TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Bahrain national football team coach Helio Sousa regarded Iran as one of the best teams in the world.
- Sports news -
The tiny Persian Gulf country is vying with Iran and Iraq in Group C to book a place at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
"Since the draw, we knew we were in one of the strongest groups of the Qualifiers. This idea is supported by the qualities, capacities and recent trajectory of the other teams in the group, as well as due to their ranking place," Sousa told the-afc.com.
"Iran is one of the best teams in the world. They have a lot of players playing high-level championships in many different continents. Iraq also is a fantastic team with an incredible potential. It has plenty of highly-skilled young players and with a very interesting number of players playing in top level leagues. Theoretically we were the third strongest team in the group and, in the opinion of almost everyone, we, together with Hong Kong and Cambodia, would have no chance of fighting for the first place in the group, not even to be one of the best second places," the 50-year-old Portuguese stated.
"We didn't think that way. We believed, since the beginning, that we could create conditions to be in right away in the fight for the first place or for one of the best seconds. And, until this moment, in a very short period of time, we did that. We showed that we built a team to fight for the first place," Sousa added.
"We are in the fight with Iraq and Iran to get the first place or one of the best four second places in order to continue playing in the next round of the qualifiers and try to reach the FIFA World Cup. The beginning proposal was to try to achieve that goal only in 2026, but we are already there trying to achieve it now," he said.