Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Coach Nguyễn Hữu Thắng has shortlisted 25 players who will fly with him to Myanmar on November 15 for the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup.
Thắng, who has been the national coach of Việt Nam for eight months, will have three goalkeepers, nine defenders, eight midfielders and five strikers.
Five players were ousted from his list.
“It was a really difficult decision as spots are limited. I hope they will try harder for other upcoming tournaments. The door to the national team is always open for talented players,” Thắng said.
One day before the opening of the biannual event, two more names will be removed from the list, as according to the rules, only 23 players can be registered officially.
Thắng said the extra players were due to his cautious nature. He wanted to have substitutes until the last seconds in case someone got injured during preparation ahead of the championship.
Việt Nam will play their first match in Group B against co-host Myanmar on November 20.
They have prepared well for the last three months and experts said the players are in their best form ever.
Coach Lê Thụy Hải was optimistic of Việt Nam’s chances to enter the final match.
“We had good results in the friendly matches, losing none of the seven games. Our playing style is good. Players are trying hard and are determined. They have made local supporters believe in them. The only thing is that the defence should be more reliable. I bet they can at least earn a berth in the final,” the veteran coach said.
Football expert Vũ Mạnh Hải shared Hải’s opinion.
Hải said Việt Nam had prepared well for the event, with an impressive result in the friendly series.
However, he said there were some shortcomings in the defence.
“We can see a clear playing style and tactics of the team under coach Nguyễn Hữu Thắng, which is better than when the team was playing under the earlier coach.
“Thắng prefers players who can manage the ball fluently and rapidly in a small room. He has also created a good combination of veteran players, new faces and those competing in local and foreign leagues, creating a fresh look for the whole team,” Hải said.
“There have been several tests for the players during matches, which have brought about good results. They all are in good form leading to optimism about the result.
“However, the defenders are still a problem. They have not won the people’s trust. I hope Thắng will address this problem so these mistakes can be limited.”
Another expert Nguyễn Văn Vinh said Thắng has built a stable base for the team, therefore he could easily ‘repair’ problems caused during tournaments.
“The current team have a combination of experienced players and youthful members with power. And more important, they have a playing style which is suitable with Vietnamese physique. All the players are showing great spirit and are excited to begin playing. I think with such elements things will be okay, although anything can happen in the last minutes,” Vinh said.
However there are also concerns.
“There were some good matches for Việt Nam because their rivals also played an attacking game with tit-for-tat style. Our team faced major problems if they intentionally played a defence and counter-attack game. The match against Indonesia on November 8 was a good example of how our players found it hard to bring the ball to the other side of the field (although they scored two goals),” Đoàn Minh Xương, a football commentator and analyst, said.
“It is for sure there will be teams who will prefer counter-attack. If Việt Nam cannot adjust with their style, it will be difficult for them to go further,” Xương said, adding that the forwards were not sharp enough as they wasted a lot of opportunities.
Coach Triệu Quang Hà also expressed his concern about the flexibility of the team.
“Every coach will prepare a plan B, which will be used when there is a problem with plan A. However, I can see there is a gap between Thắng’s first team and his team with substitutes. The first team combine fluently, but if there are several changes the squad will lose its power,” Hà, a former national defender, said.
“In developed countries, players can easily adjust according to the situation, but Vietnamese have not been able to,” he added.
Defending champions Thailand play Indonesia in the opening game of the AFF Suzuki Cup of Group A in the Philippines. Later in the day, the Philippines are pitted against Singapore.
The following day, the Group B matches kick off in Yangon, with 2010 champions Malaysia facing Cambodia before Myanmar battle it out against Việt Nam.
The AFF Suzuki Cup group stages will be played from November 19 to 26 in Myanmar and the Philippines, followed by the semi-finals and the final from December 3 to 17, which will be contested on a home and away basis.
Myanmar and the Philippines are newcomers to hosting the group stages. The Thuwanna Stadium in Yangon and the Philippine Sports Stadium will be staging their first games in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2016. Both venues have previously held international matches.
Wunna Theikdi Stadium in Nay Pyi Taw and the Rizal Memorial Stadium in the heart of Manila, which has played host to AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final matches in 2012 and 2014, will each host one simultaneous match in the group stages. — VNS
Việt Nam squad in Myanmar
Goalkeeper: Trần Nguyên Mạnh, Huỳnh Tuấn Linh, Đặng Văn Lâm.Defender: Trương Đình Luật, Âu Văn Hoàn, Trần Đình Đồng, Sầm Ngọc Đức, Vũ Văn Thanh, Quế Ngọc Hải, Đinh Tiến Thành, Bùi Tiến Dũng, Đặng Quang Huy.Midfielder: Nguyễn Trọng Hoàng, Ngô Hoàng Thịnh, Phạm Thành Lương, Lương Xuân Trường, Đinh Thanh Trung, Trần Phi Sơn, Vũ Minh Tuấn, Nguyễn Tuấn Anh.Striker: Lê Công Vinh, Nguyễn Công Phượng, Lê Văn Thắng, Nguyễn Văn Toàn, Nguyễn Văn Quyết.