Bangkok, 18 June 2023 - Confidence is high in the Islamic Republic of Iran camp as they prepare to play Qatar on Monday in their second AFC U17 Asian Cup™ Thailand 2023 Group B match.
The Central Asians swept to an impressive 6-1 win against Afghanistan on Friday and head coach Hossein Abdi wants his players to ride on the momentum and positive mindset that resulted from the performance.
“The first match is very important in any competition and now that we have finished it, we can think about the second match,” said Abdi.
“When you get a win, you can then recover well and be inspired for the next match. You can train, sleep and eat with confidence. Recovery also has a mental aspect; if you had lost, you cannot recover well… when you finish with three points and lots of goals, (it helps you) for the next match.”
The win marked the first time that Iran have scored six times in one match in the history of the tournament, and another win against Qatar will surely seal progress from the group stage for the first time since 2016.
Abdi was also pleased with the performance of his substitutes, who slotted in seamlessly into the match and continued to create chances, with two of them - Alireza Homaeifard and Reza Ghandi Pour - combining to score the sixth.
“We will be changing some players (for the next match),” he said. “Everyone can go on and play to the same (level) as a substitute; all the players have different talents and styles, and this is very good for me. I went to all the cities (in Iran) to find talent and I am very lucky to find these players.”
It is do-or-die for Qatar, who know that anything other than a win will likely see them eliminated from a competition they won in 1990.
Head coach Ibrahim Mohamud Shafie had declared prior to their first match against Korea Republic that the aim was to go all the way again, but a 6-1 humbling at the Pathum Thani Stadium has left them with a mountain to climb.
However, the 54-year-old insisted that his side are more than capable of bouncing back at the Rajamangala Stadium to revive their knockout round hopes.
“Although they may be feeling a bit down, I have full trust in them and believe they have the ability to make a comeback,” Shafie said.
“The boys are understandably upset, but their behaviour after the game shows that there are positive aspects to take away from this match, and I'm confident they will bounce back.
“The dressing room is filled with a positive mental attitude, and I have complete faith in my players to achieve success against Iran.”