Aguirre warns of tougher tests to come

Jan 20, 2015 - 6:45 PM A third straight win and clean sheet has Japan poised nicely as the Asian Cup enters the knock-out phase.

The tournament favourites eased past Jordan 2-0 with a seemingly effortless display - despite coach Javier Aguirre calling it a "very tough" match.

The statistics told a different story - with Japan making 564 passes to just 265 and nullifying Jordan's goal threat.

Jordan boss Ray Wilkins was effusive of Japan's potential as the field whittled down to the last eight.

"Any side that beats them may well win the tournament," he said.

"Tactically they are exceptional.

"They have a fantastic mixture of youth and experience.

"Everything is good about the Japanese."

Aguirre, who has also managed the Mexican national side and Spanish club sides, said Japan had no more chance of lifting the trophy than any other side.

"From my experience coaching in Copa America, World Cup and Gold Cup, I can say that our chances are the same as the other remaining seven teams," he said.

"We start from zero from now.

"We must fight 90 minutes in every game."

Japan's successful group stage pits them against United Arab Emirates in the quarter-finals.

While Japan will start warm favourites against UAE, their afro-sporting playmaker Omar Abdulrahman is likely to provide a threat unlike those faced so far.

Aguirre was wise to Abdulrahman's talents but said he would not receive special treatment.

"I've watched the games of the UAE and I think he's a wonderful player," he said.

"One player can not win a game... we have to take care of him as well as the other players."

Aguirre urged his players to maintain their discipline as the challenge increases.

"Difficult games are waiting for us but we hope to continue with zero goals against," he said.


South Korea v Uzbekistan - 22 January, Melbourne

China v Australia - 22 January, Brisbane

Iran v Iraq - 23 January, Canberra

Japan v United Arab Emirates - 23 January, Sydney

Source: AAP

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