Coach Felix Sanchez said that Qatar will play “hard” football in their AFC Asian Cup in their last 16 encounter with Iraq in 2007. Qatar stormed into Lebanon, North Korea and Saudi Arabia in the last 16 of the 24 teams after three wins in a row.
“We’re going to play hard,” Sanchez said in a pre-game press conference. “Our goal is to win, and to do that, we have to do our best because our opponents are strong,” the Spaniard added. “Our team is very confident. That’s like the finale. Winning the game is our goal, “said Sanchez.
“It was wonderful to see that the team won three games while it’s quality football. But now we forget those results because to make sure we win, we have to start over. We will do our best. Iraq have talented players, and to qualify for the next leg we have to win this game, “said Sanchez.
“We worked hard for a long time. We have a great group of gifted players who work as one unit. This was our method in previous games – playing as a unit and doing our best.
“We have also played strong teams in friendlies in recent games. We played against Ecuador, Switzerland, Iceland and many other teams. That gave us gameplay and the experience we needed to prepare the players, “said Sanchez.
“We had enough time to rest and be prepared for this game. It is difficult to win in all games of the championship in general, but we could achieve this because we stuck to our plans. We also want to repeat that against Iraq. We will have the same approach as all three of our rivals (in the first phase), “he added.
As for Iraq, another Arab side that defeated Saudi Arabia 2-0 in their last game, Sanchez said yesterday: “Opponents can not be selected. You play who you see. Every opponent will have a hard time. Iraq is a strong team with a superb group of players. We look forward to winning to qualify for the quarter-finals. “
Sanchez responded to Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho’s praise on Thursday after Qatar defeated Saudi Arabia: “Of course it’s nice to hear such words. We feel good to have the praise of a great coach like Mourinho. It was a great game against Saudi Arabia and we enjoyed our victory. “
Meanwhile, Qatar will play a 100 percent win in their last 16 games against Iraq, striker Ali Afif said. “It’s an important game as we will be playing a strong team in Iraq. But let me tell you, the Qatar players are ready. We beat our group and won against everyone. All players are confident, “said Afif.
“We know they are a tough team, but we are ready to put our trust in it,” he added. “Our team has a large number of young players and they have to be patient to have a promising future. “You can see the seriousness with which the players play. They play to win and to improve. That’s to their advantage as they want to play for Qatar for a long time, “he said.
At the technical level of the two teams, Afif said, “The two teams have the elements that can make a difference. That makes an interesting collision. We meet a team that did well in this tournament. “