Iran vs Vietnam preview

Abu Dhabi: reports

With the first match jitters safely overcome, Islamic Republic of Iran’s Saman Ghoddos says Team Melli are looking forward to locking horns with Vietnam in an AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Group D tie on Saturday.

The three-time champions opened their campaign on a high note, defeating Yemen 5-0 on Monday, but Ghoddos admitted Iran had gone into the match nervous.

“It’s not easy to play the first game in a tournament. It’s always stressful and nervous and you’re trying to do your best so sometimes the play can be a bit stiff, but we showed a good result by scoring five goals and keeping a clean sheet.

“So that’s very important and we have big confidence in the team now,” said the midfielder, who plays for Amiens SC in the French Ligue One.
Iran however, said Ghoddos, are not thinking of the title just yet despite scoring the highest win in the first round of matches.

“That’s not a thought in our minds right now, because it’s a long tournament and it’s tough games.”

“We’re just looking forward to the next game, and right now that’s Vietnam. That’s important for us, to just think about the next game and not think too many steps in front.

“To be honest I haven’t watched the other games, just to keep focused on my own game, so I don’t know the level yet,” added Ghoddos, who came on as a substitute to score Iran’s fifth goal against Yemen.

Saman Ghoddos

Iran have seen enough of Vietnam to know the Southeast Asians will be handful at the Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

“The coach and his team have analysed them and we have watched some videos. It’s a good team, all respect to them.

“However, we are going to play our game and we are not thinking so much about the other team.”

The Vietnam coach realises the magnitude of the task that lies ahead of his team but is also aware that after the slip up against Iraq, the match against Iran is a must win.

Park Hang-seo’s charges were the team in control for most of their group D opener against Iraq, and deserved at least a point for their efforts. However, a sweetly struck freekick in the dying minutes of the game left them with nothing to show for their efforts – a scenario that Hang-seo is keen to avoid a repeat of when Vietnam takes on pre-tournament favourites Iran today.

“It was disappointing as we led twice only to lose [against Iraq] but now, we must focus on Iran and getting a good result against them,” he said.

Hang-seo, who masterminded Vietnam to an impressive AFF Suzuki Cup victory just recently, spoke also of how his team cannot match up to Iran in many aspects of the game but has the mental fortitude to see a victory through.

“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.

“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,” he said.