With the cloud hanging over their Asian Cup participation now lifted after the AFC’s rejection of Iran’s protest, Iraq are now firmly focused on tomorrow night’s semi final against Korea Republic.
Iraq coach Rahdi Swadi, speaking at the official pre-match press conference in Sydney this evening, lamented the fact his side would have one less day to prepare for the match.
“It will not be an easy match and we respect the [Korean] team,” he said.
“The only disadvantage we have is the short period of recovery. We only had three days before tomorrow, but we have worked with our players and hopefully our players will produce something to get a victory for our country.
“Korea is probably one of the four best teams in Asia, we’ve gained a lot of experience playing strong teams.
“We had a friendly with Uzbekistan and Iran as well as playing Japan. Hopefully our players can produce something tomorrow to get a positive result.”
The press conference took place before the AFC officially confirmed the dismissal of Iran’s protest and Iraq officials flatly refused to answer any question relating to the matter, despite repeated attempts by journalists.
Swadi will be hoping history repeats itself at Stadium Australia tomorrow night, as Iraq defeated Korea Republic in the semi finals of the 2007 AFC Asian Cup in Malaysia.
“I hope this happens again but we have all of the respect for South Korea,” the caretaker coach said.
“You have to respect your opponent. You cannot disrespect your opponent. Hopefully this new generation can produce something to remind the people of 2007.”