Doha, 6 February 2024 - Coach of Qatar's national team Marquez Lopez said that his team is driven to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 final and defend its title regardless of the difficulty of Wednesday's match against Iran.
In a pre-match press conference, Lopez said that having played five matches in the tournament, the players of the team are dealing with stress and exhaustion which will make the match against Iran even more challenging, but they still aim to play strongly and with focus.
The coach sees that the semi-final match against Iran is set to be the most difficult in their AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 journey.
With only one step remaining to reach the final match, Lopez affirmed that the players of the Qatari team would go into the game with great motivation to make history and win the title for the second time in a row.
He acknowledged the difficulty of this task, especially since Iran has not won the Asian Cup title for a long time and is eager to win as well.
Lopez is aware of Iran's strong offensive play and said that his team will try to combat it through a plan that is flexible depending on the course of the match.
The Qatari team aims to avoid going into penalty shootouts and will bring all they have during the match, the coach stressed.
Lopez expressed his satisfaction with what the Qatari team has achieved in the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 and the players' performances especially since he took over his role shortly before the start of the tournament.
Even if the team does not manage to qualify for the final, Lopez does not consider this a failure since the team has managed to reach the semi-final for the second time in a row.
Tarek Salman, Qatar's team player, also stated that Wednesday's match against Iran is sure to be difficult notably because of the players' state of fatigue and the lack of time to prepare and recover after playing five consecutive matches.
He also noted the strength of the Iranian team which has players that play in European leagues.
Regardless of this, he affirmed that the team has a positive mindsight going into the match and would give their best efforts and be focused as they strive to qualify for the final and win the title for the second time.