A day prior to the final of the 2nd Hero Intercontinental Cup in Ahmedabad, the two coaches from Tajikistan, and DPR Korea praised the timing and significance of the tournament in their quest to prepare for the forthcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifiers.
“The Hero Intercontinental Cup has been a very significant tournament for us. The benefits from playing this tournament have been immense,” Tajikistan coach Usmon Toshev maintained at the official pre-match press conference.
“It was so significant to play three teams who play a different style of football,” expressed Tajikistan forward Malodustov Tokhir. “We are heading to the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers where every team will challenge us with a different style of football. This kind of experience is very important. This was the perfect dress rehearsal for us,” he said.
DPR Korea Coach Yun Jong Su labelled the timing of the Hero Intercontinental Cup as “perfect” ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. “Going forward, I see this as the perfect preparation. The skill and experience on display from the teams have elevated our team one grade up. We have benefitted a lot,” he expressed.
DPR Korea Yun Jong Su dismissed that his team has a psychological advantage over Tajikistan, courtesy their solitary goal victory against Tajikistan in the group stage. “We won the previous match. But this match starts afresh. We will do our best, and try to show to all what we are capable of,” Jong Su stated.
Meanwhile, Toshev wasn’t much willing to label the final as a ‘revenge match’ for them. “A final is a different ball game. We learnt our lessons when we last played them. We aim not to repeat them in the final,” Toshev maintained.
“We had a great time here and played three good matches. Another match awaits. But a final is a final, and a different match altogether. It’s a prestige match, and we hope we can achieve glory.”
“We would love to come back to play in the next edition if we are invited,” Jong Su smiled. “The hospitality and the organisation was superb,” Toshev quipped.
DPR Korea Player Kim Yong Il explained that “Tajikistan are a very strong team.”
“We found out that their team is very prepared. They are have a very strong defence. We did manage to score against them, and hope to repeat it tomorrow,” he explained
The champions will get richer by USD 50000, while the runners-up will receive USD 25000. The Hero of the Tournament will pocket USD 7500.
The kick-off tomorrow (July 19) is at IST 8 pm, and the match will be telecast live on the Star Sports network on SS1, SS1 HD, SS3, SS1 Bangla and Asianet Plus. It can also be streamed on Hotstar and JioTV.