DOHA - South Korea have accused their
Asian Cup quarter-final opponents Iran of fouling too much and
warned they should fear them.
After a number of respectful pre-match media conferences in
Doha over the past fortnight, the gloves were off as Korean
coach Cho Kwang-rae accused the Iranians of dirty tactics ahead
of their match at the Qatar Sports Club on Saturday.
"I saw the Iranian team in their previous games and for
football fans it would be better if they did not commit so many
fouls," a sharply dressed Cho told reporters on Friday.
Cho continued the criticism when asked to compare Iran with
Australia, who the twice-champion South Koreans drew 1-1 with
earlier in Group C.
"They are both physical sides who are good tactically, but
the Iranian team commits more fouls."
South Korean full-back Cha Du-ri joined in with the goading
when asked if he was worried about Iran's strong showing in the
group stages, where they were the only side to win all their
"We are one of the strongest teams in Asia reaching the last
16 of the 2010 World Cup. I think it is Iran who are scared of
the Korean team. We have to play as we usually do like in the
first three games of the Asian Cup," the attack-minded defender
The match will be the fifth successive time the two teams
have met at this stage of the tournament and would be a worthy
final, but Korea could only finish second to Australia in Group
C by one goal, something Iran's likeable, chatty coach Afshin
Ghotbi fired back with.
"If they had done their job in the group games, they would
not have met us in quarter-finals, but only in final," the
Iranian-American citizen said.
Ghotbi seemed to revel in the psychological battle and
claimed to have the advantage over his opponents having worked
as an assistant coach with the Korean national team in spells
over five years.
"I know the way they think and I know the way they react in
their good days and their bad days and that gives me a slight
advantage," he said.
Ghotbi rejected the accusation that his team fouled too much
and spoke once again of his belief that Iran could go on to win
a record fourth Asian Cup title and their first since 1976.
"With respect to the South Korean coach, I think they need
to foul us to stop us from winning because we are the better
team,' he said with a smile.
Ghotbi has faced heavy criticism in Iran for failing to
qualify for the 2010 World Cup and not speaking in Farsi during
media conferences but he called upon everyone in the country to
get behind the team.
"The Iran media for 20 months has undermined the success of
the national team. It is time for them to support their national
team and players.
"We started this job 20 months ago to win the Asian Cup for
the people of Iran we believe at this moment in history that
this championship can be a turning point in hope, confidence and
unity in the country."
In Saturday's first quarter-final match at the Al Sadd
stadium, the best FIFA ranked side in the tournament, Australia,
face holders Iraq.
Borussia Dortmund's Mario Gotze ruled out of Champions League final against Bayern Munich
Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini will leave the La Liga club at the end of the current season
Stoke City and manager Tony Pulis part company by mutual agreement after seven years
Andy Carroll pulls out of England's friendly internationals against Ireland and Brazil
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010