Iran to attend Asian Cup with boosted morale: midfielder

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-05 20:53:37|Editor: mmm
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TEHRAN, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- Iran's national soccer team will attend the 2019 AFC competitions with high confidence following a good performance at 2018 World Cup in Russia, Iran's defensive midfielder Omid Ebrahimi was quoted as saying by Tehran Times daily on Saturday.

Ebrahimi, 31, stole the show in the 2018 World Cup in Russia where Iran narrowly missed the chance to reach the knockout phase.

Iran defeated Morocco 1-0, lost to Spain 1-0 and drew 1-1 with Portugal in Russia.

Now, the 2018 World Cup has boosted their confidence for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, Ebrahimi said.

"We have a difficult task ahead because the Asian Cup has brought so many strong teams together. However, we can emerge victorious from our matches if we play as we did in the World Cup. I hope we make our people proud in the competition," Ebrahimi pointed out.

"I think Australia and Japan are the most powerful teams in this edition. Both teams have the capability of winning the title," Qatar's Al Ahli midfielder added.

Iran were knocked out of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in the penalty shootout against Iraq and Ebrahimi says it's time to get revenge on them.

"I have not forgotten the defeat and I will do my best in our match against Iraq to take revenge on them," Ebrahimi added.

Iran had a training camp in Doha for two weeks since Dec. 17.

Iran have been drawn along with Iraq, Yemen and Vietnam in Group D of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.

The competition will be held in the United Arab Emirates from January 5 to February 1. Iran will start the campaign with a match against Yemen on January 7.