Who: Iran vs Qatar
What: AFC Asian Cup 2023 semifinal
When: Wednesday, February 6, 2024, 6pm (15:00 GMT)
Where: Al Thumama Stadium, Doha, Qatar
Qatar coach Tintin Marquez Lopez says his aspect will face their “toughest test” within the defence of their Asian Cup crown once they face Iran within the semifinals on Wednesday.
The Spaniard has bemoaned the shortage of time since their quarterfinal victory in opposition to Uzbekistan on Saturday, during which the Maroons survived a scare after additional time and penalties.
“If we speak about preparation for the game, it was a very short time,” he mentioned. “We had solely two days to organize.
“The game will be the toughest match of the tournament for us.”
Qatar have been unbeaten within the victorious 2019 marketing campaign and are but to style defeat on this version. Indeed, the draw after additional time with Uzbekistan was the primary time they didn’t win a match within the 2023 event.
‘We hope to bring joy to our fans’
Tarek Salman returned to the defence for Qatar within the quarterfinals, having been named among the many substitutes within the 2-1 spherical of 16 victory in opposition to Palestine.
The defender echoed the ideas of his supervisor that the restoration time is a priority and that those that performed within the Uzbekistan win are feeling fatigued. But he hopes the event can carry the group.
“Everyone is excited; against Iran it will be physical,” Salman mentioned.
“They have stars who play in large leagues in Europe so we’re motivated 200 %.
“We hope to bring joy to our fans.”
— Qatar Football Association (@QFA_EN) February 3, 2024
Iran midfielder Saeid Ezatolahi, in the meantime, has raised doubts in regards to the AFC appointing an Arab referee for his or her Asian Cup semifinal conflict in opposition to the hosts and defending champions
Wednesday’s semifinal might be officiated by Kuwait’s Ahmad Al-Ali, who has taken cost of two group video games and a last-16 tie on the event.
“What is a little bit surprising for us is that the referee for the match is from Kuwait, he’s an Arab,” Ezatolahi advised reporters on Tuesday.
“We’re simply questioning the way it’s attainable that they put an Arab as a referee for the match.
“But we are the Iran national team, we are a very big team. We have very good players, we are professional.”
Iran reached the semifinals after they beat Asia’s top-ranked aspect Japan 2-1 regardless of themselves having solely two days to recuperate after their last-16 tie in opposition to Syria went to additional time and penalties.
Ezatolahi, like Lopez and Tarek, has criticised the shortage of restoration time within the knockout stage.
“In this tournament, the players didn’t have enough time to recover, specifically in the knockout stage,” he mentioned.
“Many of the players came straight from their clubs and are under a lot of pressure here.”
The #AsianCup2023 SEMI-FINALISTS!
— AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 (@Qatar2023en) February 3, 2024
‘We have to be stronger than everything happening’
Iran coach Amir Ghalenoei reiterated the remaining interval being “less than 72 hours” earlier than they confronted Japan whereas he additionally took a shot on the video assistant referee (VAR).
“In this tournament at least, I can say that VAR was not very kind to us. We had a situation in the match against Japan that could have been a penalty on Sardar Azmoun, but VAR did not check it for us,” he mentioned.
“But we have to be stronger than everything that is happening at this tournament.”
Iran beat Qatar 4-0 in October, however Ghalenoei urged his group to overlook about earlier outcomes as they search a spot of their first closing since they gained their third title in 1976.
“When Qatar reached the semifinals, they showed their quality, so we need to forget our result against Qatar and forget our performance against Japan. That belongs to history now,” he mentioned.
“We need to show more quality and we have to cover more distance compared with the match against Japan. I hope we can reach the final after nearly 50 years. I have big belief in our players.”
Jordan have misplaced as soon as on the event already once they went right down to Bahrain within the group stage match. However, they do have three wins to South Korea’s two. The final two wins have been inside 90 minutes, the place the Koreans required additional time of their two knock-out video games thus far.
Qatar: W W W W W
Iran: W W W W W
Qatar group information
Qatar have a completely match squad to choose from, bar for a slight concern over backup keeper Salah Zakaria.
Predicted XI: Meshaal Barsham, Pedro Miguel, Mohammed Waad, Lucas Mendes, Almoez Ali, Tarek Salman, Jassem Gaber, Hassan Al-Haydos, Akram Afif, Ali Asad, Ahmed Fathi
Iran group information
Iran welcome again certainly one of their star gamers after Mehdi Taremi missed their quarterfinal conflict by means of suspension.
Sadegh Moharrami is about to overlook out with a cruciate ligament damage, whereas Majid Hosseini is battling a sore ankle.
Predicted XI: Alireza Beiranvand, Ramin Rezaeian, Milad Mohammadi, Saeid Ezatolahi, Hossein Kanani, Shoja Khalilzadeh, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Sardar Azmoun, Mehdi Taremi, Saman Ghoddos, Mohammad Mohebi