By Yonhap Aug 29, 2017
Iran’s national football team head coach Carlos Queiroz said Tuesday his side is not afraid of playing the World Cup qualifier this week at a stadium packed with South Korean fans.
Iran and South Korea will go head-to-head at Seoul World Cup Stadium on Thursday. Both teams are in Group A in the final Asian qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The Korea Football Association earlier said it expects some 60,000 fans at the 66,704-seat stadium, and they will boost the energy for South Korean players on the pitch. Queiroz, however, said his team will not be influenced by a big home crowd since the players are familiar with such an environment.
“I think it will be a little bit easy for us to play,” Queiroz told South Korean reporters at a hotel in western Seoul. “Usually at home, we play with 100,000, so it’s easier for us to play with 60,000.”
With two matches remaining, Iran have already affirmed their presence in the 2018 FIFA World Cup by clinching the top spot in the group with 20 points. In addition, Iran have not lost their last four encounters with South Korea, winning all matches by the score of 1-0.
“When we play against South Korea, it’s a great opportunity for us to learn and improve,” he said. “You have great players, great facilities and great coaches, so it’s an honor and privilege for us to be here.”
After arriving in South Korea on Saturday, Iran trained at an auxiliary football field near Incheon Asiad Stadium in Incheon on Sunday and moved to Paju Stadium in Paju, north of Seoul, on Monday to have another training session.
On Tuesday, Queiroz canceled the official training in Paju and had a simple exercise at a field near the team hotel. The coach is still waiting for two more players to join the national team. He has called up 24 players for their World Cup qualifiers.
“Sometimes, the best training is not training,” he said. “Our players are tired from traveling, so we decided the best thing for them is to relax and recover their energy.” (Yonhap)