Daei Confident Iran Will Win AFC Asian Cup Title

Daei Confident Iran Will Win AFC Asian Cup TitleDaei Confident Iran Will Win AFC Asian Cup Title

The legendary Ali Daei has explained his confidence over Iran winning the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 title.

“Iran has been Asia’s top team for the last few years for a reason: the consistency of the technical team,” Daei said in an interview with AFC.

“There have been very few changes in the technical team’s setup and the stability has allowed coach Carlos Queiroz to focus on building a formidable squad. Queiroz has also looked far and wide for the best players and this has had a positive effect on the national team,” the former Iran captain added.

Iran is Asia’s top side in the FIFA World Ranking and was also the first team from the continent to seal a place in the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018, confirming its place last June.

The team finished the World Cup qualifiers unbeaten and Daei, 49, is expecting the form to be carried into the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, with Iran lifting the trophy.

The last of Iran’s three triumphs in the AFC Asian Cup was in 1976, meaning that it will be 43 years since Team Melli last won the title by the time the action in UAE 2019 kicks off next January.

“I am confident that Iran will win this time around. We have always been a force to be reckoned with in the AFC Asian Cup but the recent results give me confidence that we will win the title for the fourth time,” said Daei.

The AFC Asian Cup may have eluded Daei as a player but it is a tournament which is dear to his heart, as it paved the way for his big move to Germany in 1996.

In emerging top scorer in the 1996 AFC Asian Cup, also hosted by the UAE, Daei hit four of his tournament haul of eight goals in the 6-2 win over South Korea in the quarterfinals.

“There was a Korean player who was playing in Germany at that time and he convinced several coaches to scout for players during the 1996 AFC Asian Cup. The four goals I scored in that match played a pivotal role for me signing with Arminia Bielefeld.”

His stay in Germany also saw stints with Bayern Munich and Hertha BSC.

Plying his trade in Europe brought much success to one of Iran’s footballing sons and Daei is hoping that come the AFC Asian Cup 2019, not only will more of his compatriots secure moves to the big European leagues but Iran lift a long overdue title.

“I missed a penalty in the semifinal against Saudi Arabia and we lost, but I know that it can be different this time around,” he added.

Daei holds the record for the most goals in international football with a total of 109 goals he scored in 149 games for Team Melli (from 1993-2006).


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