SINGAPORE - Singapore team's head coach Bernd Stange feels optimistic that his side will put up a good performance against Syria in the World Cup qualifier Group E match on Tuesday (Nov 17).
But he recognised the gulf of difference between the Middle Eastern teams and Singapore. The German tactician said: "They are physically stronger, more dominating. We have to be realistic. We are not on the level of Middle Eastern teams.
"But we will try to close this gap, we are coming closer to them. I'm optimistic, I'm not afraid."
The former coach of Iraq and Belarus is well aware of the Syrian threat. Syria had earlier defeated Singapore 1-0 in an earlier Group E match played in Oman in September.
He said: "We need a very good defence against Syria, but we need more. They are dangerous in counter-attacks, overlapping full backs and we have to take care and control that."
At the pre-match press conference at Amara Hotel, Syria's head coach Fajr Ebrahim, flanked by player Osama Omari and a team official, said: "The game is crucial for two teams, but for us, more crucial.
"Now is the best time for the Singapore team. They have a great coach, very disciplined, day by day they are improving. It's the first time I see the Singapore team at this level."
Singapore lie third in the five-team group on 10 points from six games. Syria are second with 12 points with a game in hand. Japan, who beat Singapore last Thursday 3-0, currently lead the group with 13 points from five games.