Courtesy: The AFC.comVietnam, Indonesia primed for Southeast Asian showdownTuesday, May 8, 2018
Bangkok: Two undefeated Southeast Asian nations will go head to head for a place in the final four as Vietnam meet Indonesia in Wednesday's AFC Women’s Futsal Championship 2018 quarter-finals on Wednesday.
Vietnam have swept all before them in Bangkok, notching consecutive wins against Chinese Taipei, Bangladesh and Malaysia to reach the Knockout Stage as Group D winners.
Their reward for topping their section of the draw is a quarter-final meeting against an Indonesia side they beat 2-1 in last August’s SEA Games, but head coach Truong Quoc Tran is concerned his opponents are on an upward trajectory.
“After the group stage we have seen Indonesia are a very strong team that have improved in a short time since the SEA Games,” he said.
“In the last six months from the SEA Games to their performances here, I have noticed Indonesia have made a tactical improvement and I also believe their defence is better.”
Indonesia Japanese mentor Kensuke Takahashi shares his opposite number’s assessment, nothing his side’s improvement from one game to the next during their two-win, one-draw group stage campaign.
After wearing down Hong Kong in their opening encounter, Indonesia surprised many by earning an excellent 1-1 draw against highly-fancied hosts Thailand, before defeating Macau 9-0 to confirm their place in the last eight.
“I think our team is improving with each game,” Takahashi declared.
“We held a good draw against the host nation Thailand, and of course we want to continue to improve even further so we can go through to the semi-finals.”
The 2017 SEA Games loss to Vietnam cost Indonesia a silver medal, relegating them to bronze, and Takahashi said he was doing all he could for his team to be ready to turn the tables at the Bangkok Arena.
“We already faced them at the SEA Games, now what we have to do is be prepared for the next game so we can win it,” he said.
The winners of the all-Southeast Asian clash will face either Islamic Republic of Iran or China PR in Thursday’s semi-finals.
Courtesy: The AFC.comMozafar: We have to be careful against ‘new power’ China PRTuesday, May 8, 2018
Bangkok: Reigning champions Islamic Republic of Iran eased into the last eight with two huge wins, but head coach Shahrzad Mozafar is wary of the challenge posed by China PR in Wednesday’s AFC Women’s Futsal Championship 2018 quarter-final.
Fourteen goals against Turkmenistan and nine more against Uzbekistan showed Iran remain a team of outstanding quality, but Mozafar has been impressed with what she has recently seen from her Chinese opponents.
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 competitive 3-3 draw, with the hosts 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 that China is a new power in Asian futsal, and in the future we well see a lot more of this team.
“I believe that China is a very good team with powerful and skilful players and we should be careful and clever about our match tomorrow.”
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 futsal.
"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 “In the Knockout Stage, every game is like a final so we should never underestimate any teams.”
Despite their 6-4 Matchday Three to loss to Japan, China PR have been impressive throughout the group stage and head coach Hu Jie believes his 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,” he declared, before revealing his level of respect for his quarter-final opponents.
“Iran is the best team in Asia and the champions last time, and it’s an honour for us to play against them 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.”
Posted by Luca Ranocchiari