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Djeparov confident of qualification

Uzbekistan captain Server Djeparov is optimistic over the country's chances of reaching the 2014 World Cup.

• Asian World Cup qualifiers round-up

Uzbekistan, whose first match came in 1992, have yet to reach a World Cup but have been making encouraging progress in recent years.

Having reached the semi-finals in January's Asian Cup tournament in Qatar, Uzbekistan are currently top of Group C in their World Cup qualification group - three points ahead of Japan - and have already reached the final round of qualifiers.

"Obviously we have developed into a highly competitive team in Asia," Al-Shabab midfielder Djeparov told the official FIFA website. "We played well against Japan and we dominated both legs against [North Korea].

"We have a high-quality side, which should be the best squad in [our] history, with a host of overseas-based players and talented youngsters. In one word, we can fulfil the World Cup mission this time."

He added: "My chief goal is to help my country secure our first-ever qualification for the FIFA World Cup at Brazil 2014. We failed at the final hurdle on the road to the last World Cups so I think we won't miss it for the third consecutive time. We have proved we are capable of the task and we must now realise it."

Djeparov was recently named the 2011 AFC Player of the Year.

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