|Psyched up: Striker Nguyen Cong Phuong of Viet Nam (left) seen during a match against Australia on Sunday. Phuong hopes to score in a match versus the UAE today. — Photo vietdaily.com
HA NOI (VNS) — Vietnamese players want to say goodbye to the Asian U-23 Football Championship with a win over the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in their last group match today in Qatar.
Viet Nam has lost two matches to Jordan and Australia last week. The team stood at the bottom of the group D table and was disqualified from the tournament.
"We are still sad after the two defeats. But we have encouraged each other to look forward to a win against the UAE," striker Nguyen Cong Phuong said.
"I, myself, believe I will score a goal in this match," the player who will leave for J. League next month, said.
Sharing Phuong's optimism, midfielder Bui Tien Dung said the losses were not anybody's fault, it is the whole team's failure. In this competition everyone wants a win but honestly our rivals are too strong," he said.
Dung said Vietnamese players would play their last match like a final, and whatever the result, local fans would see their great effort.
"We have tried our best but the results were not what we expected. We will do better in the game against the UAE as a ‘thanks' to our fans who strongly supported us here," midfielder Do Duy Manh, who scored the only goal for Viet Nam to date, said.
Viet Nam will not have defender Nguyen Thanh Hien and midfielder Dao Duy Khanh who suffered injuries and could not compete today.
The future of Viet Nam's coach Toshyia Miura is in question as the team did not accomplish his target of a quarter-final berth, which he had set before leaving for Qatar.
His two-year contract will expire this April and the Japanese also confirmed that he does not know if it will be extended.
Meanwhile, the Viet Nam Football Federation says things can only be decided after the Qatar tournament.
Rumour has it that Miura, 52, has been invited to work with his former club of Omiya Ardija at the J. League 1, which will kick off next month.
On the other side, the UAE players will definitely look to ensure a win over Viet Nam, although they need only one point to qualify for the knock-out round.
The team is in second place behind Jordan after two matches.
Defender Salem Sultan regretted that his team could not defeat Jordan in a match which they played better. However, he said, things were under control, and they could beat Viet Nam whose weaknesses they knew well, for a berth in the quarter-final round.
Captain Abdulla Ali said the UAE targeted a win in the championship and his forwards must convert all chances into goals.
Coach Abdullah Misfir will be back in his seat after several days in hospital because of high blood pressure.
Talking with reporters in Qatar, Misfir said his team was considered stronger but they still had to respect their rivals. Even one mistake could lead to a loss.
The UAE has been practicing for months with many players such as Ahmed Alhasmi, Ahmed Barman, and Ahmed Al Ghilani, who were in the team that beat Viet Nam 3-1 at the Asian Games last year.
They had tested the three prior to the tournament in which they won two and lost one.
The Viet Nam vs UAE match at the Grand Hamad Stadium will be aired live on VTV6 channel at 11.30pm Ha Noi time.
At the same time, the other match of the group between Australia and Jordan will be played at the Suhaim Bin Hamad Stadium.
So far, Japan, South Korea and Iraq have ensured their next round berths. Meanwhile apart from Viet Nam, Uzbekistan and Yemen have been eliminated. — VNS