An ambitious Uzbekistan will threaten Iran, one of the tournament favorites, when the two sides meet at their first group match Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, Xinhua reported.
The central Asian outfit’s power should not be underestimated as they boast a squad with quality players and cunning tactics.
Up front Uzbekistan have a dangerous pair of Dynamo Kiev’s Maksim Shatskikh and young goal-hunter Alexander Geynrikh.
Shatskikh has long been a noticeable striker in the UEFA Champions League, a case in point is his brace against Real Madrid, which nearly sank the "Galaxticos".
Torpedo Moscow hit man Geynrikh displayed his finishing flair during last year’s Doha Asian Games, after scoring five goals most coming from individual show, to become the top scorer.
Behind the duo is playmaker Server Djeparov. The Pakhtakor central midfielder will provide plenty of cannonballs to the shinning forward pair, and especially for the counter attacks.
The Uzbeks have shown pretty performance in their last few tune-ups for the tournament. They beat Iraq 2-0, and then lost to the South Koreans 1-2, but still showed some good form. They have the power to shock Iran.
The Iranians have improved a lot since their awkward 4-0 defeat by Mexico. After calling back Europe-based stars like Bayern Munich’s Ali Karimi, Frankfort’s Mehdi Mahdavikia, Hannover 96’s Vahid Hashemian, Bolton’s Andranik Teymourian, Livorno’s Rahman Rezaei and Osasuna’s Javad Nekounam, Iran took consecutive wins. They beat Iraq 2-1, Ghana 4-2 and Jamaica 8-1.
But Amir Ghalenoei’s side just haven’t met real challenge as these warm-up rivals did not dispatch their first team. Iranian media has been criticizing Ghalenoei’s lack of international experience and his tactics, which led to the Team Melli’s slump technically.
When facing the Uzbeks, The seemingly strong Iran squad are likely to be pressurized by the high-efficient counter-attacks, and should try their best to avoid dropping points.