Carlos Queiroz, one of the most decorated managers of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, has praised the Blue Tigers after their emphatic 4-1 victory over Thailand at the tournament opening.
A support from Sunil Chhetri and one each from Anirudh Thapa and substitute Jeje Lalpekhlua saw the Blue Tigers at the head of Group A.
Queiroz, the Portuguese coach who was the longest-serving coach of the Iranian national team, felt that India has improved enormously in recent years. “It’s been a completely different team since we played them, I saw you guys playing recently and the India team has made great progress,” he said.
Queiroz referred to qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 when Team Melli made two comfortable wins (3: 0 in Bengaluru and 4: 0 in Tehran) over the Blue Tigers to claim their place in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 to consolidate the next round of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup.
“It’s a brilliant win and a very good performance, and I want to congratulate not only Coach Constantine but the entire team and supporters, which was a fantastic result for the team,” he added.
“Playing in the first Asian Cup match just shows that you are heading in the right direction. “The 23-member India squad, made up of no fewer than nine U-23 players, is the second youngest team in this edition of the AFC Asian Cup to Vietnam.
The Portuguese coach, who led three countries (South Africa 2002, Portugal 2010, Iran 2014 and 2018) to the FIFA World Cup, said: “I think it’s the right thing to do, if we have to prepare the team for the World Cup in the future Do not do it without the fresh legs.
“If you’re trying to bring the national team forward, you need to think about the present and take care of the future, and if you do not, you’ll just stagnate. “The next game in India will take place on January 10 at 9:30 pm at Zayed Sports City Stadium.