Berlin, Nov 26, IRNA - German coach Winfried Schaefer sees Iran among the leading five Asian candidates for a berth in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Speaking to IRNA on Monday, Schaefer said, "Australia, Japan, South Korea, Iran and Saudi Arabia are among the five best teams in Asia."
Asked about his assessment of the Iran's preliminary World Cup draw in the Asian zone, the former Bundesliga trainer pointed out that has good chances to move into the second stage of the Asian World Cup qualifying stage.
He warned however against "underestimating" Iran's opponents, especially Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Schaefer whose previous coaching stint included UAE's Al-Ahli stressed that the Emirates had learned a great deal from German coaches in terms of "physical fitness and tactic."
The ex-Bundesliga trainer urged Iran to be "highly concentrated" for the matches against Syria, the UAE and Kuwait.
"It's important for the (Iranian) players to give 100 percent once the game starts. Show the opponents that you want to win the game by putting pressure on the rival team. Every match has an elimination cup character," Schaefer added.
"To show respect to the opponent is important but there is no need to have fear," he added, while cautioning Iran against being too "boastful".
The former Cameroon trainer who led the African squad to the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, remains reportedly a leading candidate for the vacant coaching post of the Iranian national team.
Schaefer began his professional coaching career at Bundesliga club Karlsruher SC before taking over league rivals VfB Stuttgart and ex-second division side Tennis Borussia Berlin.
The former midfielder played 403 Bundesliga matches for Moenchengladbach, Kickers Offenbach and Karlsruher SC, having scored a total of 46 goals.
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