Confident Stange targeting Asian Cup qualification

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Singapore head coach Bernd Stange is aware of the threat that Syria pose in their upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifier, but is quietly confident his team is up to the challenge.

"We had a brilliant start with four points from two away matches – a win in Cambodia and a draw in Japan," Stange told a pre-match press conference. "We will now play our third consecutive away qualifier which is difficult.

"In terms of world rankings, Syria is ranked above us. But we are confident about the match tomorrow and we will try to achieve something.

"A point will be a good result for us."

Singapore currently top Group E, one point ahead of Syria and three points in front of Japan, although the Lions have played a game more than that duo.

Despite the recent 4-0 friendly loss to Qatar, the Lions can still draw inspiration from their 0-0 draw against the Samurai Blue back in June, according to Stange.

"The draw against Japan is a good result," Stange said. "It's not every day that an underdog can get a draw in Japan and in front of 60,000 fans.

"But that's football. You never know what can happen. The result in Japan gives us confidence and we know the way to play.

"But you have to respect the strengths of Syria which is a good team. Many of their players are playing in a strong league in Iraq and they are a good team."

With four out of five teams in the group still in with a realistic chance of qualifying for the next stage, Stange knows every point could count.

The German emphasised that his team would not be going out to 'park the bus' and gain a solitary point against Syria.

"Two years ago, we lost to them away but beat them in Singapore," he recalled. "We are confident. We had a good start and not many teams can take a point in Japan.

"You can never play for a draw and we will try to achieve a result. After tomorrow's match, we have four consecutive matches [at home]. A qualifying campaign is like a marathon; it's a long run."

While Singapore have never made it to the World Cup proper, these matches also serve as qualifiers for the 2019 Asian Cup.

"We started the rebuilding process [for the national team] two years ago and now, this team is more balanced in terms of age." Stange said.

"We have many young players and the rebuilding process is ongoing. I believe we can qualify for the Asian Cup which would be a good achievement."

Photo: Football Association of Singapore