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U23s ready for Asian qualifier

Update: March, 21/2015 - 10:48
Raring to go: Midfielder Vo Huy Toan (right) of Viet Nam fights for the ball in a March 15 friendly against Uzbekistan. Toan and his teammates are ready for the Asian U23 Football Championship qualifiers in Malaysia later this month. — VNS Photo Quang Thang
HA NOI  (VNS) — Viet Nam manager Toshyia Miura has finalised the names of 23 players who will compete at the Asian U23 Football Championship's qualifier later this month.

The Japanese decided to have three goalkeepers, seven defenders, nine midfielders and four strikers in Malaysia where Viet Nam will vie against three other teams in Group I for a ticket to the final round.

Earlier, Miura said goodbye to several players injured days before the event.

The team arrived in Bangkok yesterday for a last friendly match against Thailand in preparation for the Malaysian competition.

Speaking with reporters before his flight, Miura said life had never been easy, neither was football.

Miura revealed that he had made some changes in training exercises and the friendly match in Bangkok would be an important test.

Kiatisuk Senamuang of Thailand has also called players for the friendly against Viet Nam as well as the Asian qualifying round.

His team is a combination of national team members and talented players from youth squads.

The Thai coach, who is called Zico, said Viet Nam were a tough rival.

He said Vietnamese players had good skills and were a united team.

After the friendly match, Viet Nam will fly to Kuala Lumpur where they will kick off their continental tournament on March 27 against the hosts.

Two days later they will play Japan before meeting in Macau on March 31.

According to the rules, 10 teams who top their group will advance to the final in Qatar next year. They will be joined by five second-placed squads who have best result during the qualification round.

Malaysian coach Ismail Razip recently said his goal at this tournament was to beat Viet Nam.

He said it was a do-or-die match. In Group I, Viet Nam are the main rivals vying for second place against his team because Japan were too strong. And Malaysia versus Viet Nam in the opening game would be decisive as the winners would partly complete their goal.

Razip said his team had well prepared for the qualifier with several international friendlies. Their participation at the Singapore professional league would be an advantage to help them maintain their form.

Malaysia unexpectedly lost to Myanmar U20 0-3 in a friendly match on March 19, but it seemed to be an accident. The team have maintained their good form with a victory at the Bangabandhu Gold Cup recently, a title that they grabbed again after 18 years.

Razip puts his trust in striker Faizat Ghazli who scored a decisive goal in Malaysia's 3-2 win over Bangladesh in the Gold Cup final.

Midfielder Nazirul Naim Che Hashim was also appreciated, while young forward Andik Modh Ishak was said to have brightening future.

Top candidate Japan arrived in Malaysia on March 15 to get familiar with the destination.

In earlier friendlies, they beat Singapore 8-1 and trounced Myanmar 9-0. — VNS

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