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Japan coach ranks S. Korea, Australia, Iran as strongest rivals in Asia

DUBAI, Dec. 30 — Japan's national soccer coach and Italian trainer Alberto Zaccheroni said here Saturday that he regarded South Korea, Australia and Iran as his team's strongest opponents in Asia.

"South Korea and Australia are on the similar level with Japan, but no East Asian team should underestimate their opponents in the Middle East, in particular Iran which became a serious factor in every Asian soccer tournament," said Zaccheroni, who led Japan to win the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar.

Speaking at a two-day Dubai International Sports Conference, which started here on Friday, Zaccheroni added that he was not able to really judge the strength of the Chinese national soccer team, "because since I became Japan's coach in Aug. 2010, we did not encounter China in a real game test yet." (PNA/Xinhua)

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