Wilkins promises tough time for Japan in Group D finale

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coach on Monday emphasised the sizeable challenge his side will face on Tuesday against defending Asian Cup champions .

The West Asian side will need a win at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium if they hope to advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament, which concludes in Sydney on January 31.

“We an extremely tough game against a very good side, no different from any other game,” Wilkins said at his pre-match press conference. “If we go gung-ho against the Japanese it will be extremely difficult. We’ll be cautious but every opportunity we get to attack, we’ll attack.

“We’ll have the best plan possible in place, and we’ll try to make it as uncomfortable as possible for [Japan].”

The former England international emphasised the difference in physical skill between West Asian sides, who have struggled in the tournament, and East Asian teams who will make up the majority of quarterfinalists.

“I do believe if [West Asian players] are to build themselves up physically then a few could play in Europe,” Wilkins elaborated. “The problem that you have when they play in the Gulf is that financially they’re looked after extremely well, which makes it harder for us to draw them to Europe.

“If you look at Japanese and Australian players, as soon as they can leave for Europe they do, which I applaud. Ideally I would like for Jordanian players to go and play in Europe. I’d love for them to play in England.”

Wilkins was joined by midfielder Ahmed Elias, who denied that Jordan would be overwhelmed by the Samurai Blue.

“We’re playing against a tough team but it’s 11 players against 11 players,” the 24-year-old said. “We’ve managed to defeat Japan in the past so we can do it again. We look forward to advancing and qualifying, so hopefully we can do it.”

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