Preview - Group E: Saudi Arabia v Qatar
Abu Dhabi: Knockout stage qualification may have been sealed but both Saudi Arabia and Qatar's game plan for their final AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Group E tie on Thursday will not hinge on who their possible Round of 16 opponents might be.
Both go into the match with a perfect record of two wins, with Qatar only needing a draw to win the group on goal difference.
The group winners will face the Group D runners-up, either Islamic Republic of Iran or Iraq, while the runners-up will go up against the top-placed team from Group F - either Japan or Uzbekistan.
Both coaches - Saudi Arabia's Juan Antonio Pizzi and Felix Sanchex of Qatar - were adamant that their teams would play to win.
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"I have never played a match in anticipation of who our next opponents will be and that is exactly how we will go into the match tomorrow.
"We have maximum confidence in the players and have no preference as to who we could play in the Round of 16. We have an ambition to win the title and every match is equally difficult," said Pizzi.
Saudi Arabia go into the tie having defeated DPR Korea 4-0 and Lebanon 2-0, results which have boosted the confidence of Pizzi's players.
"Qatar is a team with many qualities and they have good strikers. However, we are also doing well collectively and I have full confidence that my players can get the three points."
Qatar, said Sanchez, have prepared for the match just as they did for the ties against Lebanon and DPR Korea.
"We are doing exactly the same as we have for the other games but we know it is a match which will decide top spot. We will plan well, as we did for the other matches, as we want to win the group.
"It is going to be a tough game but hopefully, we can get the result we desire," said the Spaniard.
Sanchez said Qatar's confidence has been boosted by their two wins so far - a 2-0 triumph over a tough Lebanon and a 6-0 defeat of DPR Korea, which saw Almoez Ali scoring four goals.
"We are very proud of our performance, especially in the last game. It was a very good result but we must keep looking forward.
"The focus now is on Saudi Arabia and we must plan for a good game tomorrow."
Sanchez also hailed his players for their determination to do well in the AFC Asian Cup.
"Their focus has been only on the tournament and they have been working very hard, before we came here and even now. The players are all progressing well and that is very important."
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