Iran cruise into Asian Cup Quarter Finals for a juicy encounter with an old rival
So it is done. Team Melli cruised past United Arab Emirates today and left behind the group stage of the Asian Cup tournament with an unblemished record.
The coaching staff’s wise and somewhat daring decision to field a team of reserves against UAE paid off handsomely. Younger players like Arash Afshin showed a lot of incentive and veterans like Mohsen Bengar proved that they can be very reliable options coming off the bench. Midfielder Anderanik Teimourian showed how effective he can be if he is used in the right role for the right game. And while we are at it, can someone tell me why Gholamreza Rezaei is not playing in Europe?
Team Melli won a very satisfying victory today, but one of the characteristics of these short tournaments is that they leave a very short time for celebration. You win; you celebrate on the field, and walk off it thinking about your next opponent.
Next stands on Team Melli’s path a very familiar rival, Korea Republic.
Iran and Korea have won five Asian titles between them with Iran winning three of the lot. South Koreans want nothing more than joining the triple winners’ club of Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Japan. Iran on the other hand has not won the title since 1976 and their thirst for glory is not any less than that of the Koreans.
Four years ago, in Kuala Lumpur at the exact same stage these two teams met and the Koreans edged Iran in a penalty shootout. So Iran may have an extra incentive going into Saturday’s match, but it is very difficult to predict what the Gods’ of football may have in store for them.
Iranian fans, young and old, know the Korean team real well and have a great deal of respect for them. Having spoken to many Korean fans over the years, I know that the feeling is mutual.
Over the years these two nations have had many memorable matches. Considering the history between them and the prize, it is safe to assume that on Saturday both teams will be taking on the field with one and only one purpose, to play a good game and earn a pass to the semi-finals.
So tighten your seatbelts football fans and enjoy the ride. This will be a very entertaining match, one that we may be talking about for years to come.
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Posted from United States
Well, I reckon Iran will beat S Korea if they can avoid letting in goals in the first 10-15 minutes.
They seem at sixes and sevens in those first few minutes which can be very costly.
Also Ghotbi should not be shy about leaving Nekonam and Shojaie on the bench and use Khatatbari and Haddadifar. I think Farshid Talebi will also be a better choice in defence.
Posted from Singapore
I tend to agree with you on your first point. Regarding Shojaei, I also agree that he has not had a good tournament, but I differ with you on Nekounam.
About Talebi, I just have not seen him often enough to be able to have an opinion.
Also, I agree that Khalatbari is too good to be left on the bench. The kid is a fighter. I love that about him.
I am also getting to like Mohammad Nouri.
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