Dennerby eyes quarterfinal berth in AFC Asian Cup | Football News

MUMBAI: This is the first time that Iran have qualified for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup. At 70, they are the lowest-ranked team in Group A, but India are not taking Iran, nicknamed as ‘Melli Banovan,’ lightly ahead of their Women’s AFC Asian Cup opener against the West Asian team at the DY Patil Stadium on Thursday evening.
Placed in a group with China PR, Iran and Chinese Taipei, the ‘Blue Tigresses’ know that if they beat Iran first up then they’ll have a good chance of going through to the quarterfinals of the competition. A quarterfinal spot will almost ensure at least an intercontinental playoffs berth for the 2023
FIFA World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. It would give India some confidence that they had beaten Iran 1-0 in Bhubaneshwar the last time the two teams met.
At a pre-tournament virtual press conference of all the coaches and captains in India 2022 on Tuesday, India women’s team head coach Thomas Dennerby said, “We are happy with the preparations as we have been working hard for a long time. We have spent a long time working together with more than 200 sessions – tactical, technical and physical. We feel we are ready. Our target is to qualify for the quarterfinals, and we think it’s a realistic target. Our first target is to get to quarterfinals. We think we have a realistic chance to do that. Iran is going to be a real tough game. We have followed them through videos and they are really a fighting (team).”
A major strength of Iran, according to Dennerby, is their ability to defend. “They have a strong defence. They defend very well around their box. It is going to be a challenge for us to score. It is not going to be an easy game. We are hoping that with some creative and good passing game, we can break down their defence. We have a lot of players that can create chances and score goals. We have to be good all through the match.” he said.
“We’re very excited and happy to take part in the Women’s AFC Asian Cup. This is the first time that we’re participating in this tournament. We’ve trained hard. We’ll of course do our best to be successful at this level,” Iran captain Behnaz Taharkhaani said.
Five teams from the tournament will directly qualify for the 2023 women’s FIFA World Cup while another two will make it to the intercontinental playoffs. “It is a big challenge but also a big opportunity. If we qualify for the quarterfinals, we have a chance to qualify for the FIFA World Cup next year and that will be huge,” said captain Ashalata Devi.

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