- AFC Futsal C'ship 2014: Group B Preview23:39 | 30/04/2014
Coach Jesus Candelas insists Iran have their sights set on winning an 11th AFC Futsal Championship in Vietnam this month ahead of Wednesday’s Group B opener against Indonesia.
Iran are comfortably the most successful side in the history of the AFC Futsal Championship having won 10 of the first 11 editions, although they were forced to settle for third place in the United Arab Emirates two years ago after losing 5-4 after extra-time to Thailand in the semi-finals.
But ahead of Wednesday’s meeting with Indonesia at Ton Duc Thang University Stadium, Candelas is eyeing a return to winning ways after Japan claimed a second AFC Futsal Championship two years ago.
“Our objective is to do our best and take the cup. We should prepare well to do our best,” said Spanish coach Candelas.
“There is no pressure for us, it is a responsibility. We must try and relax when we are under pressure so we will not encounter stress.
“We are not looking at the past. We will concentrate on these players and put our focus on them.”
Indonesia finished bottom of their group two years ago after losing all three games which included a 5-2 defeat by China, although Andri Irawan’s side are boosted by reaching the semi-finals of the 2013 AFF Futsal Championship.
“It is a very tough group, but we believe we can go to the next round,” said Indonesia coach Irawan.
“We know Iran are the best team in Asia and also China and Australia are good. We will do our best and fight with these teams.”
Also at Ton Duc Thang University Stadium on Wednesday, 2014 semi-finalists Australia face China.
Two years ago in the UAE, Australia lost 3-0 to Japan in the semi-finals before suffering a 4-0 defeat by Iran in the third place play-off.
“We have prepared for nine weeks, one day per week with two sessions per day. I expect the team to perform as well as they can following the preparation. I hope the team gets through the first round,” said Australia coach Steven Knight.
“Iran are the strongest team in the group and I think the other teams are similar, so the opening match with China will be very difficult.”
China also featured in the 2012 edition, although they failed to reach the knockout stage after losing to Uzbekistan and Kuwait despite beginning their campaign with a win over Indonesia.
“We have not had the preparation we wanted as we had a short time to prepare, but it is the time we have had,” said China’s Portuguese coach Andre Lima.
“We know it will be difficult, as in my opinion, this is the strongest group and they will all be hard games. I hope my young team can improve and learn by the end of the tournament by getting more experience.
“Iran are favourites to win the championship, so Indonesia, Australia and China will fight for second place and all will be tough games.”
According to AFC
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