Uzbekistan coach Abramov sets sights on qualification
Uzbekistan coach Vadim Abramov has his sights on ending his nation’s FIFA World Cup heartache by steering the Central Asians to their first-ever appearance at the global championship in Brazil in 2014.
Uzbekistan host Iran in Tashkent today looking for a positive start to the campaign after a number of near-misses since the country joined the Asian Football Confederation in 1994, with the narrow failure in 2006 - a particularly painful memory.
But after an impressive performance at the AFC Asian Cup last year, when Abramov led the country to the semifinals for the first time, the Uzbeks are in confident mood ahead of their clash with Carlos Queiroz’s side in the final round of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
“We understand the importance of this game,” said Abramov. “We always qualify for the final round but we never go to the World Cup. We want to destroy this bad tradition and our aim is to participate at the World Cup.
“I think we have the best players in our national team now, who is at a better level than the players who are in the team now.”
Despite Abramov’s confidence, the Uzbeks will be without five suspended players, including reigning AFC Player of the Year Server Djeparov as well as Shavkatjon Mulladjanov, Sanjar Tursunov, Islom Tuhtahujaev and Vagiz Galiulin. “I don’t know how we will play tomorrow,” admitted Abramov. “In football you have to play how your opponent lets you play. But I know Iran is a very experienced team. They know how to play in important match.”