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Women Futsal Coach Mozafar Cautious About China

The squad has not been defeated in the tournament.The squad has not been defeated in the tournament.

Reigning champion Iran eased into the last eight with two huge wins, but head coach Shahrzad Mozafar is wary of the challenge posed by China in AFC Women’s Futsal Championship 2018 quarterfinal. The two teams will meet in Bangkok, on Wednesday.

Fourteen goals against Turkmenistan and nine more against Uzbekistan showed Iran remains a team of outstanding quality, but Mozafar has been impressed with what she has recently seen from her Chinese opponents, the AFC reported.

The two sides met in a pair of friendly matches in Tehran just over a month ago, and although Iran won the first match 6-1, the second was a much more challenging which ended in a 3-3 draw, with the host ultimately prevailing on penalties.

“From the two friendly matches with China in Iran, we could see that China really improved from the (2017) Asian Indoor Games. That was obvious,” Mozafar said. I think China is a new power in Asian futsal, and in the future we will see a lot more of this team.”

The 47-year-old reported no injury concerns among her playing staff, but urged her charges to remain cautious of the cutthroat nature of knockout football.

“We are so happy that we qualified in first place, and we are happy to have all of our players safe and sound for the knockout stage,” she said, before adding, “now every game is like a final so we should never underestimate any team.”

Despite the 6-4 loss to Japan on Matchday Three, China has been impressive throughout the group stage and head coach Hu Jie believes her side is gathering momentum at the right time.

“We’re getting better and better in each game, and as a result the players are feeling encouraged,” she declared, before revealing her level of respect for the quarterfinal opponent.

“Iran is the best team in Asia and was the champion last time; it’s an honor for us to play against the Iranians and we believe it’s a good game for us to play. We see tomorrow’s match as a great challenge against a very good team, but we will also be careful in how we approach the match.”

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