Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Coach Hoàng Anh Tuấn of Việt Nam said his players were in high spirits before their match against the United Arab Emirates today at the Asian Football Confederation U19 Championship in Bahrain.
Việt Nam has never progressed beyond the group stage, while the UAE were champions in 2008, while being stopped in the quarter-final round in the previous year’s tournament.
Việt Nam made a bang when defeating North Korea 2-1 during their opening match on Friday.
The ‘underdogs’ are now on top of Group B, while their rivals are at the bottom after their 0-1 loss to Iraq on the same day.
It made the players more motivated to win, although the UAE is considered the better team.
“We are here without any pressure, but with great determination. We are not a seed team in the group, so that is also our advantage,” said Tuấn
“The first match win was great, but now we are focused on the next matches. Against the UAE, I think that it is 50-50 for both sides. People will know who we are after this second round,” he said.
The match will be held at the Khalifa Sports Stadium and will be live aired on television channels from 8.30pm Hà Nội time.
Win of the underdog
Hà Đức Chinh and Đoàn Văn Hậu were responsible for Việt Nam’s 2-1 victory over North Korea.
It was the first time a young team for Việt Nam found defeated a rival from East Asia.
And it was the second time that the Vietnamese grabbed victory in the competitions.
Ten days ago, at the national team level, Việt Nam overwhelmed North Korea 5-2 in a friendly match in HCM City.
Việt Nam started brightly, with coach Tuấn’s side on the front foot from the beginning and carving out the better of the few chances created in the opening 45 minutes.
Chinh scored with 20 minutes remaining in a tight game to give the Vietnamese the lead, before Hậu secured a vital second in the 90th minute, leaving Korean Ryang Hyon-ju to score an injury time consolation.
“I only had one thing in mind and that was the goal,” said Hậu. “It was one of the proudest moments for me to score today, and in the end I hope I made Việt Nam proud.”
"I’m very happy today because of this win. Everybody said before kick-off that we were the outsider in this and you can talk about winning or losing, but we have to try 100 per cent and today you saw that the players were fighting, and I’m very happy today,” coach Tuấn said after the match.
"Our mentality was excellent. North Korea is a strong team, but I spoke with our players and told them the first match is always very difficult psychologically, but we showed more fight, and that was the key."
With his composure, physical presence and impressive eye for goal, Hậu and teammates will be hoping their goal-scoring defender finds his finishing touch again, as they prepare to face the UAE.
“The mentality of this team is very strong and we are not afraid of anyone. We want to do well, to make history and go as far as we can,” Hậu said. — VNS