News ID: 240176
Published: 0253 GMT March 13, 2019

Octavio calls for greater efficiency in blockbuster quarterfinal

Octavio calls for greater efficiency in blockbuster quarterfinal

Iran head coach Marco Octavio called on his side to take its chances, and bounce back from its loss to Oman, in a blockbuster AFC Beach Soccer Championship Thailand 2019 quarterfinal on Thursday.

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

Iran finished third at the World Cup in 2017, and is 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 its campaign come to an early end.

Reflecting on his side's costly defeat, Octavio stressed that his side played well against Oman, but that it must improve in front of goal if it is to beat its East Asian opponent.

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

"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 honor our flag, to honor Iran in this competition."

Despite its 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 tougher by the absence of the suspended Amir Akbari – believes Japan has 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 has 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 is playing well, but he believes his team has not yet reached the level required to beat Asia's best teams.

"Our target is the same as other teams – to be the champion," 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 honors to be playing against the leader in Asia, Iran. In the past seven 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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