AFC U-16 Semifinal Preview: DPR Korea vs Iran

Defending champions DPR Korea take on the Islamic Republic of Iran on Thursday as they bid to retain their AFC U-16 Championship title.

DPR Korea, though, did not look very convincing in their quarterfinal clash with Oman as they triumphed 4-2 in a penalty shootout after being held to a 1-1 draw.

With Iran standing in their, coach Yun Jong-su admitted that his side will have to be at their very best if they are to progress.

“The four teams who qualified for the semifinals are the strongest sides in the tournament,” he said. “We have to prepare even better as I think Iran have been one of the best teams.

“We have played four tough matches and physically we’re tired so we must try and fully recover. We have to assess our quarterfinal performance and again look to improve for the next match.”

Yun also admitted that he is eager to see his side become the first team in history to win the tournament two consecutive times.

“No one has ever won the championship two times in a row so we will try our best to become the first,” he said. “But you can never be sure. We have to put in a good performance as football is all about playing well on the day.”

Iran, meanwhile, will be confident after they cruised to a 5-0 win over Vietnam in their quarterfinal clash.

With Iran having progressed to the last four for the first time since 2012, coach Abbas Chamanian said that this time they want to book a spot in the final.

“Our task isn’t finished because we haven’t reached our final goal; the results so far were just steps towards that,” he said. “My players all want to get to the final and I expect them to play without pressure and stress and to be better than they were against Vietnam.

“We know DPR Korea are a hardworking and strong team with a big history in Asian tournaments. They will play with energy and motivation.

“But we are only thinking of getting to the final and our players will have to play well to do that. All of Iran expects us to be there so we have no other choice except to win.”