Syria and India Hold to Last Hope for Last 16

Syria and India Hold to Last Hope for Last 16 By Fathimath Nasli - January 23, 2024
Syria and India Hold to Last Hope for Last 16

Team Syria

Syria's head coach, Hector Cuper, is determined to create history by leading Syria beyond the group stage of the continental showpiece for the first time. He praised the team's recent performances in the last two matches and believes there is no immediate necessity for alterations.

"While we are yet to register our first win in the Asian Cup, I think the team has been playing very well," said the Argentine. "I am not the kind of coach that rotates players just for the sake of it.

It is important to have harmony in the team and that is what we're trying to achieve." As both teams strive to score their first goal in the 18th edition of the AFC Asian Cup, Cuper anticipates India adopting an aggressive playing style and urged his side to be ready for a high-pressing game from the South Asians.

"In a competition like this, I don't want to underestimate any team. The game is crucial to both teams and there is, of course, pressure," said Cuper. "But this kind of pressure is a privilege and shouldn't scare us. We have an opportunity to make the Syrian people happy and our sole focus is on collecting three points and boosting our qualification chances." Coach of India Igor Stimac is delighted to have a full-strength squad at his disposal for India's do-or-die AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 Group B tie against Syria on Tuesday.

India, already dealing with the challenge of missing key players at the start of the tournament, faced additional setbacks due to injuries in their initial two matches. However, with midfielder Abdul Samad returning to training, the Croatian coach is optimistic about achieving a favorable outcome at the Al Bayt Stadium.

"I am pleased to have my whole squad back and am expecting a good match. It's a crucial tie for Syria as well as India as we both need to win to stand any chance of qualifying for the knockout stage," said Stimac.

The head coach also believes that India's recent experience against Uzbekistan and Australia will stand them in good stead and is hopeful of collecting a win against Syria if his side can reduce their reaction time in the face of offensive charges. "Syria have a number of players featuring in some of the top leagues in Europe and they play a very classic 4-4-2 style of football.

But many of their attributes, including their physical prowess, bear resemblance to that of Uzbekistan players and we will try to capitalise on the lessons learned from our last match." "But I feel the main problem for India has been the backline. We take too long to react inside the box and we definitely need to be more alert when facing crosses from opponents.

"I think Syria and India are in a very similar situation we have both created many chances but have failed to score. However, Syria have displayed a much stronger game in both their matches," added Stimac.

Source: QNA

By Fathimath Nasli - January 23, 2024

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