Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Canberra: The AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 quarter-final meeting between Iraq and Iran on Friday might be a fixture steeped in history and emotion between the arch-rivals, but for Team Melli midfielder Andranik Teymourian it will be time to forget the past and focus on the present when the neighbours kick-off at Canberra Stadium.
Even though the most recent fixture between the two resulted in a 1-0 win for Teymourian and his team-mates on January 4 in a friendly, a scoreline which now means Iran’s undefeated against Iraq stretches back over a decade, the former Bolton Wanderers player feels the previous encounters will mean little in the clash in Australia’s capital.
“That friendly game and our record against them is part of history, besides that was just a warm-up game, we didn't play our full team, and this match on Friday will be completely different,” said Teymourian, who will play his club football for Tractorsazi Tabriz in 2015.
“It’s going to be very difficult and a huge challenge for us against a tough Iraq side, but we’re going to play with our full concentration and full capability.
“We are not focusing on individual performances of Iraqi players, what matters to us is we are taking on Iraq as a team and we definitely know what we want to get out of it ourselves as a team.
“We are absolutely determined to reach the semi-finals and hopefully the final of this tournament and to do that we must overcome the challenge of Iraq.”
Getting into the final four of the continental championship would be a first for Teymourian. In his two previous appearances at the AFC Asian Cup, in 2007 and 2011, Team Melli came up short; eliminated in consecutive quarter-finals by Korea Republic.
However, just as the positive past has no bearing for Teymourian, neither do the sad memories of tournament exits gone by linger for the 31-year-old.
“Football is a game of mistakes, what happened previously is now part of history,” added Teymourian, who appeared for Iran in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
“The World Cup and the Asian Cup are very similar in that they are not tournaments in which you can make mistakes. Every single player must play with full desire to have the absolute best performance in each game in the Asian Cup and that’s what we’re going to do in each game going forward.
“We've got new players, new coaches and a new determination and desire. All of these factors will come into play when we kick-off the game (on Friday).”