Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Park Hang-seo is worried about the physique of his Vietnamese players when they play Australia in their second match at the Asian Football Federation U23 Championship in Kunshan, China, on Sunday.
After the first round Group D matches on Thursday, the South Korean said the coming match would be more difficult than the first, as Australian players had much better form than his players.
“Vietnamese players are always confused when they face rivals who are bigger and taller than them. However, I think we can beat them if we play with confidence. I will have to change my players’ attitude when they are facing a huge opponent,” said Park through an interpreter.
Park said Việt Nam’s 2-1 loss to South Korea in the first match occurred because of personal mistakes, although the whole team in general played well and did what he had instructed them to do. He said they would do better.
“It was the first match. We could have made it something special when we scored first but unfortunately we lost. In the next game, we will play Australia, a strong team with good technique. However, we have the right to hope for a positive result, and we can spring surprises,” he said.
Park and his players spent hours watching video clips of the Australian team playing, and they have analysed their pros and cons. They then discussed how to fix Việt Nam’s weaknesses, including high-ball resistance, which was one of Việt Nam’s long-time problems.
On the other side, the Olyroos defeated Syria 3-1 in their first match. In their rosters, there are five players who have faced Vietnamese players in several tournaments since 2014.
Daniel Peter De Silva, George Blackwood, Benjamin Garuccio, Brandon Wilson and Stefan Ingo Mauk were members of the youth team who lost thrice to Việt Nam, comprising players such as Nguyễn Công Phượng, Lương Xuân Trường and Nguyễn Văn Toàn, in international tournaments during the last four years.
However, Australia are ranked higher compared to Việt Nam, and they are even a title favourites this year.
Blackwood has become a sharp goal hunter after he made a double in Australia’s win on Thursday.
Coach Ante Milicic said his players could not lose their focus if they want to have a good result against Việt Nam.
Australia are on top of the group ranking. Another win on Sunday will push them to the knock-out stage.
He said Australia had respect for all their rivals. "Việt Nam were a good team. I watched them and saw that they were really determined during the whole game. Their defenders worked specially well. His players must prepare carefully for that game."
However, Milicic confirmed that he may not have some key players for the match because of injuries.
Striker Bruce Kamau, who scored the second goal for Australia, and midfielder Milislav Popovic, who assisted Kamau in that goal, left their field just several minutes later.
“We got three points, but we have sustained a couple of injuries so that is a sour note," he said on the-afc.com.
Two years ago in the same tournament, Australia and Việt Nam were drawn in Group D. Australia beat Việt Nam 2-0. However, both sides were eliminated after the group round. — VNS