Carlos Queiroz warns Iran to be wary of Japan's 'strong points' in Asian Cup semi-final
The two sides meet on Monday at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain for a place in Friday's final
Carlos Queiroz is hoping his own personal knowledge of Japanese football can help Iran find a way past Japan in Al Ain on Monday to reach the Asian Cup final.
He managed Nagoya Grampus for 12 months between 1996 and 1997 and still affinity with the three-time winners of the competition.
The Iran manager said at his news conference on Sunday ahead of the match at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium: "I know them well. We will have to adapt and try to control their strong points. They have so many.
"We need to be ourselves no matter what happens and we must be able to say we are Iran."
Iran have impressed in their run to the semi-finals and have yet to concede a goal in five matches.
Japan's route has been less convincing, having to come from behind to beat Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in the group stages, and defeating both Saudi Arabia and Vietnam by solitary goals in the knockout stages.
But Queiroz added of his side's opponents, "I'm looking forward to a great and entertaining football match. I hope the Japanese fans forgive me because I want Iran to be the best team on the pitch tomorrow."
Queiroz and his players worked on their final tactics in training on Sunday and the Portuguese is confident his squad can reach the final for the first time since the last of their title wins in 1976.
"It is a privilege and honour to lead my team against Japan, and as much as I respect Japan, my desire is to win the Asian Cup for Iran,” said the Portuguese.
“Aside from playing Japan, for us, it’s one more game in the tournament. We must play this game with the reality against a side that has great movements on the pitch.
“However, we’ll play our own football without losing our identity. We have great team and great players, and we’ll plan how we play Japan as best as we can.”
Despite their unbeaten run to the last four, Iranian midfielder Masoud Shojaei does not believe he and his teammates have played to their full potential in the tournament thus far.
But he believes Queiroz's game plan for taking on the Japanese will allow them to do that.
“We take it game by game with the coach making all the plans and strategies,” he said.
“We have got a good team as always. We haven’t been able to carry out the plans to detail previously but this time the coach has made it easy for us with the plans and we only have to execute it on the pitch.”
Updated: January 28, 2019 08:04 AM