VN boosted by Asian Cup draw
HA NOI (VNS)–Viet Nam will be in group E at the 2015 Asian Cup's qualifier after a draw on Tuesday in Melbourne, Australia.
|Life's a beach: Viet Nam are in group E of the 2015 Asian Cup's qualifying round where they play the UAE, Uzbekistan and Hong Kong. — Photo baothethaovietnam.com
The team will play the UAE, Uzbekistan and Hong Kong, teams which are considered to have similar skill levels.
"They are not too intimidating as rivals, but we still have to play our best to make it to the final," said coach Phan Thanh Hung.
Viet Nam will play the UAE on February 6 on their home turf, followed by two away matches: Hong Kong on March 22 and Uzbekistan on October 15.
The second leg matches will start in November and go until March of 2014.
Among the teams in group E, Uzbekistan have the highest FIFA ranking – 70 – and are seeded No 5 in Asia. As the strongest team here, they are expected to win one of the two places.
Viet Nam have not played against Uzbekistan on the national level.
The UAE rank 116th in the world and 16th in Asia. Viet Nam played them three times, losing twice and winning once. The win took place five years ago at an Asian Cup qualifier at My Dinh Stadium.
The two losses were at the 2010 World Cup's qualifying round.
Hong Kong at present sit at 160th and 25th in the world and Asia, respectively.
They are said to be the weakest team of the group. There is no official match scheduled between Hong Kong and Viet Nam at the FIFA-credited tournaments. But in a friendly match in June, Viet Nam won 2-1 in Hong Kong.
Asian Cup qualifier groups
Group A: Jordan, Syria, Oman and Singapore
Group B: Iran, Kuwait, Thailand and Lebanon
Group C: Iraq, China, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia
Group D: Qatar, Bahrain, Yemen and Malaysia
Group E: Uzbekistan, UAE, Viet Nam and Hong Kong
According to FIFA's October ranking, Viet Nam are 140th in the world and 15th in Asia.
The two top teams of each group and a team who places third and has the best result after the qualifying round will advance to the final round in Australia. They will meet with the five wild-card teams of Japan, South Korea, North Korea, host Australia and the champion of the AFC Challenge Cup 2014.
The Viet Nam team will finish their training course tomorrow, one day earlier than scheduled, and fly from Nha Trang to Ha Noi in preparation for a friendly match with Indonesia three days later at My Dinh.
They then move to HCM City for the VFF Cup, which starts on October 24. — VNS