Vietnam resume their World Cup qualification bid against Indonesia tonight in Dubai, the UAE, and kicking off with three points is a must.
|Vietnamese players are in a training in preparation for the second 2022 World Cup qualifier in Dubai. They will play Indonesia on Monday night. Photo courtesy of VFF|
“We will fight our best (to beat) Indonesia and then update results of other matches of the group before thinking about how to play Malaysia in the next game,” Vietnam’s head coach Park Hang-seo said.
“We will prepare for a match and a period individually. Of course, we have our target but it doesn’t mean we can make it. We can’t sit here and say this and that. We must work,” said Park.
The shrewd South Korean tactician also said he couldn’t make Vietnam’s World Cup dream come true by himself but need energy and unity from the whole team.
Vietnam will advance to the third qualification round for the first time in history if they can secure seven points from the upcoming three matches, regardless of the results of other teams.
“So how to do that? In fact, Vietnamese people are united and their spirit is great, I am here just to adjust their playing style and tactics better,” the 63-year-old said.
“There are three matches ahead. We know Vietnamese people are expecting a lot. We have prepared all in terms of physique, mind and spirit, everything. We hope we continue receiving support for the coming journey.”
Park said the absence of star midfielder Do Hung Dung, who is out due to serious injury, is a concern but he has faith in relatively fresh faces like Nguyen Hoang Duc and Nguyen Hai Long.
Meanwhile senior players Nguyen Tuan Anh, Luong Xuan Truong and Nguyen Quang Hai can play well in Dung’s position.
“We have made different tactic plans and players will have to learn them by heart. We will apply for suitable situations,” said Park, adding that Indonesia will play with freedom as the bottom-placed team have already been ousted from the event.
He said originally, Vietnam were to play Malaysia away at the daunting, 80,000-capacity Bukit Jalil Stadium, which would have put a lot of pressure on his team. However, now all teams will play in the UAE, which only favours the hosts.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday, striker Nguyen Tien Linh said Indonesia were a different side from when they lost 3-1 to Vietnam in Bali’s Wayan Dipta Stadium in October 2019.
“It will be a tough match but we are working hard for that. We are in the final touches to perfect our tactics, sharpening defence and attacks to play Indonesia,” said Linh who scored one of three goals that night almost two years ago.
|Evan Dimas (left) of Indonesia vies for a ball against Thanawat Suengchitthawon of Thailand in their match on June 3. Dimas is the most experienced player of the team. Photo FAT|
On the other side, coach Shin Tea-yong was confident after Indonesia drew 2-2 with Thailand on June 3.
The former South Korean national team manager said his players had a good match against Thailand. It was the first international match of many of the team and few of the players had played much club football recently.
Shin, who said he believed they could improve and play better in the next games, knew Park came to watch his match and said he would make some changes in a bid to beat Vietnam.
Shin, 51, previously guided South Korea to the Russian World Cup in 2018. His team was eliminated from the group stages but they dumped the defending champions out of the tournament with a famous 2-0 win.
Today, supporters will be allowed to attend the match at the Al-Maktoum Stadium, though only 30 per cent of the 15,000-seat venue will be open to avoid the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Supporters must show negative RT-PCR tests within 48 hours prior to the game and follow instructions for distancing, masks and body temperature of the organisers.
In the other Group G math tonight, the UAE will take on Thailand at the Zabeel Stadium.
After the matches on June 3, Vietnam are still on top of Group G with 11 points. The UAE, Thailand and Malaysia are close behind with nine. Indonesia have one point and are in last place.