Friday , April 19 2024

Emad Mohammed challenges Iraq players to shine in FIFA U-20 World Cup!

Iraq head coach Emad Mohammed is hoping his players can learn from their mistakes at the 203 AFC U-20 Asian Cup – Uzbekistan and improve enough to make a run to the knockout rounds of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Indonesia later this year.

Mohammed’s side were crestfallen after suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat in the final at Bunyodkor Stadium against Uzbekistan, but the former striker was already setting his sights on the future after Umarali Rakhmonaliev’s penalty earned the hosts the title.

“Our purpose for coming here was to go the FIFA U-20 World Cup, but we got more than we needed because our players did well,” said Mohammed. “We won against very good teams with good leagues, like Japan.

“Uzbekistan are a very difficult team to play against and, at last, we lost so we say congratulations to Uzbekistan. They have very good players. I know Uzbek football. They have established very good teams at Under-16, U-17, U-18 and U-19.

“During this tournament we did everything for the championship and from tomorrow we will sit as a team and analyse the match. We must look at our mistakes to correct those before the World Cup.”

Iraq had been aiming to be crowned Asian champions for the first time since 2000, when Mohammed scored both goals in the final against Japan in Tehran to claim his country’s fifth title at this level.

But there was to be no fairytale ending for the striker-turned-coach as the hosts eventually prevailed in a game played out in front of a sold-out stadium.

Despite the loss the Iraqis will be returning to the FIFA U-20 World Cup for the first time since 2013, when they reached the semi-finals, and Mohammed has vowed to raise the standard of the team in the months leading up to the Finals.

“We are very happy because of our performance,” he said. “In football you can lose and you can win, but we had a very good championship.

“From tomorrow or even tonight we will meet and look at all of the matches and start to analyse all of them, to study all of our mistakes during the championship. Then we will arrange our training camp with Iraq Football Association.

“At the FIFA U-20 World Cup there will be many different teams there. It’s always an achievement when Asian teams go to the World Cup. I have confidence in myself and my team and maybe we will bring in another two or three players. Depending on who the players are that come, we can try to go to the quarterfinals.”

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