Bahrain have "high morale" heading into their last-16 clash against Japan at the Asian Cup in Qatar, manager Juan Antonio Pizzi said Thursday.

The Middle Eastern side booked their meeting with the four-time Asian champions by winning Group E with a 1-0 victory over Jordan.

Group D runners-up Japan had been on course for a showdown with arch-rivals South Korea until Jurgen Klinsmann's team conceded a late equalizer to draw 3-3 with Malaysia in their Group E finale.

Japan captain Wataru Endo (6) passes the ball during an Asian Cup Group D match against Indonesia at Doha's Al Thumama Stadium on Jan. 24, 2024. (Kyodo)

Wednesday's knockout match against Japan at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha will be a rematch of sorts for Pizzi, who managed Saudi Arabia when they lost 1-0 to Hajime Moriyasu's team at the same stage of the 2019 Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

Despite the gulf between them in the world rankings, Pizzi said No. 86 Bahrain will not be awed by the No. 17 Samurai Blue.

"(Japan) have high individual skills and potential, but we have high confidence in our players, their focus and their effort and hopefully we will be able to qualify," the Argentine said.

"Of course, the Japan team is excellent and has experienced players who play in European leagues but we're optimistic about our group. We have high morale in our team, we have solidarity."

Moriyasu's men arrived as favorites to win the Jan. 12 to Feb. 10 tournament, but they failed to top their group following a shock 2-1 loss to Iraq last Friday.

They won their opening match against Vietnam 4-2 and finished the group stage with two wins and one loss after beating Indonesia 3-1 on Wednesday.

"It's been a group stage where we were made to realize it's hard to win whoever you are facing," Japan captain Wataru Endo said after the win over Indonesia. "It's important to prepare to bring the maximum out of ourselves and play like we did today."

South Korea will face Saudi Arabia in a last-16 battle between tournament heavyweights at Al Rayyan's Education City Stadium on Tuesday while Iran and Syria will play on Wednesday with a potential quarterfinal match-up with Japan on the line.

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