Juan Antonio Picci, head coach of the Bahrain national soccer team, expressed optimism for the quarterfinals ahead of the match against Japan in the round of 16.
“We are preparing for the match in the best way possible. We have to stay focused for the entire 90 minutes to win the match and advance to the quarterfinals. Optimism and passion can help us have a great match,” Picci said at a press conference on Tuesday (local time).
Bahrain, which ranked first in Group E in a surprise move beyond South Korea, and Japan, which fell to second place after losing to Iraq in Group D, will compete for the quarterfinals at Altumama Stadium at 8:30 p.m. on the 31st.
“We always study and analyze our opponents before a match to identify our strengths and weaknesses. Through this analysis, we build appropriate tactics to confront the opponent, control the ball, and control the flow of the game,” said Picci, an Argentine who led the Saudi Arabian national team at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. “Japan is a team with many strengths, but I think it also has weaknesses. We must utilize that to advance to the next round.”
Bahrain lost its first group match to the South Korean national soccer team 1-3. It may come as a pain, but Picci said it nourished the team to advance to the round of 16. “We learned some lessons from the friendly matches against Korea and against Australia, which we played before the tournament. When we play against strong teams, we become stronger both as a team and as a player individually,” he said. Bahrain lost to Australia 0-2.
“Unfortunately, we did not get as good a result as expected in the two matches. However, we now have confidence that we can compete against anyone, and our level has increased. (Now, I feel comfortable (with any team),” Picci said, expressing his commitment to make history in the match against Japan based on the Korean War.
Bahrain, ranked 86th in the FIFA rankings, has never advanced to the quarterfinals or higher since it advanced to the semifinals at the 2004 China World Cup. It was eliminated from the group stage for three consecutive times from 2007 to the 2015 World Cup, and remained in the round of 16 at the last 2019 World Cup. At that time, it was Korea that stopped Bahrain. Kim Jin-su scored a dramatic winning goal in overtime at a 1-1 draw. 헤라카지노주소
Meanwhile, Japanese coach Moriyasu Hajime said, “We have to learn from the mistakes we made in the first three games, but we don’t worry about defense in tomorrow’s game,” adding, “Brain is a talented team. As a team, we are strong and have the resources to play good soccer in the front as well as counterattacks.”
The winner of the Bahrain-Japan match will face the winner of the Iran-Syria match in the quarterfinals.