|Vietnamese players celebrate after scoring a goal during their 3-2 win over O Esteo FC of Spain during their two-week training in the country. VNS Photo Quang Thang
HA NOI (VNS) – Bruno Formoso, coach of the Vietnamese team, wants his players to make it to the quarter-final round of the Asian Futsal Championship.
However, if things happen according to his plans, the hosts could even be one of the semi-finalists.
The draw has put VieEt Nam in Group A and it will face Iraq tonight (Apr 30) first. The other teams in the group are Kuwait and Tajikistan.
Formoso said he didn't have much information about Iraq and could not say anything before the match. He said the important thing was the confidence of the players who have been asked to play their best.
The Spanish coach confirmed the final round of the Asian tournament was difficult. All the competitors have better physique and form than the Vietnamese. Therefore, his players must always focus and play with team spirit.
At the press briefing on April 29, coach Haitham Abass of Iraq said he was aware of the remarkable progress made by Viet Nam and added that his team could face some difficulty in the coming match. However, he believed that his team would be one of the two Group A quarter-finalists.
The coaches from Kuwait and Tajikistan also praised Viet Nam, especially after witnessing the hosts' 6-2 victory over Lebanon earlier this week. But all of them wanted their teams to advance in the tournament.
Formoso highlighted Kuwait as Group A's top team. The team ranked fifth at the previous championship, their coach Luis Fonseca has worked with the squad for two years and they have carefully prepared for this competition. Kuwait, however, lost to Viet Nam in last two matches they played three years ago.
He also said Tajikistan is ranked one place higher than Viet Nam and Iraq in the world ranking.
Formoso said if Viet Nam could top Group A, they would avoid playing Asia's No 1 team Iran, who are expected to lead Group B, in the quarter-final round. The second-placed team could either be Australia, China or Indonesia, but all of them are at the same level as Viet Nam. It means that there could be a chance for the hosts to advance further.
Formoso and his players have just returned home after a two-week training in Spain which brought good results, with 20 goals in four wins and two losses to powerful local teams.
The coach said his players now knew how to manage the pace of the game, play in defence effectively and improve the accuracy of their attacks.
Viet Nam will next meet Tajikistan on May 2 and Kuwait two days later.
The first Group B match will also be kicked off today between Iran and Indonesia.
Groups C and D will start playing matches tomorrow.
Select matches will be broadcast live on television.
The matches are being held at the Phu Tho Gymnasium and the Ton Duc Thang University's Gymnasium.
The final is scheduled for May 12, with Iran, Thailand (Group C) and Japan (Group D) said to be the favourites. — VNS