start the reserves for the match against UAE.
Ghotbi told reporters that his aim is to not only keep his players fresh and fit for Saturday’s showdown against Korea Republic, but also involve everyone in the 23 man squad and give them an opportunity to share the responsibility.
This is an excellent idea. It gives the starters a chance to rest their tired legs, heal the knocks from the first two matches, and have some fun watching their teammates get a good workout.
Meanwhile a few of the regular starters had a chance to speak with reporters.
Midfielder Anderanik Teimourian admitted that he would have preferred facing Australia in the Quarter Finals, but he sounded confident about their chancess against Korea Republic as well. He even went as far as suggesting that the Iranian media had made the Korean threat bigger than it really is.
Defender Mohammad Nosrati too admitted that Korea Republic were a stronger side than Australia, but he went on to say that all championship hopefuls must be prepared to go through strong oppositions, and that is what Team Melli boys was prepared to do.
Striker Mohammadreza Khalatbari echoed his teammates in praising the South Koreans, but he gave Team Melli the edge in advance of their Quarter Final encounter.
Going back to the match at hand, Coach Afshin Ghotbi refused to label his starting lineup against UAE “reserves”.
“We do not have a first, second, or third team”, said the coach. “We have one team, and I will use players who will give us the best chance to win three points against UAE”.
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