|In the game: Le Cong Vinh will be part of Viet Nam team in the match against Thailand in the Group F's opening game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in Bangkok tomorrow. — Photo zdn.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — Striker Le Cong Vinh has boosted Viet Nam's morale before Viet Nam's national football team meets Thailand in the Group F opening game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
As the matches begin tomorrow in Thailand, Vinh said in an exclusive interview with FIFA.com: "We'll play with lots of determination in every single game to get the best results."
The country's leading scorer was part of the team that sprung a surprise in reaching the 2007 AFC Asian Cup quarter-finals as co-hosts. Vinh scored a late equaliser against Thailand to help Viet Nam clinch the 2008 AFF Championship final on aggregate.
"Currently, it's quite difficult to say anything in advance," Vinh said. "But I'm quite confident and I'll try my best to do what I've done before, and maybe do even better. All of the lads in the dressing room are looking forward to creating a surprise as a gift for the fans."
It is the pair's first meeting in a World Cup qualifying match since the 1973 match in South Korea when Viet Nam defeated Thailand 1-0.
However, in the past 13 meets with Thailand, Viet Nam has only one victory, though Vinh and his team are looking for another historic World Cup qualifying victory on foreign soil.
"This is quite a tough group," Vinh said on FIFA.com. "But we're confident and will play with great determination to achieve our objectives and repay our supporters' faith in us."
Meanwhile, Viet Nam's coach Toshiya Miura said his team arrived in Thailand with high hopes of scoring points there. He believes his team will score a surprise at Rajamangala Stadium.
Meanwhile, head coach of Thailand team Kiatisak Senamuang told Thai media that the host team had prepared well for the match against the visitors. This will be an interesting match, he said, and his players were ready.
Kiatisak also affirmed that Thailand would not repeat the mistakes made in the recent friendly match with North Korea, in which Thailand was defeated 1-0.
As reported in Thanh Nien newspaper, Kiatisak said he is aware of Viet Nam's strengths, claiming Thailand remains strong enough to beat their rival.
Concerning the friendly match between U23 Viet Nam and U23 Thailand, in which Thailand beat Viet Nam 3-1, he said he would find the most effective way of playing for the Thai team.
Moreover, with the service of veteran striker Teerasil Dangda, who joined Spanish La Liga giants Atletico Madrid on loan, Thailand's attack line will be improved.
All tickets of the match have been sold out. There are some 1,000 seats for Vietnamese fans in the 65,000-seat Rajamangala Stadium.
The event has attracted 40 teams, drawn in eight groups of five, playing home-and-away round-robin matches.
The eight group winners and four best group runners-up will advance to the third round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers and automatically qualify for the 2019 Asian Cup finals.
2007 Asian Cup champion, Iraq, is the favourite for the top spot in Group F, while the second-place position will be up for grabs among 2014 AFF Cup winners Thailand, Viet Nam and Indonesia.
Viet Nam will take on Indonesia in their second clash, scheduled for September 3 on home territory. — VNS