Doha, 31 January 2024 - The coach of the Bahrain national team, Juan Antonio Pizzi, confirmed that the large disparities between the Japanese and Bahrain national teams were the reason for their loss, Wednesday, by 3-1, in the round of 16 of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023, at Al Thumama Stadium.
He revealed in the post-match press conference, that even though Bahrain faced a superior team in terms of experience both on an individual and team level, it was an equal to Japan at some times of the game both in the start or when the difference in score was reduced to one goal.
Pizzi pointed out that the start was perfect with great courage shown by his players, but things did not go as they wanted after conceding the first goal, then the second in the second half. However, he praised his team's reaction when they scored, but the Japanese team's experience along with the stability of playing under the same coach for five years helped them regain control in the last moments of the match.
The coach referred to the similarity of the level of all the players of the Japanese national team, the fact they play in major European leagues and their experience, which are factors that favored them, indicating his satisfaction with the level of the Bahrain team both in the match against Japan and in the tournament in general.
Regarding Bahrain's participation in the tournament after being eliminated from the final eight, the Argentine coach confirmed that the Bahrain team has had strong experiences in the continental tournament, and played against high-level teams like Japan and before that South Korea in the group stage,. He noted that he can notice the great acceptance of the players for the strategy adopted, which indicates that the development of the Bahrain team is achieved gradually.
The coach stressed that what is more important than fighting these strong battles and matches in the continental tournament is to learn and benefit from these experiences in order to develop the level in the upcoming events, indicating that the Bahrain national team players will benefit from the matches they played in the tournament in order to prepare well for the qualifying journey of the joint qualification for the 2026 FIFA World Cup and 2027 AFC Asian Cup.