Tough tests start now, cautions Iran coach

Chamanian wants to ensure his side will be ready for European champion Spain in what will be its first-ever quarterfinal showing in the marquee event.

Iran's Allahyar Sayyad celebrates a goal with coach Abbas Chamanian, in Margao, Goa on Tuesday.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Iran’s boss Abbas Chamanian cautioned that tough tests have just begun after his side held onto a nervy 2-1 win over former champion Mexico in the pre-quarterfinal of the FIFA U-17 World Cup here. Iran will play Spain in the quarterfinal.

Match Report

“Yesterday, I had said that the match today would be very tough. We predicted this. The toughest match in the World Cup starts now,” said the 54-year-old coach.

READ: Late penalty helps Spain edge past France

Iran profited from some lapse in Mexican defense to score two quick-fire goals but Mexico hit back in the 37th minute through Roberto de la Rosa. “We started the game very well. I always tell my players that 2-0 is a dangerous scoreline. If opponent scores the goal it becomes very tough,” Chamanian said.

Iran introduced defender Amir Esmaeil Zadeh, who had a heavily bandaged right arm, in the second half to bring control to Mexico’s attacking threat. “In the second half we controlled the match. The goal in the first half gave us some problems. We want to organize our defence. Although he had an injury to his hand, he gave us a good performance.”

Chamanian ensured that his side will be ready for the European champion in what will be its first-ever quarterfinal showing in the marquee event. “After group stages, we organized and built our team. From the tactical aspect and from knowledge of the opponent we build again. And also from the mental aspect. Because we need to forget every match we played until now.”

Mexico came into the match as the only side in the last 16 with no wins to its name and two defensive errors within 12 minutes led to its elimination from the tournament. “We made two mistakes in the beginning of the match and it was too difficult to come back. We played well, just unable to score the goals,” said Mexico’s coach Mario Arteaga.

However, he wanted to focus on his team’s fighting spirit. “I could highlight the fighting spirit my team showed tonight. We won seven out of nine tournaments we played in the last 20 months but it didn't happen tonight.”

Both the head coaches showered high praise on Mexico’s No. 19 Diego Lainez, who once again showcased his attacking repertoire. After the World Cup showing, the diminutive forward would have fallen on the radar of European clubs’ scouts. “He is quite a unique player. He is explosive, very fast. Four months ago, he joined the first team (Club America) in Mexico. I wouldn't be surprised if went on to play for a team in Europe,” Arteaga said.

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