Quarter-final Preview: Japan v Bahrain
Taipei: Bahrain head coach Adel Marzooq says his side will not be lacking in confidence when they take on former champions Japan in their AFC Futsal Championship quarter-final match on Thursday.
The West Asians will be making their first appearance in the knockout phase after edging tournament hosts Chinese Taipei on goal difference to finish second in Group A, while Japan maintained a steady and determined campaign to win all three games to finish top of Group B.
Despite going up against the three-time AFC Futsal Championship winners, Marzooq revealed his players are undaunted by the challenge, adding that the match would display the progress Bahrain futsal had made.
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“First of all, we are happy to be in the second round,” said Marzooq.
“Our players are really happy to reach the second round and to play against Japan. It’s an experience to play with a strong team who are former champions and have played in the FIFA Futsal World Cup.
“We have made an achievement to qualify for the knockout phase, but the players will continue to show the development of futsal in Bahrain, and they will do their best.”
Even with their better track record in the group stage, Japan head coach Bruno Garcia was cautious, saying: “In Asia, there’s always a chance for surprise and we need to be careful about that.
“We have a lot of respect for Bahrain because they played really well in the group stage, and our perception going into this match is that it will be a tough game against a strong team.”
Garcia further admitted that although they only had a short time to prepare, the team have gotten better as the tournament progressed.
“We only had one week to prepare, and the team have gotten stronger and better with every match. Mentally and physically, the team have adapted to the overall match plan and are increasing their level.”