Iran looking forward to Vietnam challenge

Abu Dhabi: Park Hang-seo’s Vietnam will face the Continent’s top ranked team on Saturday in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 and it is a Group D match the Southeast Asian side are relishing.
The recently-crowned AFF Cup champions may have among the youngest squads in the AFC Asian Cup but that, promised Park, won’t stop them from giving Carlos Queiroz’s Iran a tough fight.
And Iran, said Queiroz, expect that from a side the Team Melli head coach is highly impressed with.
“We will be playing the strongest team in Asia tomorrow. They are technically, tactically and physically better than us but having said that, we will play to our strengths to get the desired result,” said Park.
“It will be very hard for us as Iran are a highly experienced side but my players have got strong mental strength and I believe we can overcome Iran.”
Vietnam, added Park, have forgotten about their heartbreak against Iraq, which saw them conceding a late goal as they fell 3-2 to the West Asians in their opening Group D tie. “It was disappointing as we led twice only to lose but now, we must focus on Iran and getting a good result against them.”
Queiroz did not hide his admiration for Vietnam, saying he found them even more impressive after watching their match against Iraq.
“I had seen Vietnam’s matches in the buildup to the tournament and I thought they were a good side but after watching their performance against Iraq, I have to say they are a very good side,” said Queiroz.
“They faced Iraq, one of the favourites to win the AFC Asian Cup, and for 90 minutes, Vietnam gave the match their all. They led twice and, despite football not being about being fair, I must say that they deserved, at least, a draw.
“I am not surprised as I know about the Vietnam head coach (Park Hang-seo). He is a good coach and he has good players.”
This, insisted Queiroz, is why Iran will not take Vietnam lightly.
“This is a team that has played 13 matches since October. They won the AFF Cup and this shows how serious Vietnam are about doing well in the Asian Cup.
“Iran will never make the mistake of underestimating them because that is not how we are built.”
Queiroz explained that in his eight years with Team Melli, he had instilled values in the squad which were very dear to him.
“We are not an arrogant team and as the leader of my team, I always like to share fundamental values with my players. The foundation is always to respect teams.
“It doesn’t mattter who the opponents are as it is always the same value of respecting them.”
Iran, said Queiroz, will face Vietnam with the focus and drive that has made them what they are.
“We are going into this game with our normal attitude, which is to win. It will be the same approach Vietnam take and having watched them play against Iraq, we will start fully alert as we know they can hurt us.
“Having said that, it is our responsibility to qualify for the next round and that is exactly what we will try to do.”