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2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Oman's Erwin Koeman targeting a win against India

12:36 PM GMT 04/09/2019
Erwin Koeman Fenerbahce
The former Netherlands international expects a tough game against India in the opener of the qualifiers

India face Oman in the opener of the joint preliminary round two qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the 2023 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Asian Cup.

Ahead of the clash at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Thursday, Oman coach Erwin Koeman expects a tough challenge against the hosts.

"We are prepared. Both the teams want to go to the next round. So it will be difficult. India are developing in football. It is good to see them prosper. Looking forward to starting the campaign with three points," said the 57-year-old.

"If you fear your opponent it's not good. We believe in ourselves. We will give everything to win the game. For India also it's the same. I think we have a good team. Let us see what happens tomorrow (Thursday)," he added.

Having drawn alongside India, Qatar, Afghanistan and Bangladesh in Group E, Koeman stated, "Every game in football is not easy. It will be a big mistake if we think that we have an easy draw (opponents). It's the worst thing you can do in football."

The last encounter between Oman and India in a World Cup qualifier was four years ago when the Gulf side won both legs 2-1 and 3-0. "I follow everything so I watched that (2015) game. But it was four years ago. It's a different game, with different coaches and different players," Koeman maintained. 

Similar to India coach Igor Stimac, the Dutchman has been in charge of Oman team only for the last few months. "I don't feel any pressure. Of course, It's a qualification game. It is different than a friendly game. Of course, India will enjoy home support. We enjoy playing competitive games more than friendlies. For national coaches, you don't get a lot of time. If we get time we will train and practice and try to implement my philosophy," said Koeman.

When asked whether he shares a rapport with his brother Ronald Koeman, the former Southampton and Everton assistant replied, "We did not meet in the last couple of years. We worked together for four years in the Premier League. We have contact via telephone. He is preparing for Germany and I am preparing for the game in India."

Speaking of his journey that led him to coach the Oman national side, he said, "I succeded Pim Verbeek, my colleague and friend from Holland. I like it in Oman. Very good people. We can develop football in Oman. I am happy with the team I have. Tomorrow there cannot be any excuse. We have to win."