DOHA, Aug 29, (AFP): Qatar coach Jose Daniel Carreno admitted his side faces a “difficult” match in Iran when the two teams clash in the World Cup on Sept 1.
The two teams will meet in Tehran’s Azadi Stadium as the crucial third round of Asian qualifiers for Russia 2018 get under way.
“The match will be difficult and the players know that it will be difficult but we will do our best to please the Qatari people and get the points,” the Uruguayan Carreno told the Qatar Football Association in a video released on its website.
Iran and Qatar have been drawn in AFC Group A, alongside South Korea, Uzbekistan, China and Syria.
The top two teams will automatically qualify for the World Cup in 2018.
The team which finishes third will qualify for a play-off.
Iran are the top seeds in the group — and currently the highest FIFA-ranked team(39th).
Alongside South Korea, they are favourites to qualify from the group.
Qatar, ranked 80th, though are desperate to reach a World Cup finals for the first time, their last chance ahead of hosting the tournament in 2022.
They stormed through the second round group stage, winning seven of their eight games, finishing ahead of China and were joint top scorers across the AFC alongside Australia, with 29 goals.
Qatar warmed up for the clash in Iran with two behind closed doors friendlies in Doha, beating Iraq 2-1 and Thailand 3-0.
Iraq and Thailand are in AFC Group B.
Included in Qatar’s squad is Akram Afif, a nineteen-year-old currently on loan to Sporting Gijon from Villareal, and who earlier this month made history as the first Qatari to play in Spain’s La Liga,
Following the clash on September 1, Qatar will face Uzbekistan in Doha five days later, while Iran travel to China.