Dragan Skocic needs opponents similar to Iraq’s style of play

October 18, 2020 - 15:26

TEHRAN - Iran national football team friendly match against Uzbekistan was just an opportunity for the head coach, Dragan Skocic, to test some new players in the squad.

Iran defeated Uzbekistan 2-1 in a warm-up match on Oct. 8 in Tashkent as part of the preparation for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, where Iran sit third in Group C behind Iraq and Bahrain. 

Tactically speaking, the game was not accompanied by a purposeful performance by the Iranian national team, because Skocic just wanted to become familiar with the ability of the players. It was the main goal of the national team coach.

The game was the first for Dragan Skocic since taking over the coaching position from Mark Wimots in February.

Iran national team were supposed to play their second friendly match against Mali national team the last Tuesday but the warm-up game was called off after several Malian players tested positive for COVID-19.

If the game was played with the Malian national team, there was a better criterion for evaluating the performance of the new head coach of Persian Leopards’ team.

Skocic brought in some new players and I think this was the right time for him to invite them. However, in my opinion, he is looking to attract public attention by inviting some players who play in popular Iranian teams.

Now he has a rough idea of the new players and how to mix them up with the old players.

From a technical perspective, we did not play very well against Uzbekistan in terms of organization, compactness, sharpness, and everything. These are the things that we need in our crucial games in the 2022 World Cup qualifying games against Iraq and Bahrain.

For the next friendly games, we have to test our preparedness with matches against opponents who are similar to Iraq and Bahrain’s style of play, and then go to the field with a specific tactical strategy.

Skocic has to try offensive tactics against such opponents because the Iranian national team must win all of their four remaining games in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

In Carlos Queiroz’s era as the head coach of the national team, his squad showed defensive prowess against big teams in the 2014 and 2018 World Cups.

Now the team needs something different which includes both a smart offensive approach and a strong defensive strategy.

*By Asghar Maziar, Iranian member of the AFC’s Technical Study Group (TSG)

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