Iran not betting on history against Iraq

Jan 22, 2015 - 8:05 AM Iran will take on Iraq for an Asian Cup semi-final spot in Canberra Stadium on Friday in a match full of subplots and tension given the nations' complex shared history.

But it's football history that has Iran coach Carlos Queiroz wary.

Iran have won their last four meetings against Iraq, right up to a 1-0 pre-tournament friendly victory in Wollongong on January 4.

Queiroz is not confident his side's steady track record of wins will guarantee his highest-ranked Asian team a spot in the semis.

That's because Iraq have the advantage of a well-honed tournament preparation, with 10 matches under their belt, against Iran's two, he said.

The result of Iraq's preparation was evident as they conceded only one goal against Asian Cup favourites Japan in Brisbane in the group stage.

"We know we are going to face a very difficult team to beat," Queiroz told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

"We must be sure that we don't undermine the value of the Iraqi team.

"We respect them a lot, and we need to be on top of our best skills (set), our best performance, to be able to beat them."

Queiroz said he's studied his rivals meticulously and knows the players are dangerous both in attack and defence.

"We know in a quarter-final there are no favourites," he said.

Iraq, meanwhile, are hoping for a resurgence of their 2007 glory days - when they beat the odds with a sensational campaign to emerge as Asian Cup champions.

Coach Rahdi Shenaishil Swadi said his men would bring added experience having now played against some of the top Asian teams in the group stages.

But they will enter Friday's knock-out without sufficient time for training after rain left them with only one day of tactical preparations.

"It's not fair to have one day less," he said.

"But that doesn't mean we can't get a result."

Besides a win, if there's one thing both coaches are hoping for, it's to keep tensions off the field.

Swadi doesn't want to see any unnecessarily aggressive tackling, just "quality" performances.

"Now we're in the quarter-finals we want to give the right impression of the quality of football in Asia."

Queiroz has already prepped his men about controlling emotions: stay focused.

"As I said to my boys this morning, `Everything for the winner, nothing for the loser'," he said.

"We know what to do: fight, play and enjoy the game."


Friday, Canberra 5.30pm local kickoff

FIFA ranking: Iran 51 Iraq 103

Ranking within Asia: Iran 1 Iraq 12

Head-to-head: Played 20 Iran 12 wins 4 draws 4 losses

Path to quarter-final: Iran: bt Bahrain 2-0, bt Qatar 1-0, bt UAE 1-0; Iraq: bt Jordan 1-0, lost to Japan 0-1, bt Palestine 2-0

Betting (TAB Sportsbet): Iran $1.70 Iraq $4.50

Source: AAP

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