FIFA U-17 World Cup: We are no Leicester City, says Iran football team coach

Iran U--17 football coach Abbas Chamanian was not pleased with the media comparing his side with Leicester City ahead of their FIFA U-17 World Cup match against Spain.
Iran will take on Spain in their FIFA U-17 World Cup quarterfinals in Kochi on Sunday.(PTI)
Iran will take on Spain in their FIFA U-17 World Cup quarterfinals in Kochi on Sunday.(PTI)
Updated on Oct 21, 2017 08:20 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Kochi | ByBhargav Samrah

Irans campaign at the ongoing FIFA U-17 World Cup has been one of the best stories of this tournament. The Abbas Chamanian-coached side has reached the quarterfinals of the competition with a perfect record, including a 4-0 thrashing of European giants Germany.

However, Chamanian isn’t too pleased with comparisons in the media between his side and Leicester City, who stunned the footballing world with their unprecedented Premier League title win in 2015/16.

“First of all, Iran is a country not a club. I don’t like us being compared to another team. We want to be known as the Iran U-17 national team,” he curtly replied to a query on the said comparisons.

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“As far as our strategy is concerned, it is to try and keep clean sheets and then look to score goals,” he added.

The Iranian side, which had finished as the runners-up at the AFC U-16 Championship last year, has had a smooth sailing so far, but given the might of Spain, Chamanian said the team is ready for a tough encounter.

“I am sure that the lessons we havee learned in the last four matches will help us in this game. Like Mexico, we are in a do-or-die situation against Spain, so winning the match is a priority,” Chamanian said.

“Our strategy and philosophy against Spain is to win the match at the end of 90 minutes. If the matches go into penalties, all the players are prepared for that,” he elaborated.

Spain coach Santiago Denia said his team needed further improvements in their defence to counter Iran’s ability on the counter.

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“Defence is one of our concerns, and there is always room for improvement in defence. Their players are very speedy. If they get their chances, they can be very dangerous for Spain.

“We try to adapt to situations, based on how the other teams play. It’s the job of the technical staff to make sure that the team adapts well,” Denia explained.

Given that expectations are always high from Spain, Denia said that Iran should also be respected because of the way they have played in this tournament.

“It’s not an obvious thing that spain will win, but it is a challenge for us. We have never won the U-17 World Cup. This team has worked step-by-step to reach the quarters. We respect Iran. They are working very, very hard and that is why they are here in the quarterfinals,” he said.

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