Sanchez: It is our chance to make history
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: Head coach Felix Sanchez believes success in Friday’s AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 final against Japan would represent an historic achievement for his talented Qatar side.
The West Asians head into the eagerly anticipated showdown at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City Stadium looking to claim their first-ever AFC Asian Cup title, while their opponents stand on the brink of winning a record-extending fifth Continental crown.
Having seen them shine brightly throughout the competition, Sanchez believes his charges are now ready for one final push as they look to make history for the West Asian nation.
“This is definitely the most important game in Qatar’s football history” said the Spaniard.
“We are now obviously at the stage of the tournament where the team is in a confident mood and looking forward to starting the game. Obviously if we win the trophy, it will be Qatar’s biggest achievement in terms of football.
“Hopefully, we can have one more good performance. One of the key things for us is that there is a great team spirit, everyone is working together to achieve the same result.
“The players are determined to get the victory we want by putting in one more huge effort against Japan so that we can make the Qatari people happy once again and make history.”
Qatar’s appearance in the latter stages of the competition has surprised some observers, although Al Annabi’s impressive record throughout the campaign – they have scored 16 times and are yet to concede – sees them face the Japanese as distinctly worthy finalists.
With wins against previous champions in the form of Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Korea Republic already racked up during UAE 2019, his side’s presence among Asia’s elite has come as no surprise to Sanchez, who revealed that Qatar’s stellar performances have already helped achieve one of their pre-tournament objectives.
“When we arrived to play in the AFC Asian Cup, our target was to test ourselves against everyone, to be able to compete against all the teams here, and to be able to hold our own against the very best in Asia,” declared the Barcelona native.
“We have had six games and six different stories, there has been pressure during the group stage and then even more pressure during the knockout phase. We trust the team and believe in them.
“We came here with the hope that we could challenge everyone in Asia, and it is not a surprise to me that we are here as we already knew the qualities of our players.”
“The game against Japan is now another story for us. Japan have great quality and have won the AFC Asian Cup many times. However, we are ready [for the challenge] and will play in a way to negate the threats they have.
“We know Japan have several strengths and a few weaknesses, so we will need to be excellent throughout the game in order to achieve the win we want.”