|Philippe Troussier (second right) and midfielder Nguyễn Thái Sơn (second, left) at the Việt Nam vs Iraq pre-match briefing on November 20 in Hà Nội. Photos of VFF
HÀ NỘI — Philippe Troussier believes Việt Nam could cause an upset against Iraq, as their team coach Jesus Casas said the 2026 World Cup qualifying match on November 21 would be 'very interesting'.
Việt Nam will host Iraq in the second Group F round match at the Mỹ Đình Stadium in which the host side are considered underdogs.
Troussier felt confident after his team's 2-0 win over the Philippines last week and the French man has his best line-up as all of his injured players are back to full fitness.
"Việt Nam's tactic will be changed when facing different rivals with different playing styles," said Troussier during the pre-match briefing on November 20.
"My duty is to adjust tactics accordingly to cause maximum difficulty for our opponents. We are ready. Hopefully the Vietnamese team will receive strong support from the home audience," he said.
Troussier confirmed that Iraq were stronger but Việt Nam know how to create obstacles for the visiting side and win the match.
"I played Iraq many times when coaching the Qatar national team. Việt Nam's U23s also played Iraq in the Doha Cup recently. I clearly know Iraqi, the continental top five," he said.
"In theory, Iraq are much stronger than Việt Nam. Many of their players compete in European leagues and have experienced many international matches.
"I told my team to make it as difficult as possible for them. My players must follow our discipline strictly and be confident to carry out our tactics. Being underestimated helps us suffer less pressure."
|Vietnamese players in training ahead of their World Cup qualification match against Iraq. The match will be held at the Mỹ Đình Stadium on November 21.
Việt Nam, world No 92, played Iraq, No 68, several times in the past but Troussier did not want to compare the past and the present.
He said his players who lost to Iraq in the past would be more determined, more than 100 per cent, to beat their rival this time.
"Việt Nam could make a surprise as the team has home support. If we can make good use of our opportunities, I believe Việt Nam will achieve a good result," he said.
Casas said it would be an interesting game for the two sides which both won their first match last week.
"Việt Nam are a good team and has the same playing style as Iraq. Both sides won the first match and want to win the next one. These elements will make up a competitive game," said Spaniard Casas whose Iraq beat Indonesia 5-1 previously.
"It is an important match. It will not be easy to beat Việt Nam. Tomorrow's game will be tough for us. We won the first match with more goals than Việt Nam and also had more time to recover. But it does not guarantee a win tomorrow. Of course, we target three points and Việt Nam shares the same goal. I don't expect an easy 90-minute at Mỹ Đình.
|Coach Jesus Casas of Iraq answers reporters' questions during the pre-match briefing.
"I have analysed our rival carefully. They prefer to attack from two wings and their wingers have good speed. It is their strong point. They will also have home supporters in this match."
Defender Merchas Doski took part in the briefing and said both teams had quality players and they would do their best to win.
"In the previous match, we made mistakes. In football, you can't play a perfect match without making any mistakes. It is impossible. We reviewed our problems in the match against Indonesia and will not let it happen tomorrow," said Doski.
"We will play our best and let's see the result." VNS