HCM CITY (VNS)— Viet Nam have their work cut out in Group A if they are to qualify for the semi-final of the AFF Suzuki Cup.
Viet Nam must win their game and hope for a massive stroke of luck in the group's ether games.
If Viet Nam beat Thailand by one goal and Myanmar beat the Philippines by no more than three goals, Viet Nam will advance to the next round at the expense of Myanmar thanks to superior goal difference.
Viet Nam would also have hope if they defeat Thailand by one goal while the other match ends as a draw. In that scenario, Viet Nam and the Philippines will both have four points and the winner will be decided based on goals scored after three matches.
Finally, Viet Nam can progress if they beat runaway leaders Thailand by two goals while fellow strugglers Myanmar avoid defeat at the hands of the Philippines.
Their one hope is that Thailand will not play at full strength since they are already through, resting lethal striker Teerasil Dangda and a few others.
Viet Nam, who have a local coach in Phan Thanh Hung, for the first time in nearly two decades, have a sole point after drawing with Myanmar and losing the Philippines.
The Philippines are on three.
Thailand won both their matches and are on six after crushing Myanmar and beating the Philippines 2-1.
The matches will be played simultaneously at the Supachalasai and Rajamangala stadiums in Bangkok.
"After two matches Viet Nam have earned only one point, making it very difficult to reach the semi-finals. We have no way but to beat Thailand in the last group round match. It is not an easy task because they have shown their strength in previous games," said Ngo Le Bang, head of Viet Nam's football delegation at a press briefing yesterday in Bangkok.
"In this game we will need all our determination, and also luck," he said.
Midfielder Le Tan Tai shared this point of view, saying that despite many difficulties he and his teammates would play their best.
Meanwhile coach Hung said Viet Nam had prepared well for the tournament but unfortunately some injuries strongly affected his team, heavily contributing to the disappointing results.
He confirmed that he would motivate his team for today's match, and tell his players to fight for the honour of Viet Nam.
At the briefing, Thailand's coach Winfried Aston Schafer said he was wary of the threat posed by Viet Nam.
He warned his players not to get complacent despite their confirmed qualification because Viet Nam could still create many challenges.
In Group B, the situation is even tighter with host Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore all in contention for a place in the last four as they go into their last group matches.
Indonesia lead the group with four points, while the other two are both on three. Laos have already been eliminated.
Viet Nam have never finished outside the top four in the tournament since 2006 when the biennial tournament's group stages have been played in two countries. They won the title in 2008 — VNS