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AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022: We hope to break down Iran defence says Thomas Dennerby

They are ranked at 70th in the world as against 55th of India

Thomas Dennerby

India women's national team head coach Thomas Dennerby with his players (Source: AIFF)



Updated: 18 Jan 2022 9:27 AM GMT

India head coach Thomas Dennerby on Tuesday said the hosts would aim to break down a strong Iranian defence with an attacking game to eke out a win in their women's AFC Asian Cup opener on Thursday. The match against Iran would be crucial for India in their bid to qualify for the quarterfinals. Iran are the lowest ranked team in Group A which also has China and Chinese Taipei. They are ranked at 70th in the world as against 55th of India.

"Our first target is to get to quarter-finals, we think we have a realistic chance to do that. Iran is going to be a real tough game. We have followed them through videos and they are really a fighting (team)," Dennerby said in a virtual media interaction ahead of Thirsday's match. "They (Iran) have strong defence, they defend very well around their box. It is going to be a challenge for us to score. It is not going to be an easy game. We are hoping that with some creative and good passing game, we can break down their defence," he added.

"We have a lot of players that can create chances and score goals. We have to be good all through the match." A win against Iran will give India a big chance to make it to the knock-out stage -- the quarterfinals. A quarterfinal berth will virtually ensure at least an Inter-continental Play-offs berth for the 2023 FIFA World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Five teams from the tournament will directly qualify for the 2023 women's FIFA World Cup while another two will make it to the Intercontinental Play-offs.

Australia, which finished runners-up in the last edition of the AFC Asian Cup, have already qualified for the 2023 FIFA World Cup as co-hosts. "It is a big challenge obviously for us, but it is also a very big opportunity. If we qualify for the quarterfinals, we have a chance for qualifying for the FIFA World Cup next year and that will be huge for Indian football," said captain Ashalata Devi. "We are hoping that the Asian Cup being hosted in India will give a big boost to women's football in our country." India had beaten Iran 1-0 in 2019 in Bhubaneswar in the last meeting between the two sides.

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