- Draw produces exciting second-round groups in the Asian qualifiers for Qatar 2022
- Coaches give their reactions to FIFA.com
- Importance of respecting the opposition a key theme
As soon as the draw for the second round of the Asian qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ came to a conclusion, the coaches of the 40 teams taking part turned their thoughts to preparing for their rivals and taking a step closer to the world finals.
The men in charge of the leading Asian teams seemed satisfied with the draw, which has thrown up some exciting games on the road to Qatar 2022. FIFA.com asked them for their reactions
Australia coach Graham Arnold
“We’re pleased with how it’s turned out. My first game with the team was in Kuwait, and we won that by 4-0. So we’ve got experience of playing them.
“There are two teams in the group we know a lot about (Kuwait and Jordan) and two we’re not that familiar with. But we’ll do our best, take each game as it comes, and respect our opponents.
“I worked with 80 players in the senior and Olympic teams last year and I believe we can do well in the qualifiers with the talent we have.”
Jordan coach Vital Boelmans
“We have to face Australia again, but I’m pleased with the draw. We must do our best throughout the competition to achieve our goal. I have faith in the players and their ability to make it to the decisive round.”
Uzbekistan coach Hector Cuper
“It’s hard to predict how the teams in this group will play, and so it’s important that we’re ready for all of them. It needs to be said that every team in the second round has their own abilities and that no opponent can be underestimated. We respect all our opponents in the group and we have to prepare well for the games. Every match will be important for us, and we have to qualify for the next round.”
India coach Igor Stimac
“The qualifiers will be a major challenge for my young team and we’re in a difficult group. We must respect all our opponents.
“The players must respect every team, but on the pitch we’ll do everything we can to win. I’ll prepare the team for that. We’re at the beginning of our journey and I hope it’ll be a long one.”
Kyrgyz Republic coach Alexander Krestinin
“It’s the kind of group you expect and we have fight and play our game. We’ve already shown that we can fight and keep going when things are tough. The team has character and we need to show that. Anything is possible in football.”
Kyrgyz Republic captain Valery Kichin
“It’s a good group. We’ve got a chance to continue the journey and qualify. It all depends on us and we’ll play every game to win. Japan are the favourites, of course, but we’ll fight to the end. We’ll try to make history and get some wins.”
Malaysia coach Tan Cheng Hoe
“It’s the best draw possible. No one expected the majority of the teams in the group to be from the ASEAN region. We know the other teams from the region very well, especially Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia. Naturally, UAE are the strongest and the favourites to come out on top.”
“Playing against the other teams from the ASEAN region will get the fans going. They love these games. But what is more important is that we won’t be travelling long distances for these matches. The time factor won’t be significant and won’t negatively affect the players.”
Korea Republic coach Paulo Bento
“It’s important we analyse our opponents. We need to analyse the performance of the teams we’ve played in the past. We’ll be facing Turkmenistan for the first time. It’s best to accept the results of the draw as they are. We’ll approach the Korea DPR game in the same way as the other group matches. We must try to win every game and respect all the teams in the group.”