After just two months in charge of Qatar’s national soccer team, finalist Marques Lopes has his sights set on the trophy.
López was speaking at a pre-match press conference at the Main Media Center (MNC) in Doha, Qatar on Monday ahead of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup 2023 final against Jordan at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, on June 11 at 0:00 p.m. ET.
Defending champions Qatar reached the final after a thrilling 3-2 victory over powerhouse Iran in the semifinals on Aug. 8, marking their second consecutive appearance at the tournament after winning the 2019 Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Looking to repeat as champions, Qatar faced Jordan in the quarterfinals, who were coming off a 2-0 win over South Korea.
The key to Qatar’s repeat appearance at the tournament is Lopez’s leadership and control over his players. The Qatar national team parted ways with Carlos Queiroz by mutual consent in December last year, about a month before the Asian Cup.
With the tournament just around the corner and a vacancy at the top, Qatar quickly turned to López, a Spaniard who had previously coached Qatari club Al Wakrah.
Despite the challenge of playing the Asian Cup as soon as he took over, Lopez, who is no stranger to Qatari soccer, quickly took control of the team and turned their fortunes around, leading them to the final.
“Coach Hussein Amuta is a great coach, Jordan is very strong, and we have a lot of respect for them, so the final will be very difficult,” Lopes said before the match. “It’s between two brotherly countries, but everyone wants to win, so we’re going to give it our all,” he added.
“It’s a soccer match, so we’re going into the final to win, regardless of our national ties,” he added, “We want Jordanian soccer to develop, but we also want to win the trophy. The goal is to win, not to be runner-up,” he added.
“The most important thing for us is to recover from a difficult match,” he said of coming into the final with only two days of rest, unlike Jordan, who had about three days of rest after their semifinal match on July 7. “All 26 players selected deserve to play. We tried to distribute the playing time among 메이저토토사이트 them during the tournament so that we can go into the final with a lot of energy.”
“It’s normal to have a dip in form. Our players are not machines,” he said, adding, “This is soccer, and when you have a lull, it’s just a moment. We always try to give everything we have,” he countered.
Lopes also drew attention to Jordanian ace Moussa Altamari (Montpellier), the only European among the players in the final, who he said is proof that Asian soccer is improving.
“Asian football is developing tremendously,” he said. The only European player in the final, Jordanian striker Moussa Altamari, who plays for Montpellier in the French league, is proof of that.” “The game is improving day by day. There is a future generation that has the ability to play beautiful soccer,” he said, adding that he is optimistic about the future of soccer in Asia.