Carreno warns of ‘surprises’ as Qatar, Iran square off in Tehran

 01 Sep 2016 - 0:00

Carreno warns of ‘surprises’ as Qatar, Iran square off in Tehran

 

By Fawad Hussain

DOHA/TEHRAN: Hosts Iran, who will be relying on the support of 60,000 screaming fans on home turf at Azadi Stadium, are set to enter their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match as favourites against Qatar today. 
But Qatar coach Daniel Carreno is unruffled ahead of today’s clash. 
The experienced Uruguayan coach has ‘warned’ the home side of ‘surprises’ as the two teams aim to reach the World Cup to be held in Russia in 2018.
Qatar have already proved their mettle in earlier rounds including a near-perfect show in the second round where they won seven out of eight games.           
Carreno is hoping for more stride from his players despite of the fact that his boys are up to a tougher challenge in this round, where top Asian sides are targeting berths for Russia.   
Iran are the top-ranked Asian side in the group and importantly hold a better record against the FIFA World Cup 2022 hosts.  In five previous matches between the two sides, Iran have won two matches while the rest ended without yielding results.
But, Carreno is unperturbed despite a winless record against Iran and insists his team will be a surprise package in the qualifying campaign.
“We are united; the coaching staff, players, everyone is prepared for success,” the Qatari coach said on the eve of the clash in Tehran, yesterday.
“We will play our first match in the third qualifying round. Our first match is against the highest-ranked team in Asia and we have had plenty of time for analysis of Iran. We are prepared and know that Iran are the favourites to qualify. We will try to achieve a good result in the match,”
“If Iran beat us tomorrow (today) it will be due to their quality of playing not because of any lack of unity among us. And if we beat Iran it will be due to Qatar’s qualities. We have a good chance to reach the World Cup finals. We know that Iran is the better ranked team but there are surprises in football. We will be one of those surprises,” the Qatari coach added.
Carlos Queiroz, Iran’s coach is aware of a tough challenge from the Al Anabi despite having a home advantage.   
“Qatar is one of the main candidates for qualification and they have invested well in order to qualify. We will have a difficult match against Qatar,” he said. 
“The Qataris have been preparing very well and they have good players but I hope the Azadi Stadium will be full of supporters and I hope that we will succeed tomorrow,” he added. Queiroz, however, was confident of Iran’s qualification for the finals after a ‘difficult’ campaign.
“The celebrations for reaching the 2018 FIFA World Cup will begin for us tomorrow. Certainly, it will be a difficult path for each of the teams in the group. 
“We will have difficult matches but I hope that we will secure one of the qualifying spots on this road. Our aim is to reach the World Cup finals. The squad has no injuries and we have 25 prepared players who want to play tomorrow,” he added.
There are no suspensions or reported injuries for either team.

The Peninsula