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Octavio calls for greater efficiency in blockbuster quarter-final

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Pattaya: Islamic Republic of Iran head coach Marco Octavio called on his side to take their chances, and bounce back from their loss to Oman, in a blockbuster AFC Beach Soccer Championship  Thailand 2019 quarter-final on Thursday.

A 4-3 defeat to Oman on Tuesday saw the reigning champions slip to second place in Group D, setting up a mouth-watering win-or-go-home clash with Japan, themselves an Asian powerhouse with nine successive appearances at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.

Iran finished third at the World Cup in 2017, and are currently second in the world rankings, but with the tournament now in its knockout stage, the only certainty in Thursday's match is that one of the Continent's powerhouses will see their campaign come to an early end.

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Reflecting on his side's costly defeat, Octavio stressed that his side played well against Oman, but that they must improve in front of goal if they are to beat their East Asian opponents.

" I'm very proud of my players, and congratulations to Oman," said the Brazilian boss. "That was a wonderful match yesterday, for all people who love beach soccer."


Matchday Two Highlights: Groups C & D

"Our performance was good but we were not as efficient as Oman. We shot 37 times at goal, Oman shot 17, but Oman scored four goals and Iran only three. This is football.

"We have to learn, whether we win or we lose, and now we have to concentrate. We have a chance.

"We know we are going to face a strong team like Japan, but we will try our best to honour our flag, to honour Iran in this competition."


Matchday Three Highlights: Groups C & D

Despite their status as one of the world's best sides, Iran will face an arduous challenge against a Japanese side which breezed through the group stage, racking up a tournament-best 21 goals in three matches.

Octavio - whose task is made tougher by the absence of the suspended Amir Akbari - believes Japan have been the standout team in the competition thus far.

"Oman, Bahrain, Japan and Iran all ended up in Group C and D, which was a strange draw, but okay, we are here," he said.

"We have a strong team, and Japan have shown, until this moment, the best beach soccer. We have a very difficult task, but we are going to try our best to get ahead."

Despite powering to emphatic wins over Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain, Japan head coach Ruy Ramos has used all three of his post-match press conferences to call for improvement from his side.

With Ozu Moreira and Shusei Yamauchi bagging six goals apiece in the group stage, Ramos agrees that his side are playing well, but he believes they have not yet reached the level required to beat Asia's best teams.

"Our target is the same as other teams - to be the champions," he declared.

"We should be happy with our past three wins, but I'm also not satisfied with the performance of the players, and they should be better from now."

Japan could be forgiven for feeling a touch unfortunate to have landed next to the world's number two side at this stage of the competition, but former Japanese football international Ramos is approaching the match with optimism.

"It's a great honour to be playing against the leader in Asia, Iran. In the past 7 to 10 years they have been leading Asian beach soccer," he said. "As you saw, the game between Iran and Oman was a brilliant game; one of the top games.

"Coming to this stage of the tournament, we cannot choose our opponent, but we will do our best."

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